Not many people readily associate New York with good wine. California has done a good job of self-promotion for their wines alongside tourism, and shown how you can combine the two. Napa Valley and small towns like Healdsburg are lovely places to visit.
But on the eastern side of the American continent and even during the winter months, there is a lovely wine trail to follow in New York State.
I visited two wineries about 100 or so miles from Manhattan which were quite different from each other.
Palaia Vineyards are on Sweet Clover Road with a tasting room in a 200 year-old barn. They promise good wines, good tunes, good vibes and good foods. It is located in the heart of the Hudson Valley with live music each weekend, particularly on their Summer Stage outside or in the Treehouse or the Sweet Clover room if you have to be indoors.
The names of their wines reflect a wicked sense of humour. They claim to leave the pretense about the wine at the door, but welcome everyone in to find which wine is right for them. The Zappa Franc is a particularly yummy red, but there are so many to choose from and their tastings are particularly generous.
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery is open daily for tours and tastings and has a Vineyard Grille open from June till October where they serve dishes such as a Cheese Platter for $15 to share or a Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich for $12 all waiting to be accompanied by a glass of wine.
This upmarket vineyard celebrating over 30 years of making wine, is set in rolling countryside and you can actually see the vines growing right in front of your eyes. It has been voted Best Winery in the Hudson Valley for the last 20 years and is a great place to visit at any time of the year.
You can have your wedding here and they also host Chili Weather Weekends pairing a bowl of chili with a glass of wine. In February, for example, they will host a wine and fondue pairing night.
But perhaps the best nugget of information I picked up was that the owner John S Dyson was one of the movers and shakers behind the I Love New York tourism advertising campaign. He was also Deputy Mayor of New York City appointed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
This is one of the prettiest areas in the Hudson Valley known for its sporting and cultural scenes. There are many attractions along the valley including skiing in the winter months – and all just 100+ miles above the tip of Manhattan. It is a heritage area and the oldest wine producing area in the US.
At Millbrook they are serious about wine and hospitality. They have a very attractive building where they create and finally bottle the wine, including an upstairs function room with lofty ceilings which can be used for private functions such as weddings or parties. There is a gift shop next to the bar area where you will be given the opportunity of tasting several wines or indeed just a glass.
I Love New York promotes tourism in ten counties Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester.
Edinburgh to Stewart, New York
- I was a guest of Norwegian, New York State Tourism, Homewood Suites by Hilton (https://homewoodsuites3.hilton.com) and Hyatt House Hotel (www.hyatt.com). Norwegian offers direct flights from Edinburgh to New York Stewart Intl. Airport, a gateway to discounted shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (https://uk.simon.travel) and New York City. Flights go daily from 28 October and fares start from £159 one-way in brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Book now for travel up to 29 March 2019 at www.norwegian.com/uk or dial 0330 8280854 (opt. 1)