Author Archives: Bill Dowd

About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

Distributor planning statewide shochu sales

Attention, sake fans.

Joto Sake has announced a program to begin wholesaling spirits in the New York market in October, starting with its portfolio of shochus, which includes the Asahi, Seiko Udoko and Shima Senryo brands.

Joto has been distributing its artisanal sake line through its wine license in New York State since 2005.

The company will be adding American craft spirits as well, according to founder Henry Sidel. While distributing its own brands in New York, Joto’s portfolio is handled by Southern Wine & Spirits, Republic National Distributing Co., Young’s Market, Wirtz Beverage and others across the country.

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Sake


New Columbia County distillery to open Sept. 1

(L-R) Baker, Pickerell, Welly

ANCRAM — Last November, I posted a story and photos of a distillery being created near this Columbia County community. Now, owner Jeffrey Baker and master distiller Dave Pickerell have announced a September 1 opening.

On that day, Hillrock Estate Distillery will be open to the public as well as introducing the launch of Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon.

While there are other distilleries in the Hudson Valley, Hillrock is different in that it is a “field-to-glass” facility. In fact, it is believed to be the first post-Prohibition U.S. distillery to floor malt and hand craft whiskey onsite from its own estate-grown grain.

“I approached the craft spirits movement from a farming perspective, looking to create premier whiskies that reflect the local terroir, in the tradition of great estate vineyards,” Baker said.

“After research, I found that there were no truly field-to-glass distillery operations in the United States hand crafting spirits with grain grown and floor malted on the estate. That’s when I reached out to Dave Pickerell to realize our vision.”

Pickerell, former master distiller for Maker’s Mark and now a consulting master distiller for numerous craft distilleries, has been working with Timothy Welly, distiller and operations manager.

“By controlling every aspect of production from planting and harvesting heirloom grains, to traditionally floor malting our grain, to crafting whiskies in our 250-gallon copper pot still, to aging in small oak barrels and hand bottling, we are able to create premium whiskies reflecting the unique terroir of the Hillrock Estate,” Pickerell said.

Hillrock Estate Distillery will open for reserved weekend tours and tastings beginning September 15. Reservations can be made via e-mail or via the website.

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Distillers, Hudson Valley


Vino Volo owners expanding airport bars

Q: Who is happy with flight delays?

A: Airport bar and restaurant owners.

NEW YORK — Mistral Equity Partners of New York is investing more than $10 million in Taste Inc., a chain of airport wine bars which operates at Vino Volo, according to the Dow Jones news service. The company runs 18 locations in airports nationally, and plans to open an additional several more, outside of airport security which means a broader potential clientele.

The chain now specializes in wine flights. It also plans to expand beyond airport dining and venture into the cities, to see if its wine sampling model works beyond airport terminals.

The company’s current locations include John F. Kennedy International in New York and Newark International in New Jersey.

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Bar/Tavern/Lounge


CIA offering special anniversary ale

Photo: CIA/Phil Mansfield

HYDE PARK — You’ll have to drive to this Ulster County community to try it, but true craft beer lovers might be interested in the limited edition American Bounty Anniversary Ale made to mark the 30th anniversary of The Culinary Institute of America’s American Bounty Restaurant.

The beer was locally brewed and bottled by Tommy Keegan at Keegan Ales in Kingston, using a formula created by CIA chefs that combines two of Keegan’s award-winning brews. It is available only at the restaurant, located on the CIA campus.

“This blend of Keegan’s Old Capital and their dark and creamy Mother’s Milk is aged in American whiskey barrels,” Noelle Guagliardo, CIA beverage manager, said in a written statement. “The result is a delicious medium-bodied ale with hints of oatmeal, chocolate, caramel and smoke.”

The CIA is located at 1946 Campus Drive. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Reservations and other information: (845) 471-6608.

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Beer, Hudson Valley


Dr. Konstantin Frank biggest winner in NY Classic

WATKINS GLEN — Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars finished atop the heap in the 27th annual New York Wine & Food Classic held here Monday and Tuesday.

