The Hudson Valley wine region is lush with fantastic wineries and beautiful vineyards, and it’s recently begun to make a national name for itself among the wine community. While more and more establishments pop up along the Hudson River, there is one winery that’s been there since the beginning.
Cozied up in Marlboro, NY is Benmarl Winery, the country’s oldest vineyard, and the owner of the very first New York Farm Winery license. Their 37-year-old property overlooks the Hudson River and offers cellar tours and tastings of their gorgeous, small-batch wines.
The original piece of land at Benmarl Winery was purchased and cultivated by Andrew Jackson Caywood in the early 1800s who became the leading authority on winemaking and viticulture in the Hudson Valley region, including the town of Marlboro. This unique property changed hands again and then was sold to Mark Miller in 1957, who changed the name to Benmarl and helped create the institution it is today.
When Benmarl got its true start, the only American wines that got any notoriety were those out of California. Miller devoted his time to the study of European viticulture, particularly in England and Burgundy, France, and he brought his knowledge home to the unusual soils of upstate New York.
It wasn’t until the early 1970s that any wine was sold commercially, at which time the first bottle sold for a whopping three dollars. By the early 90s, the winery was bustling, with about 70,000 acres, producing close to 10,000 cases a year. Benmarl has been a key player in the production of hybrid wines, particularly Baco Noir, but Miller quickly discovered their ability to withstand the cold winters of the Hudson Valley.
The vineyard was sold in 2006 to the Spaccarelli family, who has maintained the character of the winery and is just as dedicated to the growth of the Hudson Valley wine region. Today, they produce over 20 varietals– everything from the classic Riesling and Pinot Noir to their own signature Benmarl blends.
You can visit their winery throughout the harvesting season for cellar and vineyard tours, and they even have a lovely bed and breakfast for your stay. This vineyard is essential not only to the American history of viticulture but to the future of the New York wine industry.
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