A Guide To Hudson Valley Wineries
To many people’s surprise, Hudson Valley is home to some of the oldest grapevines in America. Spanning back to the 1600’s, the French began growing grapes in this region decades before any vineyards were ever planted in California. The majority of the wine made was originally for family consumption, however in the mid 1800’s, the first commercial winery in the Hudson Valley, Jacques Brothers Winery, was born. The name has since been changed to Brotherhood, and is to this day the oldest continuously operating winery in America.
The majority of Hudson Valley wineries are family operated and have an intimate tasting style. The wineries have been separated into four main regions, and trails have been mapped out between them to help visitors find exactly what they are looking for.
The Dutchess Wine Trail spans Eastern Dutchess County, and takes you past two wineries: Clinton Vineyards and Millbrook Winery. Millbrook winery has been voted the “Best Hudson Valley Winery” for the past 15 years by the Hudson Valley Magazine. Clinton Vineyards specializes in cassis and black currant wines. In addition to these, Clinton Vineyards makes amazing sparkling wine which has won some great industry awards, including ‘Best Wine Produced in the Hudson Valley’. Despite this trail only have two wineries, this trail is definitely worth visiting.
The Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail can be found extending Southeast of Albany down to Hudson, New York. Along this path, you will find Brookview Station Winery, Furnace Brook Winery, Hudson-Chatham Winery, and Clermont Vineyards & Winery. For the spirits lover, there are also quite a few distilleries along this route. Make sure to visit the trails website prior to visiting, as they often have packaged deals, visiting all venues along the route for a discounted price!
The Shawangunk Wine Trail is the largest of the trails with a total of fifteen wineries. Spanning eighty miles, the wineries are incredibly diverse and range from large production to boutique wineries. I advise taking the time to research the trail and everything that it has to offer, rather than jumping on the route and seeing what happens. There is so much to offer and taking a few days to see it all is definitely the best bet. For locals, the trail offers a ‘passport’ where you can visit each winery between April and August and enjoy four tastings at each location. It ends up equating to less than $2 per tasting!
Finally, there is the Upper Hudson Wine Trail, another large trail consisting of fourteen wineries. This trail offers a passport for locals as well, however it entails three tastings at each winery, and lasts for an entire year. The passport offers discounts on bottles purchases and gifts upon completion.
For those who wish to plan their own itinerary, an interactive wine map of all wineries throughout Hudson Valley can be found here. This enables everyone to browse each individual winery website and see exactly where one may wish to visit.
In addition to wine, hard cider has quite popular throughout the region. Take a moment to add some cider tastings to your visit!