The Finger Lakes winery’s 2011 Semi Dry Riesling won the Governor’s Cup trophy, the event’s top honor, and the winery itself was named winery of the year.

The Governor’s Cup recognizes the best of show, top prize of all 773 entries. The “winery of the year” goes to the enterprise with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included 752 New York wines, nine hard ciders and 12 spirits from the Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State.

En route to the top award, the Frank entry also was named best white wine, best overall Riesling and best medium dry Riesling, and its overall portfolio of entries earned one double gold, two gold and four silver medals, which contributed to its winery of the year designation.

The “Best of Category” awards, all eligible for the Governor’s Cup, went to:

• Best Sparkling Wine: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Cuvee Brut
• Best Blush Wine: Miles Wine Cellars Wisteria
• Best Red Wine: Miles Wine Cellars 2009 Lemberger
• Best Dessert Wine: Sheldrake Point Winery 2010 Riesling Ice Wine
• Best Specialty Wine: Baldwin Vineyards Trilogy
• Best Hard Cider: McKenzie’s Hard Cider Black Cherry
• Best Spirit: Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin
• Best Limited Production Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2009 Riesling, Martini-Reinhardt Selection Series, Martini Vineyards

The “Best of Class” awards go to Double Gold (unanimous agreement of the judges) or Gold medal wines in classes of at least seven wines. Those awards:

• Best Oaked Chardonnay: Martha Clara Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Estate Reserve
• Best Unoaked Chardonnay: Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Festival Chardonnay
• Best Overall Chardonnay: Paumanok Vineyards 2011 Festival Chardonnay
• Best Gewürztraminer: Sheldrake Point Winery 2011 Gewürztraminer
• Best Dry Riesling: Lucas Vineyards 2010 Dry Riesling
• Best Medium Dry Riesling: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Medium Sweet Riesling: Belhurst Estate Winery 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Sweet Riesling: Wagner Vineyards 2011 Riesling Select, Estate Bottled & Grown
• Best Overall Riesling: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2011 Riesling, Semi-Dry
• Best Sauvignon Blanc: Billsboro Winery 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
• Best Pinot Gris: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2011 Pinot Gris
• Best Vinifera White Blend: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2011 Riewurz
• Best Vinifera/Hybrid White Blend: Silver Thread Vineyard 2011 Good Earth White
• Best Traminette: Goose Watch Winery 2010 Traminette
• Best Vidal: Long Point Winery 2011 Vidal Blanc
• Best Hybrid White Blend Tug Hill Vineyards Lake Effect
• Best Cayuga: Lucas Vineyards 2011 Cayuga White
• Best Diamond: Goose Watch Winery 2011 Diamond
• Best Catawba: Miles Wine Cellars Wisteria
• Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Kings Garden Vineyards King’s Cab, Estate Grown, Produced & Bottled
• Best Merlot: Bedell Cellars 2008 Merlot
• Best Cabernet Franc: Ventosa Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc, Old Vineyard
• Best Pinot Noir: Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Estate Bottled
• Best Lemberger: Miles Wine Cellars 2009 Lemberger
• Best Vinifera Red Blend: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2010 Big Blend
• Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal: Bedell Cellars 2010 Malbec
• Best Concord: Coyote Moon Vineyards Fire Boat Red
• Best Mead: Earle Estates Meadery Cherry Charisma
• Best Fruit: Baldwin Vineyards Trilogy
• Best Spirit: Finger Lakes Distilling Seneca Drums Gin
• Best Late Harvest Wine: Anthony Road Wine Company 2011 Sweet Dream
• Best Ice Wine: Sheldrake Point Winery 2010 Riesling Ice Wine
• Best Vinifera Sparkling White: Atwater Estate Vineyards 2008 Cuvee Brut

The awards were based on blind tastings by 23 judges — four from California, 10 from New York, six from other states, one from France and two from the United Kingdom.

The Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 321 New York wineries from all regions.

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Martha Clara going German for a weekend

RIVERHEAD, Long Island — Martha Clara Vineyards, never a snob about beverages, will host its 11th annual Oktoberfest the weekend of September 8-9.

