In the last few decades, New York wines have increasingly taken over more real estate on wine lists at restaurants and bars around the United States. While most people know of wines from the Finger Lakes and Long Island, many may find it a pleasant surprise that there are more than 25 wineries in the Hudson Valley, the majority of them within 1-2 hours’ drive from Manhattan.
Hudson Valley wines inherit the hardy nature of American vines and the flavor palettes of European varietals. Examples include Baco Noir (red) and Seyval Blanc (white). A number of recent varieties developed by Cornell University — such as Traminette, Noiret and Valvin Muscat — are also gaining popularity.
Here are a few tips for enjoying a visit to vineyards and wineries in the Hudson Valley:
- Wine tasting in the Hudson Valley is generally available throughout the year. It’s best to check ahead as some wineries may have different operating hours for each season.
- Travel with a designated driver — be it a family member or friend in your group, or a driver as part of a wine tour or chauffeured ride. Those sips can add up when you’re hoping from winery to winery.
- Bring your ID. Tasting room staff will check IDs, especially of the youthful-looking ones among us.
- Keep your palette clean to enjoy every tasting. Avoid mints, cough drops and chewing gum. Similarly, keep your nose undistracted: Do not wear fragrances or even sunscreen if you can do without it, for your sake as well as others around you in the tasting rooms.
- Don’t overplan and fit in too many wineries. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 before noon, 1 around lunchtime, and 2-3 in the afternoon. Overnight guests at the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast will begin your day with a hearty country breakfast that will energize you and set the stage for an enjoyable day of wine tasting.
- Drink responsibly. It’s a tasting, so don’t feel obliged to finish every pour. Stay hydrated by bringing water with you.
- Think ahead and have a response to the question, “What kind of wine do you enjoy?” Even if you don’t have a strong feeling about any particular type of wine, take this exercise as a way to get the most out of your winery staff. You could answer with a question like, “I like many types of wine. Which of your wine(s) would you recommend?” or simply say, “I’d like to try something unique to this region.” Some wine specialties of the Hudson Valley include whites like chardonnay and traminette, red blends and fruit wines.
- Consider getting the Hudson Valley Wine Tasting Passport, which comes with complimentary tastings at 13 wineries along the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Other events include an annual spring wine-and-tapas weekend, a summer Bounty of the Hudson wine and food festival, and a winter Wreath Fineries tasting event.
- Be in the know: “Shawangunk” — pronounced “Shawn-gum” by locals — refers to the remarkably scenic mountain ridge commonly known as “The Gunks” that runs through the lower to mid-Hudson Valley on the west side of the Hudson River.
- If you’re celebrating a special occasion, make the most of your visit to the Hudson Valley by pairing your wine tasting tour with an overnight stay at Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast. Ask about our romantic or girlfriends’ getaway package.