So, since last week’s column mentioned wineries but I only talked about New York State products that I love, I thought I’d follow that up with, yes, some of my favorite regional vineyards.
Everyone knows I like to support local businesses, particularly makers, creators and growers of craft food and beverages. As spring approaches, I will share some great New York State wine trail trips to the Finger Lakes and North Fork of Long Island, but I’m keeping my diversions and excursions local this week. What is particularly fun about our area’s wineries is that most of them have become destinations, with events and activities for the entire family throughout the year.
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
26 Wing Road, Millbrook
You can go to Millbrook Vineyards and Winery for a traditional tasting and tour throughout the year, or you may do that and take advantage of any of their signature events, including Friday Night Food Trucks, live jazz, wine pairing events and much more. The Vineyard Grille, the al fresco tented dining spot, is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day; the Tap Room is open all year. Located on 130 acres formerly known as the Wing Farm, the 35-year-old vineyard produces more than five award-winning varieties of grapes.
Why I love it:
Because when it’s cold outside and you are in hibernation mode, Chili Weather Weekends might just entice you out of the house. Held from January through March, these casual afternoons in the Tap Room include a special chili served with glass of wine. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a winter day.
10 Sweet Clover Road, Highland Mills
Palaia Winery is known not just for its eight award-winning wines with whimsical names, but as a legendary Hudson Valley live music festival and entertainment venue. In the summer, outdoor events are held on the lawn in front of Palaia’s stage; in winter, enjoy weekend music indoors. Traditional tours and tastings are always an option and combining them with a robust selection of craft beer and New York State food products will give you plenty to do in a day at the vineyard.
Why I love it:
Because who could resist tasting wines like Pinkish Floyd, Zappa Franc, Dead Red and Crimson Clove while listening to great music?
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
114 Little York Road, Warwick
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, a Hudson Valley bountiful fruit landmark, began in the 1980s making hard cider (Doc’s Draft Hard Cider). Wine followed soon after and then it opened the first distillery in the Hudson Valley since Prohibition. There are 10 signature award-winning wines, brandies, liqueurs, gin and, of course, hard cider. Open all year, it offers plenty to experience including tours and tastings, fall apple picking, live outdoor seasonal music and festivals, indoor music on weekends during the winter and plenty to eat.
Why I love it:
Because who doesn’t want to drink brandy from the first distillery in the Hudson Valley since Prohibition? Because you can stroll through the apple and pear orchards in the fall while sipping a glass of its signature wine or sangria.