German beers, food music — and wine, of course — will be available at the North Fork facility from 1 to 5 p.m. each day.

This is a rain-or-shine event. Admission is $10 for each day. Click here for Saturday tickets, or here for Sunday tickets.

Martha Clara is located at 6025 Sound Avenue. However, the Herricks Lane entrance will be used for Oktoberfest visitors. Phone: (631) 298-0075.

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Beer Event, Wineries


Lenz lining up samples for its Merlot World Classic

PECONIC, Long Island — If Merlots are your thing, circle Saturday, September 15, on your social calendar. That’s the date for the 23rd annual Merlot World Classic.

The event is run by the folks at the Lenz Winery, who have collected more than 60 different merlots from around the world for sampling.

Admission is $50 per person, or $25 for Lenz subscribers. In either case, a 10% discount is being offered on all tickets purchased by September 1. Tickets are available by calling the Lenz tasting room at (631) 734-6010. The winery is located at on Main Road (Route 25) in this Suffolk County community.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Tasting Event, Wine


NY wines collect 141 medals at Indy International

Jim Trezise, president of the New York State Wine & Grape Foundation, has New York state entries’ results from this week’s Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

And, an excellent outing it was for 21 Brix Winery. Its Ellatawba, a Catawba-based wine from the Lake Erie region, won “best rosé.”

Says Trezise of the NY entries, “The total haul of 141 medals included 12 concordance gold (similar to double gold), 23 gold, 66 silver and 40 bronze medals, with several of New York’s concordance golds included in the final sweepstakes round.”

Other concordance gold medals went to Belhurst Winery 2011 Pinot Grigio and 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, Dr. Frank 2010 Rkatsiteli, Goose Watch 2011 Riesling-Gewurztraminer, Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farm 2011 Maple Moon Hard Cider, Hunt Country Dolce di Moscate (Valvin Muscat), Liberty Vineyards Diamond, Swedish Hill Niagara and 2010 Late Harvest Vignoles, Wagner Vineyards 2011 Riesling Ice Wine, and Winery of Ellicottville EVL White (a Diamond blend).

Gold medals were awarded to 21 Brix Cayuga White and Ella’s White (Niagara); Chateau Frank 2007 Blanc de Blancs; Coyote Moon 2010 Pinot Noir, 2011 Island Mama, and 2011 Cherry Bomb; Dr. Frank 2011 Reserve Gewurztraminer; 2011 Semi Dry Riesling and 2011 Pinot Gris; Fox Run 2010 Reserve Chardonnay and 2011 Reserve Riesling; Goose Watch 2011 Melody; Lakewood Vineyards 2010 Lemberger and 2011 Dry Riesling; Long Point Winery 2010 Sangiovese; Seneca Shore Dry Riesling Old Vines; Swedish Hill Viking White, 2011 Vidal Blanc, and 2011 Cayuga White; Thirsty Owl 2011 Vidal Blanc; Torrey Ridge Diamond; Wagner Vineyards 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling and 2011 Vidal Blanc.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Virginia ‘best of show’ for Chateau Frank

In what is getting to be a habit, a New York State wine took “best of show” honors on a major competition.

The Chateau Frank 2006 Blanc de Noir won “best of show” honors in the 8th annual Atlantic Seaboard Competition held in Haymarket, VA.

In addition, Dr. Frank 2010 Pinot Gris took a gold and “best of category.” Others with the same honors from New York were Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer, Belhurst Winery 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, and Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Pinot Noir Blanc.

Additional golds went to 21 Brix 2011 Chardonnay, Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Pinot Gris, Dr. Frank 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling, and Fulkerson Winery 2010 Dry Riesling.

Panels of 20 judges evaluated 495 wines produced in 17 states. An observation from Dave McIntyre, one of the judges, posted on his blog:

“What a difference a year makes. The sweepstakes round … included 20 wines, and nearly all (especially the reds) were from the very ripe 2010 vintage. Some of these were superb. There were some 2010s that didn’t earn gold medals because they were clumsy and even overripe and alcoholic. The rainy 2011 vintage tended to live down to expectations, with a few exceptions. Even the whites -– Rieslings, Viogniers and especially Chardonnays -– tended to be lackluster, and the reds dilute. Keep in mind that most of the better 2011 reds have not been released.”

