Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hazlitt's ice wine wins "best of show' in California test

The "Best in Show"
The Northeast's current warm spell may be conducive to thinking "ice wine." That certainly is the case at the Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.

The Schuyler County company's, 2014 Vidal Ice Wine just took "Best of Show" honors at the International Eastern Wine Competition/East Meets West in Sonoma, CA.

En route to that accolade, the wine won Double Gold (unanimous vote of the tasting panel), "Best of Class," and "Best Dessert Wine" awards.

Earlier awards for the same wine, bottled in September 2014, include Double Gold in the New York State Fair Commercial Wine Competition; "Best of Show," "Best Late Harvest/Dessert Wine," "Best of Class" and Double Gold in the International Eastern test. It retails for $45 for the 375ml bottle.

In addition, Hazlitt's Schooner White earned Double Gold, and its 2014 Homestead Riesling, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, White Cat, and Light Port. each won a Gold medal.
Other major New York State entries: winners: Black Willow 2015 Diamond (Gold and Best of Class) and 2015 Trilogy Red (Gold); plus, Golds for Chateau Lafayette Reneau's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Owner's Reserve; Torrey Ridge's 2015 Baco Noir; Glenora's 2015 Vidal Ice Wine, 2015 Pinot Blanc, and 2015 Chardonnay; Hosmer 's2015 Pinot Gris; Lamoreaux Landing's 2015 Estate Riesling Round Rock Vineyard (Double Gold and Best of Class); Liberty Vineyards' Fredonia; Penguin Bay's 2015 Dry Riesling, 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve, and 2015 Riesling; Swedish Hill's 2015 Dry Riesling, and 2015 Riesling; Thirsty Owl's 2015 Pinot Noir, and 2015 Riesling; Wagner's 2014 Riesling Ice (Double Gold and Best of Class), and 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling; and Whitecliff 's 2013 Petit Verdot.

Go here for the full list of award-winners in all categories.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Hudson-Chatham Winery unveils renovated tasting room

(Photo provided)

The Hudson-Chatham Winery has unveiled the results of a spruce-up effort -- a new-look tasting room at the Ghent facility.

The tasting room originally opened in 2007. Says co-owner Dominique DeVito, "We thought we'd put in a large bar along the back wall. We were the first winery in the area, and we didn't really know what to expect. The response over the years has been so much greater than we thought, and we realized we needed more room -- and more light -- for people to enjoy our tasting experience."

The winery is located at 1900 State Route 66 in Columbia County, about midway between its two namesake communities. Tasting room hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Phone: (518) 392-9463. It also has a Greene County satellite tasting room at 6036 Main Street in Tannersville, at the foot of Hunter Mountain.
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Villa Bellangelo continues its upgrading efforts

The deck at Vila Bellangelo
News about new wineries is commonplace in New York State, where the industry is continually expanding. But, not everything is about new companies. Sometimes  revitalizing old ones is newsworthy.

Take the Villa Bellangelo winery, located on the west side of Seneca Lake. A winery that had operated on the property for about two decades in the late 20th Century went belly up, and Michael Litterio purchased it around 2001. The business largely flew under the radar  until 2011 when Litterio sold it to the Missick family.

What they purchased was an existing, operational winery, but when it came to cellar equipment a lot of TLC was required to get it up to standard. That began very quickly, with acquisition of a new de-stemmer, crusher, must pump, tanks from Vance Metal Fabricators in Geneva, NY, and a used press were in place for the 2012 vintage. After that, a new chilling system and forklift were added.

Now, in anticipation of the 2017 vintage, the Missicks have made a series of additional  investments -- an additional forklift, an Armbruster Rotovib destemmer, a mechanized hopper, a new Willmes Merlin Press, and a new GAI bottling line, with other equipment and infrastructure improvements to be announced shortly.

"We wanted to bring in some of the best, gentlest new equipment available to the wine industry," said Greg Missick. "I'm also someone who thinks in terms of building in redundancy, and this will allow us to do that. Should a major piece of equipment go down during crush, we will only be set back in the time it takes to start another piece of equipment. "We wanted to take every precaution to ensure premium fruit is processed by premium equipment,"

Chris Missick, the winemaker, added, "From the crushpad to the bottle, we also wanted to make sure that quality control could be micromanaged at every stage of a wines development, once the fruit reached the winery."

Villa Bellangelo is located at 150 Poplar Point in Dundee, between Glenora Wine Cellars to the south and Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards to the north. Phone: (607) 243-8602.
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

NY'S craft beverage branch shops top the 100 mark

Coyote Moon Vineyards branch in  Clayton
The growth in the number of wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries in New York State in recent years has been well documented. But, news of one niche in the industry has often gone unnoticed. Governor Andrew Cuomo took care of that today.

