Summer fun on the Shawangunk Wine Trail
With acres of pastoral land to wander and crisp, refreshing wines to taste, summer is an ideal time to visit a winery. The Hudson Valley is home to many of them, including those on the famous Shawangunk Wine Trail.
Created to showcase a unique facet of the region's winemaking history, the 12 wineries on this trail all subscribe to the same winemaking tradition established by French Huguenot settlers more than three centuries ago.
Many wineries on the Shawangunk (pronounced by locals as SHONG-gum) Wine Trail feature live music on weekends and participate in seasonal events, including Bounty of the Hudson, an annual festival held in late July that pairs dishes from local restaurants with regional wines.
For those seeking to embark on a wine-soaked road trip, the trail winds its way through Orange and Ulster counties and is accessible by the New York State Thruway and the southern part of Interstate 84.
Here are the wineries of the Shawnagunk Wine Trail (and what they offer), presented in alphabetical order.
Adair Winery in New Paltz: Adair's 10-acre vineyard produces two varieties of white -- Seyval Blanc and Vignoles -- and two varieties of red -- Foch and Millot. Info: 52 Allhusen Rd., New Paltz; 845-255-1377; www.adairwine.com. Summer hours: Weekends: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Applewood Winery in Warwick: Featuring limited-edition reds and whites, as well as fruit wines and hard apple cider, Applewood's products can be sampled in the tasting room or purchased online. The winery features live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. and offers lunch -- panini, salads, flatbread pizzas and more, plus red and white sangria by the glass and fruit wine slushies -- in its cafe, open weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The winery will host the Bounty of the Hudson event (noon-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, July 28-29; gunkswine.com) and other seasonal events, including a barbecue and blues celebration (Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 4-5). Look out for a new line of hard ciders, which the winery will release later this summer. Info: 82 Four Corners Rd., Warwick; 845-988-9292; www.applewoodwinery.com. Summer hours: Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Baldwin Vineyards in Pine Bush: This 35-acre vineyard produces 15 types of wine, including the internationally renowned Strawberry Wine. The vineyard also hosts a regular event, a Strawberry, Wine & Chocolate Festival, which features wine tastings, an engraved glass and foods that combine chocolate and strawberries (noon-5 p.m., weekends in the summer; $12 per person or free with the purchase of six bottles of wine or more). Info: 176 Hardenburgh Rd., Pine Bush; 845-744-2226; www.baldwinvineyards.com. Summer hours: Thursday-Sunday: noon-5 p.m. (open Wednesday-Sunday in July).
Benmarl Winery in Marlboro: Benmarl calls its vineyard the oldest in the United States, and its rich history in winemaking has resulted in a variety of coveted reds and whites, most recently a 2010 Cabernet Estate Franc. The winery will host its sixth annual Sangria Festivals this summer, where attendees can sample sangria, tour the vineyard and cellar, watch flamenco dance performances and listen to live music (noon-7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, July 21-22 and Aug. 18-19; $20 per person). Tastings are $8 for six wines, and guests are invited to bring their own picnic to be enjoyed on the vineyard's grounds. Info: 156 Highland Ave., Marlboro; 845-236-4265; benmarl.com. Summer hours: Weekdays: noon-6 p.m.; weekends: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery in Pine Bush: From dry and semisweet whites to hearty reds, Brimstone Hill has been producing wine for more than 30 years. It offers a tasting of all nine of its table wines at $3 per person, $4.50 per person for the table wines plus the sparkling wine. There are picnic tables on the premises available to guests, who are also free to walk through the vineyard's grounds. Info: 61 Brimstone Hill Rd., Pine Bush; 845-744-2231; brimstonehillwinery.com. Summer hours: Friday-Monday: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville: Established in 1839 and billing itself as “America's Oldest Winery,” Brotherwood offers a wealth of options for wine lovers, including tours; traditional, world and varietal tastings; an art space with a rotating list of exhibits; and a gourmet cafe (Vinum Cafe: 845-496-9001; vinumcafe.com). The winery offers a set tour and tasting package, $10 per person, which provides a winery tour, one tasting flight (of five wines) and a Brotherhood wineglass. There is live music on weekends from 1 to 4 p.m., and the winery hosts a themed event about once a month (there is luau event on July 28 -- $50 per person -- and a pig roast in August). Guests can also picnic on the grounds or in the winery's courtyard. Info: 100 Brotherhood Plaza Dr., Washingtonville; 845-496-3661; brotherhood-winery.com. Summer hours: Sunday-Friday: 11 a. m. 5- p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro: Housed in a barn near the top of Mount Zion Mountain, this small family winery produces a variety of whites and reds, many with funky names, like Red Monkey, Jumpin Jazz and Rumple Pumpkin. All of Glorie's wines can be sampled in a tasting room that provides a stunning, panoramic view of the Hudson Valley. Info: 40 Mountain Rd., Marlboro; 845-236-3265; www.gloriewine.com. Summer hours: Weekends (and Monday holidays): 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and by appointment.