The competition, run by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, is designed to promote and help market wines produced in the eastern U.S. The organization changed its name in 2008 from the Vinifera Wine Growers Association.

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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Competition, Wine


Rooster Hill debuts its first Sauvignon Blanc

You may have to get your local wine merchant to special-order it, but a Finger Lakes winery has just released a limited amount of its first Sauvignon Blanc in a region best known for its Rieslings.

The wine, made from a grape variety that originated in western France, is getting very good early reviews, which should mean the 65-case supply from Rooster Hill Vineyards will go fast.

Rooster Hill, located on the east side of Keuka Lake, actually made the wine from grapes grown on the east side of Seneca Lake at Sawmill Creek Vineyards, also its supplier for Chardonnay grapes.

Winemaker Barry Tortolon split the 1.5 tons of purchased grapes into different lots and fermented them using two different yeasts to provide different notes — one grassy and steely, the other fruity — then blended them into one final product.

Rooster Hill Vineyards is located at 489 Route 54 near Penn Yan. Phone: (315) 536-4773.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Wineries


‘Rendezvous With Riesling’ in the Finger Lakes

CANANDAIGUA — If you’re a fan of New York State Rieslings, you may want to consider a drive to the Finger Lakes for “Rendezvous with Riesling” at the New York Wine & Culinary Center here.

The sixth annual event is scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, August 10, which coincides with the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival weekend of August 11-12.

“Rendezvous with Riesling” is a celebration of New York’s signature wine varietal. Numerous Rieslings and other New York wines will be available for sampling, along with foods from Culinary Center chef Michael Sokolski’s staff.

Admission is $40 per person. As of this posting, there are 155 admissions available. They can be reserved online or by phone at (585) 394-7070.

Among the featured wineries:

  • Silver Thread Vineyard 
  • Americana Vineyard 
  • Standing Stone Vineyards 
  • Bully Hill Vineyards 
  • Hosmer Winery 
  • Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 
  • Glenora Wine Cellars 
  • Knapp Vineyard 
  • Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard 
  • Eremita Winery 
  • Anthony Road Wine Company 
  • Sheldrake Point Winery 
  • Casa Larga Vineyards 
  • Brotherhood Winery 
  • Fox Run Vineyards 
  • Heron Hill Winery 
  • McGregor Vineyard
  • Swedish Hill 

The Wine & Culinary Center is located at 800 South Main Street, lakeside.

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Finger Lakes, Upstate, Wine


New Saratoga brew pub to open Wednesday

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In a neck-and-neck race with the schedule of Saratoga Race Course, the city’s new brew pub will be able to catch most of the meet.

Next Wednesday, August 1, is the officially announced opening day for Druthers Brewing Co., a $2.5 million downtown project that should benefit from the thoroughbred meet that runs through September 3.

Druthers is owned by a partnership that includes Albany attorney Chris Martell and Albany Pump Station brewmaster George de Piro, among others.

The brew pub, located at 381 Broadway, is accessed via an entranceway that opens to a courtyard and the building itself. Below is a sketch of that from the company’s infant website.

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Brew pub, Capital Region, Upstate


Heaven Hill commits itself to Larceny

A 19th Century inspiration has led the distillers at Heaven Hill to create Larceny, a new super-premium wheated bourbon.

Larceny will make its debut in New York and 11 other states in September, at a suggested retail price of $24.99 for the 750ml bottle.

The 92 proof whiskey, aimed at the males 30-50 market niche, is distilled in small batches from dumps of 100 or fewer barrels that have aged six to 12 years in Heaven Hill’s open rick warehouses in Nelson County, KY.

