It’s rush hour for weekend wine tastings in the region

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Take a fall drive on Highway 40 in Washington County, past roadside stalls laden with pumpkins and grazing sheep pasture, and you’ll come to Victory View, where vines climb a hill in neat rows.

In September, clusters of plump ripe fruit hung from these woody vines and bees buzzed around, seeking a taste of sweet juice.

By the time you read these words, over 22 tons of grapes will be hand-picked by owners Gerry and Mary Barnhart with the help of their friends and neighbors, and on their seven acre farm they will turn this fruit into wine. which will not be marketed before the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.

Now is October, the peak time for weekend wine tastings at Victory View Vineyard and 12 other locations on the Upper Hudson Wine Trail and Capital Craft Beverage Trail. Made with winter hardy grapes, the wines are now produced in eight counties.

“Right now we’re serving all of 2018, and we’ll be adding a 2019 to the list probably in a month,” says Gerry Barnhart.

At Victory View, they grow four red varieties – Marquette, Marechal foch, Frontenac, Petite Pearl – and three white varieties – La Crescent, Lacrosse, Melody – which were developed for cold climates by scientists at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota.

Among the vintages to taste are Abigail, a semi-sweet white that honors President John Adams’ first lady; Charlotte, a Germanic-style dry wine, named after the daughter of the King of England and County Charlotte, which was the name of this land before it became County Washington; and Turning Point, a full-bodied red that salutes the 1777 Battles of Saratoga and their pivotal role in the American Revolution.

“We have a historical theme here because we are so close to the battlefield. From the top of the hill, when you look west, you look directly at Bemis Heights, ”says Barnhart.

“All the wineries are excited about this fall. The harvests have been good, ”says Andy Weber, president of the Capital Craft Beverage Trail and the Upper Hudson Wine Trail.

“The fall foliage is going to be there, the vineyards are going to be beautiful, and they have great wines. Many of these wineries win medals in New York State wine competitions.

At Victory View, the tastings take place in the open air, in full view of the vines, on tables set up under a large white awning.

“People can do a full tasting, which currently includes seven wines,” says Barnhart. “We do what is called an organized tasting. We don’t have a stand with seven cups in it. We serve you one wine at a time. We describe each wine and explain a bit about how it is made.

You can buy a plate of local cheeses and fruits or bring a picnic.

A tasting costs $ 8.

“Almost everyone charges you for the tasting and won’t waive the fees if you buy,” says Barnhart, who sits on the board of directors of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

Customers can purchase take-out bottles of wine, $ 18 for whites and $ 20 for reds, with discounts for larger purchases. In December, wine is available at the drive.

“Our peak months are September and October,” explains Barnhart. “Last year we went through the weekend before Thanksgiving. We had a great year. People liked to be outside. Because of COVID, we are doing everything outside. We just feel more secure and our customers feel more secure.

Not far from Victory View, Weber and his wife, Kathleen, welcome visitors to the tasting room at their Northern Cross Vineyard in Valley Falls.

“They’ll get a base set of six wines: three reds and three whites,” Weber explains. “And then we make a blend called Battenkill Red, which is a blend of two of the reds. I’m just going to make this blend for them there, with the two different bottles.

In the tasting room, Weber describes the winemaking process, from picking the grapes to fermentation, filtration and bottling. “And if they want, depending on the crowd, we can take a walk in the vineyard.”

While the guests are sipping their wine, they can also look at works of art. In October, paintings by Carolyn Favor Kibbe are in the spotlight.

“When they go to a vineyard, they’re really part of the process,” Weber explains. “They will talk to the owner, they will get the inside scoop.”

And each grower has a different story of how they got wrapped in grapes, he says.

“There are a lot of interesting people with the vineyards. And it’s just a beautiful time of year.

AUTUMN WINE TASTING BY COUNTY

For more information and maps, visit www.uhwt.com, the Upper Hudson Wine Trail website and www.capitalcraftbeveragetrail.com.

ALBANIA
Altamont vineyard and cellar, 3001, chemin Furbeck, Altamont, (518) 355-8100, www.altamontwinery.com. Charcuterie boards, tasting under an outdoor pergola. 12 pm-5pm Sat and Sun.
Meadowdale Winery / Vineyard, 32 Fryer Lane, Altamont, (518) 861-3610, meadowdalewinery.com. Tasting room in historic barn. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sat and Sun.

RENSSELAER
Stable Gate Farm & Winery, 10 Linda Way, Castleton-on-Hudson, (518) 265-5133, www.stablegatewinery.com. Outdoor terrace. 12 pm-5pm Fri, 10 am-4pm Sat & Sun, with brunch 10 am-2pm Live music noon-2pm Sat. Call before visiting.

SARATOGA
Fossil stone farms, 331 Grange Road, Greenfield, (518) 703-1784, www.fossilstonefarms.com. Online reservations.
Galway Rock Vineyard and Vineyard, 998 Saratoga Road, Ballston Lake, (518) 280-6554, galwayrockwines.com. Indoor tasting room and terrace with radiators. Cheese platters, macaroon tasting, outdoor food not allowed. Yoga and anecdotes. 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Wed and Thu, 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Fri & Sat, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
Ledge Rock Hill Winery, 41 Stewart Dam Road, Corinth, (518) 654-5467, lrhwinery.com. Tasting room and terrace. Outdoor terrace suitable for dogs, small plates, live music. Meet or reserve a table. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Fri, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Sat, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sun.

MONTGOMERY
Hummingbird Hills Wine Cellar, 1442 Burtonville Road, Fultonville, (518) 875-6919, hummingbirdhillswinery.com. Tasting room. 11 am-5pm Sat & Sun.

WASHINGTON COUNTY
South Dominion Vineyard, 190 Brownell Road, Cambridge. Reservations on Facebook.
Vineyard view of victory, 11975 State Route 40, Easton, (518) 461-7132, www.victoryviewvineyard.com. Tastings on a covered terrace outside. Cheese plates. 3 pm-7pm Fri, 12 pm-6pm Sat & Sun. Reservations required only for groups of six or more.
Croix du Nord vineyard, 1103 Beadle Hill Road, Valley Falls, (518) 210-3877, www.northerncrossvineyard.com. 12 pm-6pm Sat and Sun.

COLOMBIA
Hudson Chatham Vineyard, 1900 State Route 66, Ghent, www.hudsonchathamwinery.com. Outdoor tastings. 12 pm-5pm Wed-Sun, online reservations.
Sabba vineyard, 383 Pitts Road, Old Chatham, (518) 766-3755, www.sabbavineyard.com. Food truck, cheese plates, live music, yoga. 12 pm-8pm Fri-Sun

WARREN
Adirondack Vineyard, www.adirondackwinery.com. Daily wine tastings at Lake George and Bolton Landing, Saturdays in Queensbury. Check the website for hours. Online reservations. “Drink Pink” breast cancer awareness events in October.

The drinks passport

When you’re ready to hit the Wine Route, you might want to grab the Capital Craft Beverage Trail 2021-2022 Passport.

The free passport is available from the 61 producers of beer, wine, spirits, cider and mead who are registered on the Capital Craft Beverage Trail (www.craftbeveragetrail.com). Get it stamped on every visit and you can win prizes.

Andy Weber, president of Trail, said people have been using the passport regularly since its launch in July 2020.

“It takes them to places they didn’t know or would never have discovered on their own,” Weber says.

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