Palaia Vineyards in Highland Mills: Housed in a 200-year-old barn on property once owned by Aaron Burr, the third vice president, this winery is named for the winemaker's grandfather and produces red and white varietals and blends. Palaia hosts music acts every weekend and will also host two tribute fests this summer: a Beatles Festival in July and a Woodstock Festival in August. The Beatles event will feature a lineup of acts including Beatles cover band Twist and Shout, with proceeds going to the Woodbury Police Bureau Association. (noon-10 p.m., Saturday, July 28; $10 per person). The Woodstock fest will feature two music acts, Rob Schiff and Back to the Garden 1969 (3-9:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 18; $5 per person).
In July, the winery will a host a staging of Neil Simon's “The Odd Couple” performed by The Vineyard Comedy Players. (8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12-15; $10 per person) Info: 10 Sweet Clover Rd., Highland; 845-928-5384, www.palaiavineyards.com. Summer hours: Sunday-Friday: noon-6 p.m., Saturday: noon-10 p.m.
Robibero Family Vineyards in New Paltz: A boutique winery owned and operated by the Robibero family, this establishment prides itself on producing unique artisan wines. The vineyard has live music either on Saturday or Sunday every weekend from 2 to 5 p.m. and will host its second annual Sangria Festival on July 21-22. Visitors can sample a variety of sangria made from Robibero wines, and the event also will feature live music and activities for kids (11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, July 21-22; tickets are $10 in advance, $15 the day of the event). Info: 714 Albany Post Rd., New Paltz; 845-255-9463; www.rnewyorkwine.com. Summer hours: June: Thursday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; July-October: Thursday-Monday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Stoutridge Vineyards in Marlboro: Stoutridge calls itself a “gravity” winery because it uses the techniques of the slow-wine philosophy. It is also eco-friendly, using solar-generated electricity to power its winery and vineyards. Because the reds and whites produced here are unprocessed, they are imbued with “vineyard-oriented” flavors and are high in antioxidants. (10 Ann Kaley Lane, Marlboro; 845-236-7620; www.stoutridge.com. Summer hours: Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery in Warwick: This winery and distillery is nestled in the Hudson Valley foothills, offering a picturesque view of the surrounding countryside. Besides producing wine, Warwick Valley produces ciders and fruit brandies, including its internationally recognized Doc's Draft Hard Cider. The tasting room is open daily and on weekends and the Pane Bakery Café is open for lunch. Warwick has a free music series called “Uncorked & Unplugged In The Orchard,” featuring local musicians every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. The music series features a range of genres, from classic rock and folk to Americana and country. The winery will also stage three music festivals this summer: Watkins Glen Revisited on July 21, a tribute to the 1973 Watkins Glen lineup of The Band, The Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead; Black & Blues Weekend on Aug. 11-12, with Saturday featuring six blues acts and “Black” Sunday a tribute to Johnny Cash; and Deadfest, a tribute to the Grateful Dead, on Aug. 25-26. Info: 114 Little York Rd., Warwick; 845-258-4858; www.wvwinery.com. Summer hours: Daily: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery in Gardiner: This family-operated vineyard and winery specializes in the on-premise production of high-quality, artisanal wines. Whitecliff has one of the biggest vineyards in the Hudson River region, and its tasting room includes an expansive deck with panoramic views. The winery has two kinds of tastings: a Standard Tasting ($8.50 for 6 wines, reduced to $6.50 with the purchase of a bottle) and Crystal Tasting ($15 for 12 wines along with souvenir glass). On July 4, the winery's 13th anniversary, Whitecliff will host a “vertical” tasting, in which tastings of different vintages are offered side by side so visitors can experience how the wines age over time. Included in the tasting is the 2009 Riesling, which won the prestigious Best White in Show at the San Francisco International Wine Festival in 2010, and which can be sampled along with the 2010 and 2011 vintages. ($15) Info: 331 McKinstry Rd. Gardiner; www.whitecliffwine.com; 845-255-4613. Summer hours: Daily: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. except Saturday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.