In its announcement, the company says the brand is “Heir to the wheated bourbons that make up the historic Old Fitzgerald franchise that Heaven Hill acquired in 1999.” Old Fitzgerald has had a tradition of using wheat in place of rye as the third grain in the whiskey’s mash bill, along with corn and malted barley.

Old Fitzgerald’s namesake was a federal treasury agent named John E. Fitzgerald who, in the mid-1800s, was rumored to have used his position to secretly obtain fine bourbons, thus the “larceny” name.

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Whiskey/Whisky


Music/wine/food series set in the Finger Lakes

PENN YAN — Keuka Spring Vineyards, located on the east side of Keuka Lake, will host a series of music, wine and food events this summer.

The winery has lined up three bands for four dates in August and September. The first event is set for Sunday, August 5, with local band Agonal Rhythm, a group consisting of folks from the medical field.

The band Kickin’ Back, from Fairport, will appear on Saturday, August 18, and Saturday, September 1, and The Galtee Mountain Boys will bring traditional Irish music on Sunday, September 9.

All of the music events are free to the public. Wine by the bottle and glass is available, as well as local cheeses and snacks for picnics. Picnic box lunches may be ordered in advance from the winery.

A special feature of the first three events is a visit from Blue Heron Acres in northern Pennsylvania, producers of Kobe beef, who will be serving a 24-hour mesquite-smoked Kobe beef brisket or a “build your own burger” bar. Music will begin at 1 p.m. each afternoon, and guest are encouraged to bring chairs, pop-up tents, or blankets to sit on. All events are subject to change based on weather conditions.

Keuka Spring Vineyards is located at 243 State Route 54, East Lake Road, just outside of Penn Yan. Phone: (315) 536-3147.

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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Finger Lakes


Bounty of the Hudson set this weekend

WARWICK — Bounty of the Hudson, a food and drink event that moves to a different winery venue each year, will be hosted by the Applewood Winery this Saturday and Sunday.

The event will feature wine sampling from 16 Hudson Valley wineries, as well as food and live music.

Advance tickets are $18, and are available online through Thursday.

Participating wineries:

  • Adair Vineyards
  • Applewood Winery
  • Baldwin Vineyards
  • Benmarl Vineyards
  • Brimstone Hill Vineyards
  • Brotherhood
  • Hudson Chatham Winery
  • Glorie Farm Winery
  • Millbrook Vineyards
  • Palaia Vineyards
  • Pazdar Winery
  • Robibero Family Vineyards
  • Stoutridge Vineyards
  • Tousey Winery
  • Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
  • Whitecliff Vineyards

Participating restaurants:

  • Chumleys BBQ
  • Jamaican Choice Caribbean Cuisine
  • Raggae Boy & Girl Restaurant
  • Cider House Cafe

Other participants offering samples and items to purchase:

  • Rogowski Farm
  • Zora Dora’s
  • Nobel Pies
  • Bread Alone
  • Acorn Hill Farm
  • Grandpa Pete
  • Mr. Cannoli
  • Black Lab Naturals
  • Luna Grown
  • Bixby Chocolates
  • Casa Del Caviocavallo
  • T.C. Sauces
  • Honey Brook Farms
  • Big Guys Hot Sauces
  • The Gourmet Exchange

Music by Jeremy Langdale on Saturday and Groovy Tuesday on Sunday.

The event is sponsored by Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, Edible Hudson Valley, New York Life and Green Mountain Energy Company.  It will run from noon to 5 p.m. each day.

Host venue Applewood Winery is located  at 82 Four Corners in this Orange County community.

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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Festival, Hudson Valley


10 NY wines best-of-class in California competition

LONG BEACH, CA — The Long Beach Grand Cru competition held over the weekend was a medal bumper crop for New York State wines — 115 medals, among them 10 best-of-class, 26 gold, 55 silver and 24 bronze.