Speaking in New York City, the governor announced that the number of craft beverage manufacturers operating off-site branch stores has increased to 105 locations in 35 counties statewide, 32 of them in just the past year.

“The demand for New York’s world class beer, wine, cider and spirits continues to grow, and by supporting the expansion of craft beverage businesses, we are able to connect locally grown products to more customers than ever before,” Cuomo said. “These off-site stores are allowing these small businesses to enter new markets, create new jobs, and increase revenues to support the growth of local communities across the state.”

Under Cuomo, the state has overhauled its Alcoholic Beverage Control laws, including provisions to expand branch store privileges to all farm-based beverage manufacturers and permit craft beverage businesses to open up to five additional retail locations outside their manufacturing facility with no additional licensing fees.

The law now allows farm-based beverage producers to sell any farm-produced wine, beer, cider and spirits by the bottle and by the glass, host tastings, open restaurants, operate gift shops, and manufacture and warehouse their products at these branch locations.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The agricultural industry has seen an incredible boost from our state’s craft beverage producers who are proudly sourcing their ingredients from New York farms and meeting their customers’ demands for a unique and diverse selection of beverage products that are locally made. Thanks to the Governor’s continued commitment to this sector, we’re clearly seeing more businesses open and expand, which is helping to grow our local economies and spotlight New York agriculture.”

New York now has more than 600 farm wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries, an increase of more than 65% since 2010.

A chart showing branch shops statewide is available online. The 10 branches in the Greater Capital Region and their locations include:
  • Hudson Brewing, Hudson
  • Old Klaverack Brewery, Philmont, Greene County
  • Hudson Chatham Winery, Tannersville, Greene County 
  • Albany Distilling Company, Troy
  • The Beer Diviner, Troy
  • Upstate Distilling, Saratoga Springs 
  • Swedish Hill Winery, Saratoga Springs
  • Capoccia Vineyards & Winery, Schenectady
  • Lake George Distilling Company, Lake George
  • High Peaks Distilling Company, Lake George

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Save the date: Wine dinner fundraiser for students of French

Amorici Vineyard, located in the countryside on the border of Washington and Rensselaer counties, is reaching far beyond that region to assist students studying French.

Owner-winemaker Joe Messina will host a wine pairing event for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Reservations are $60 per person, limited to 28 seats. Proceeds will go to help support area students studying French as part of an annual program from La Fédération Franco-Américaine du New York.

The buffet dinner menu: a glass of wine, French bread, salad, coq au vin, beef Bourguignon, quiche with seasonal vegetables, haricots verts, scalloped potatoes, fresh fruit for dessert, coffee and tea. Additional wine will be available for purchase.

Reservations may be made by calling Yvette at (518) 272-5061. Checks, payable to FeFANY, should be sent to FeFANY, P.O. Box 354, Cohoes, NY, 12047.

Amorici Vineyard is located at 637 Colonel Burch Road, Valley Falls. Phone: (518) 469-0680.
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump wine sells out during VA boycott attempt of Wegmans

RICHMOND, VA -- A call by a women’s organization to boycott the popular Wegmans grocery chain for selling Trump wine seems to have resulted in its stores selling out of the wine.

The Washington Post reported the Prince William County (VA) National Organization for Women planned to protest Wegmans in Northern Virginia over its refusal to remove Trump wine from its shelves. “Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” Terry O’Neill, president of the NOW.

A Wegmans spokesperson said the Upstate New York-based grocer sells five varieties of Trump wine in its 10 Virginia stores. Wegmans, which sells 237 different wines from 58 Virginia wineries, began carrying Kluge Winery products in 2008 and continued when Trump bought the winery in 2011. Wegmans commented that its role as a retailer is to offer customers a choice.
Go here for the full story. And, go here for another report on the same topic.

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Legislation would OK small-sized wine ice cream sales

From the Rome Sentinel
Legislation that would allow fans of wine ice creams to enjoy their treats in smaller containers has been introduced by State Senator Joseph A. Griffo.

Mercer’s Dairy, located on Route 12 in Boonville, Oneida County, is known for its wine-infused ice cream line, which includes cherry merlot, chocolate cabernet, lemon sparkling, peach white zinfandel and red raspberry chardonnay, among others.

A pioneer in this segment of the ice cream market, it developed the adult treat in 2006. It is sold in the U.S. and foreign countries. Griffo’s bill would do away with a New York State Agriculture and Markets Deprtment requirement that the dessert be sold in containers of at least one pint.

“Every event or venue we’ve had access to has been asking for smaller Dixie cups for people to eat wine ice cream out of, since many people don’t come to these venues looking to carry around pints of ice cream,” said Roxaina Hurlburt, Mercer’s director of marketing. “But, out of the 22 states we sell in, New York is the only state that has size restrictions on wine ice cream.”
Go here for the full story.
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