Sipping on vintage wine in a tasting room in the country is a distinct part of New York history. For centuries, vineyards have flourished in the Empire State, and today New York boasts hundreds of wineries. As a busy city dweller and true wine lover, you’ll no doubt want to get away for a weekend winery romp, but with so many choices—each offering their own unique flavor, twist, ambiance, and to-do—how do you choose? Right now you’ve got three things going for you: 1. There are, indeed, New York wineries close to home (good ones); 2. The weekend is approaching; and 3. We’ve done the research for you. Salud!
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, NY 10992
Established in 1839, Brotherhood Winery is the oldest operating winery in the country, and the largest winery on the East Coast. Its long and fascinating history includes a devastating fire, a utopian communal living experiment, and an open door during Prohibition, where the then-owner sold his wine for “religious ceremonies” (coincidentally, the clergy in the area saw a significant spike in its numbers at that time). It claims to be the first winery to initiate wine tourism, hosting parties and throwing events as early as the 1930’s, with nary a notion of letting up. They hold tours several times a day, seven days a week most months; they host events— private and corporate, from trade shows and conferences to charity balls and weddings—year-round; they throw festivals—from the Beer & Wine Festival to the Mac & Cheese Festival to the “Mind Over Murder” interactive comedy mystery dinner. Don’t miss out on the grape stomping, music, and family fun every Saturday and Sunday from September through mid-October.
Ghent, NY 12075
True oenophiles in search of the perfect vintage will want to venture off the glittery path of festivals and parties to Columbia County’s crown winery, Hudson-Chatham Winery. Here, the star of the show is simply the wines. Voted the Capital Region’s Best Local Winery in 2011, 2012, and 2014, and Columbia County’s Best Winery in 2014 and 2015, Hudson-Chatham is the proud maker of multiple award-winning wines, and they consistently receive high scores in prestigious wine publications. Their tasting room features dry, sweet, sparkling, and dessert wines, along with locally produced artisanal and gourmet snacks. Whether due to the winery’s just-right terroir, or owners Carlo and Dominique DeVito’s dedication and persistence in producing exceptional wine, the vintages at Hudson-Chatham are certain to please any palate.
10 Ann Kaley Lane
Marlborough, NY 12542
Bohemians, hippies, conservationists, traditionalists, and simply recyclers: Stoutridge Vineyard is the New York winery for you. This is the only winery in the country that never uses pumps, filters, chemicals, sugars, sulphites, or sorbates in the production of their wine. Their mission includes being good stewards of the land; their goal is for you to taste the fermentation flavors, as well as the land from which their grapes were grown. As winemakers, they’re purists. “Nature intended wine to taste a certain way,” they state in their approach to winemaking, “and our mission is to bring that natural taste to consumers.” As humans, they’re environmentalists, they’re Earth-forward. Visiting their winery is like a course in permaculture winemaking, and every tour and tasting is led by the owner, biochemist-turned-winemaker Steve Osborn. Salute alla terra!
1074 Main Road
Aquebogue, NY 11931
Describing a visit to the Paumanok Vineyards winery (or website) should seem like a straightforward affair: they’re to-the-point, factual, understated. Underneath such directness, though, lies a subtle poetry, a softness, and a hidden confidence that here, at Paumanok Vineyards, something truly great is produced. Beginning with their grapes—only premium vinifera grapevines are planted—to their method—traditional dense planting of the vineyards for more concentrated fruit and thus, higher quality wines—to their limited production—fewer than 12,000 cases—the Massoud family is careful and deliberate, ensuring that they only produce exquisite wines. What the family lacks in bravado, the press and wine critics alike make up for in accolades, including awarding Paumanok Vineyards ‘NY Winery of the Year’ for 2015. But, don’t take our word for it. Find out for yourself at a wine tasting in their tasting room (open seven days a week, year-round), or at one of their Barrel Tastings.
169 Harbor Road
St. James, NY 11780
There is something for everyone at the vineyard and tasting room at Harmony. For the day-tripper, they’re only a 70-minute drive from Manhattan. The environmentalist can sip happily knowing the vineyards are sustainably farmed. The humanitarian can feel good knowing that profits from the vineyard are donated to local charities. The foodie who takes note of ambiance will savor the Farm to Table Waterfront Brunch. Night-lifers can enjoy a Friday or Saturday evening out at The Harmony Club. The smarty-pants in the group will enjoy Trivia Nights; the movie buff, Drink-In Theater (featuring such cult classics as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Weekend at Bernie’s); the jazz enthusiast, live jazz on Saturday nights. And the pure wine lovers? Rest assured, even with everything else going on at Harmony Vineyards, the wine is still the main attraction.