Best-of-class winners, which were in the final “sweepstakes” round, included:

• 1 for 21 Brix — Ella’s Red (Concord) from Lake Erie

• 1 for Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2– 010 Estate Dry Riesling

• 2 for Coyote Moon — Twisted Sister (Frontenac) and Marquette

• 2 for Goose Watch  — 2011 Diamond and 2011 Rose of Isabella

• 4 for Swedish Hill —  2011 Riesling, Niagara, Catawba, and 2010 Late Harvest Vignoles

Gold medals went to 21 Brix Raspberry, 2011 Dry Riesling, 2011 Gewurztraminer, and 2011 Chardonnay; Anyela’s Vineyards 2010 Riesling and 2008 Cabernet Franc; Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2010 Chardonnay Proprietor’s Reserve, 2010 Semi-Dry Estate Riesling and 2011 Semi-Dry Estate Riesling; Coyote Moon La Crescent; Dr. Konstantin Frank 2010 Rkatsiteli, 2011 Dry Riesling, and 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling;

Also, Goose Watch 2011 Cabernet Franc and 2010 Traminette; Hazlitt 2010 Riesling Homestead Reserve; Johnson Estate 2011 Delaware and Concord; Penguin Bay Tuxedo Red and 2011 Riesling; Sparkling Pointe 2009 Topaz Imperial, North Fork of Long Island; Swedish Hill 2011 Chardonnary-Riesling Blue Waters, Blanc de Blanc, 2011 Dry Riesling, and 2011 Cayuga White; and Wagner Vineyards 2010 Riesling Estate Bottled.

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Competition, Wineries


Craft beer fest Saturday at Troy college field

TROY — Beer and baseball are an all-American combo. But even when the team is on the road, there’s no reason the beer can’t flow at their home stadium.

This Saturday, the 3rd annual Capital Region Craft Brewers Fest will be held from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the Hudson Valley Community College campus.

Tickets, available online, start at $25 — covering 10 tasting tickets, a souvenir glass and a ticket to a Tri-City ValleyCats home game.

Brews from about two dozen or so brewers, food and live music also will be the order of the day. The event is a fundraiser the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation.

Participating brewers include:

  • Brown’s Brewing
  • Cape Ann
  • Crossroads
  • Smuttynose
  • Switchback
  • La Brasserie Unibroue
  • Blue Point Brewing
  • Adirondack Pub & Brewery
  • Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
  • Roc Brewing Co.
  • Saranac
  • Wandering Star Brewing Co.
  • Long Trail Brewing Co.
  • Otter Creek Brewing
  • Wolaver’s Organic Ale
  • Olde Saratoga Brewing Company
  • Brewery Ommegang
  • Cottrell Brewing Company
  • Ithaca Beer Company
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Chatham Brewing
  • C.H. Evans Albany Pump Station
  • Madison Brewing Co.
  • Keegan Ales
  • Davidson Brothers
  • Butternuts Beer & Ale

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Beer Event, Capital Region


NYC water-only cafe goes molecular

NEW YORK — Move over, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, you have competition.

It’s a seven-step drinking water purification process that goes something like this:

Kinetic degradation fuxion), magnetic and catalytic, active-carbon-five-micron reverse osmosis, UV and ozone treatments.

Not exactly one word, but one descriptive phrase. It deals with what entrepreneurs Adam Ruhf and Alexander Venet go through with the only thing served at Molecule Water Cafe in New York City.

They maintain that what they sell is cleaner and healthier than regular tap water — although the city regularly gets high marks for the quality of such, piped in from the Catskills.

The $25,000 purifying system is located behind the bar at Molecule, where it purportedly strips down city water to its molecular level. Patrons can add supplements such as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to their drink at $1 per item. That’s on top of the $1 for a cup of water, $2.50 for a 16-ounce glass bottle of it, $3 for a gallon or $10 for five gallons. Molecule also delivers in the neighborhood.

Ruhf maintains his product will find a niche with a society concerned over cluttering landfills with plastic water bottles and shipping water all over the world.

Molecule Water Cafe is located at 259 East 10th Street, off First Avenue. Phone: (646) 371-9025.

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Water


Schenectady County winery NYS’s newest

NISKAYUNA — New York’s newest winery has opened in a location that might surprise many people.

Capoccia Vineyards & Winery, located at 2820 Balltown Road in this Schenectady County community, is a project involving Domenic Capoccia, owner of Northeastern Contracting, and three sons, Nick, 21, Justin, 18, and Michael, 15, that is an outgrowth of a longtime family hobby of making wine.

The new enterprise’s tasting room and store — shown above right — sells seven varieties of wine, all made from New York grapes. Three varietals are grown on three acres here, the rest sourced from the Finger Lakes.

The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. The seven wines it stocks were made from the 2011 harvest — Cabernet Franc, Vignoles, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminette and Rosette. They are priced from $12 to $20, depending on varietal.

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Saratoga Race Course shuffles food and drink lineup

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The food and drink scene at the Saratoga Race Course will have a new look when it opens this Friday for its 144th racing season.

The New York Racing Association, which operates the track, announced that the revamped Carousel will be anchored by the new Saratoga Beer Garden which will feature Hattie’s Restaurant, Shirley’s Restaurant and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Three other vendors are returning — Ben & Jerry’s, Pies on Wheels and Caroline

The Beer Garden will offer 12-ounce beers for $5, featuring such craft labels as Adirondack Bear Naked Ale, Batch 19, Blue Moon Belgian White, Blue Moon Summer, Brooklyn
Summer, Sam Adams Lager, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Harpoon IPA, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Magic Hat #9, Olde Saratoga IPA and Saranac Blueberry Blonde.

Restaurant Row will feature two newcomers — Siro’s and Bettie’s Cakes — as well as returning vendors Old Daley Inn and Putnam Market. The area also will also be reconfigured to accommodate Miller Express, a stand selling draft beer.

NYRA also will again offer $3 domestic draft beers and $4 draft import beers at certain stands throughout the track as well as $5 value-meals available in the backyard, including a hot dog or slider, chips and soda.

Breakfast at Saratoga, held on the Clubhouse porch during morning workouts from 7 to
9:30 a.m. daily, will feature a new a la carte menu that includes eggs, bacon, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and other breakfast fare.

New to The Post this season will be El Verano Taquería, a taco stand in the location previously occupied by Blue Smoke.

Returning at The Post will be the Shake Shack and The Bar at The Post. And, Dunkin’ Donuts will return for its second summer.

On Friday, the gates will be opened at 11 a.m. and first post is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Capital Region, Upstate


New state laws aid farm breweries/wineries

UTICA — Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature was affixed to a trio of bills today that will help support farm breweries and wineries in the state.

The setting, appropriately enough, was the F.X. Matt Brewery here.

Here, in summary, is what happens now:

• Farm breweries will be allowed to sell New York State-labeled wine at their retail outlets. In addition, farm wineries will be permitted to sell New York State-labeled beer for off-premises consumption.

• Farm breweries will be able to to obtain licenses to operate restaurants, conference centers, inns, bed and breakfasts or hotels on or adjacent to the farm brewery.

• Both farm breweries and farm wineries will be allowed to conduct tastings of New York State-produced beer and wine at their premises.

• Farm breweries will be allowed to sell beer-making equipment and supplies, food complementing beer and wine, souvenir items, and additional products similar to those allowed under the Farm Winery Act.

In addition, brewers in the state producing 60 million or fewer gallons annually will get a refundable tax credit and be exempted from the $150 annual brand label fee.

As noted by the New York Farm Bureau, New York was the national leader in growing hops in the 1800s. In recent years, more attention has been paid to that niche. Hop production has risen 400% in the past two years to about 60 acres statewide. A provision in the legislation calls for 90% of the hops and 90% of the ingredients in the local beer to be New York grown by 2024.

“This legislation is important for our members, as it makes simple financial sense,” said Dean Norton, Farm Bureau president. “Farm breweries are a growing segment of agriculture in New York and new markets are needed to sell their products and continue their progress. Since farm breweries can use crops from New York farms to craft their products, the agricultural industry overall receives an economic benefit as well.”

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Brewery, Legislation/Regulation


Millbrook expands its reserve tasting portfolio

MILBROOK — Millbrook Winery has unveiled a new reserve wine tasting program.

The Dutchess County winery is offering a five-sample flight of its premium wines for $25 per person from 1 to 4 p.m. Wines in the lineup include estate-grow and -bottled along with a Pinot Noir from it sister winery, Williams Selyem. That means wines from the Hudson River Region as well as from California’s Russian River Valley and Central Coast Region.

In addition, Millbrook is offering an expanded wine-by-the-glass menu, featuring eight more reserve wines in addition to those previously available from its Portfolio Sampler Tasting. Each of the wines is available by the sample or by the glass.

The selection:

2011 Tocai Friulano – Hilltop Hill
2010 Grand Reserve Chardonnay
2010 Grand Reserve Pinot Noir
2009 Williams Selyem Central Coast Pinot Noir
2008 Cabernet Franc Proprietor’s Special Reserve
2010 Chardonnay Block Two West
2009 Williams Selyem Unoaked Chardonnay
2010 Pinot Noir Proprietor’s Special Reserve

Millbrook Winery is located at 26 Wing Road. Phone: (845) 677-6186.

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Wineries


Cazenovia Beverage Trail in its infancy

Artist’s sketch of Owera tasting room.

CAZENOVIA — The number of stops on the new Cazenovia Beverge Trail should double before the next 12 months go by.

Of course, that number needs to be put in perspective.

The state’s newest beverage trail presently includes only Good Nature Brewing and Harvest Moon Winery at Critz Farms.

Later this year, the new Owera Vineyards is expected to open and in the new year Empire Brewing is expected to join.

This charming small town on the south end of Cazenovia Lake, south of Syracuse, is best known for its B&Bs and antique shops. The creation of the beverage trail now gives it an extra cachet for tourists.

Owera Vineyar, Madison County’s first commercial winery, located at 5276 East Lake Road, is putting the finishing touches on its wine room and pans to open to the public in September. It features cold-weather grapes from Minnesota.

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Split-weekend sangria festival at Benmarl

MARLBORO — Benmarl Winery’s 7th annual Sangria Festival is set for double exposure — the weekends of July 21-22 and August 18-19.

For a $20 admission fee, attendees will get a souvenir wine glass, vineyard and cellar yours, sangria samples and be entertained by live music and Flamenco dance. The event will run from noon to 7 p.m. each day Food, additional sangria and wine will be available each day.

There also are several discount admission offers. For example, Wine Club members will receive free admission for two people, or 25% discount advance admissions are available by going online and entering promo code NL7.

Bemmarl is located at 156 Highland Avenue Marlboro, Ulster County. Phone: (845) 236-4265.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Hudson Valley, Wineries


Tuthilltown Spirits creates new locally-sourced gin

GARDINER — Tuthilltown Spirits, the Ulster County craft distiller, has yet another new product to add to its extensive portfolio. This one is Half Moon Orchard Gin, due out in August.

Says founder Ralph Erenzo, “This is not your typical gin. The base spirit is made using locally grown apples and wheat, and the citrus and herbs are perfectly proportioned. Thank you to distiller Joel Elder for creating this incredible recipe.”

In other Tuthilltown activities:

• Experts from the distillery will lead a spirit-pairing dinner at the Culinary Institiute of America in Hyde Park at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 22. Reservations are $65 plus tax and tip. Phone: (845) 471-6608 or go online. The event is part of the ongoing celebration of the American Bounty Restaurant’s 30th anniversary at the CIA.

• Author Sandor Katz will be at the distillery’s tasting room at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 7, to speak and sign copies of his latest book, “The Art of Fermentation,” which will be available for sale. Tuthilltown Spirits is located at 14 Gristmill Lane in this Ulster County community.

• Tuthilltown will be debuting a cocktail specially created for a 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 18, cocktail party fundraiser for the Gardiner Library. The fundraiser, which will feature a live auction and food from Main Course and Cafe Mio will be held at the Maplestone Inn, 541 Route 32, New Paltz. Tickets are $50 each and may be made by calling (845) 255-1255 or by going online.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Distillers, Fundraiser, Gin


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