Monday, January 24, 2011

Skiing Through The Vineyard

Bombarded with snow and frozen by falling temperatures, where can a wine drinker turn for relief? To their favorite Hudson Valley Winery of course! Where else can you grab a bottle of wine and build a snowman, sip mulled wine and head out to cross country ski through the vineyard afterwards? Only at Millbrook Winery!

Winter at our winery does not mean doors closed, it means doors flung open. We have something to offer our guests year round.

Come up and have some fun with us. For the perfect snowy day, here's our mulled wine recipe that was shared with visitors last weekend. Enjoy!

Millbrook Mulled Wine


8 whole cloves
4 whole black peppercorns
4 3x1/2" strips fresh lemon zest
4 4x1/2" strips fresh orange zest
4 C Millbrook Hunt Country Red
1/2 C Kirsch or other cherry flavored brandy
1 1/2 C water
1/2 to 3/4 C honey
1 3" cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean halved lengthwise
4" square cheesecloth & kitchen twine


Place cloves, peppercorns and zest in the center of cheesecloth, gather ends and tie to form a pouch. Combine the Hunt Country Red, cherry brandy, water, honey, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean in a 4 quart saucepan. Add spice pouch to saucepan and bring mixture to boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ready To Share Some Holiday Cheer

Did you see the little white flakes drifting through the air on Monday, November 8th? We here at the winery witnessed SNOW falling, winds howling out of the north, and a definite chill in the air!. It is hard to believe the harvest is behind us, but with the change in seasons the attention shiftes from the vineyard to the cellars, the tasting room, and our upcoming holiday events.
Getting ready for the holiday season is always a fun affair. We enjoy decorating, baking and all the other events that signify the beginning of the “season”.

What a November we have planned for our visitors. This month brings a unique and first ever opportunity to sample wines that have never been on our tasting before. Our first annual, Grand Portfolio Tasting will take place two days, Saturday, November 20th and Sunday, November 21st You are invited to visit our charming cellars where several stations will be set up with wines from our entire portfolio. Our knowledgeable staff will taste your through dozens of never before tasted wines. Meet our winemaker and his staff as you sample cheeses, olive oil and artisanal breads. Perhaps a barrel of wine will end up being sampled, you just never know! Complete your experience by visiting our holiday decorated, inviting gift shop where you will be able to select wines for custom labeling while you wait.. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, our CIA trained staff are ready and waiting to help you select just the right wine to compliment your meal.

If you are looking for something to do with your out of town guests on Thanksgiving weekend, why not bring them to our Holiday Open House!. Friday through Sunday, November 26th-November 28th, from 12-5 p.m., join us for a festive wine tasting and the opportunity to select just the right gift in a stress free, warm atmosphere. Our tasting room is aglow with holiday spirit, our gifts are unique and we promise no Mall pumped in music. Listen to the strings of a LIVE guitar, sample some great Stonewall products, and kick back. The crowds will be at the Mall but you will be here enjoying Pinot Noir!
I look forward to seeing you all soon , I would like to personally wish you all a wonderful, joyous, holiday season.. .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Love Harvest

I love Harvest season because it happens to come in autumn which is my favorite season of the year! Boy is the winery buzzing with activity! The grapes are plumping up daily to their maximum sugar/acid ratios due to this years phenomenal growing season! As the grapes grow, so does our ever increasing guest visits.

If ever there was a time to come out and enjoy nature’s bounty, it is now! For those of you who have never visited the Hudson Valley, and in particular, Millbrook Vineyard & Winery “what are you waiting for?” There is nothing more beautiful than the views from our vineyards. Bring a camera, a blanket, a warm and fuzzy sweater, the kids, the dogs and your loved ones or best friends.

Plan to spend the day partaking of one of our interesting and informative tours followed by a tasting of our great wines. Pick up your favorite bottle of wine, (we’ll pop the cork,) Throw down the blanket in the vineyard and break out the picnic basket. Watch the workers in the vineyards as they bring in the harvest, visit the crush pad to see all the action. Seriously, have you ever seen grapes harvested? No you won’t see Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes but I can assure you the thrill is there as we turn those bursting little beauties into the necter of the Gods (Bacchus.)

Just in case this all sounds too rustic, there are still tickets available to our Annual Harvest Party which is October 9th right here at the Vineyard. This year we celebrate all things Hudson Valley, From the chefs to the food to the wine, bask in the best of what the valley provides for our table.

While you are here, get a jump start on your holiday shopping by stopping by the gift shop. I promise you, you will not find such great holiday wine related gear in all of the Hudson Valley. We have the coolest carafes, glasses, wine ornaments, and sooooo much more. Don’t believe me, come see for yourself. Please take a moment to say Hi. I’ll be looking for you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Day in My Shoes

“What do you do?” asks a friend.

“I clean, while getting dirty and covered in wine,” I reply.

Wine is such a clean, high end product to be enjoyed out of spotless glasses with no influence of distracting smells. Yet, if many people could see how much work goes into creating that crystal clear ‘juice of the gods’ they would be amazed. Many people know the idea of wine making but so much is kept a secret. For those that may not know the basic steps, of wine making, please read below.

The grapes: Highest quality when possible.
Harvesting and destemming: Gentle hand harvesting when possible.
Crushing and primary fermentation: The best crushing is gentle, insuring very little of the harsh acids contained in the seeds pass into the ending juice. Primary fermentation starts with cultured yeast grown on a slant. (Natural fermentation for those who dare to be different.)
Cold and heat stabilization: People often question why deposits and hazes form in certain wines and not in others. Depending on how or if these processes are used the wine will or will not have a haziness in the finished product.
Secondary fermentation and bulk aging: Aging helps make the wine more palatable.
Malolactic fermentation: For non-aromatic white varieties like chardonnay, and most red wines secondary bacteria fermentation can benefit the end product. This affects the mouth feel, oak sensation, creaminess and weight of the wine.
Laboratory tests: In order to be sure your wine is stable, finished fermenting, or checking various levels of acids and alcohols: V.A., T.A., and SO2 and Ethanol.
Blending and fining: After results have been made, the winemakers’ skill of showcasing the fruit begins. Finings used can also affect that mouth feel, aromatics, and finish of a wine. Ingredients include anything from gelatin, and bulls blood, to Isinglass. (the air sac of a Sturgeon fish)
Preservatives: Natural byproducts of wine making are sulfites. Additional SO2 is usually used as a preservative, to ensure a shelf safe product.
Filtration: One of the last steps prior to bottling wine. Used to clarify wine, and reduce sediments.
Bottling: A step away from the glass. (If you saw the movie Bottle Shock it’s not like that!)
So my day starts with set up at 8:30 am. Laying down hose lines and setting up pumps are usually the first steps. Next is climbing in tanks and scrubbing with different chemicals to ensure they are fit to store wine. Then, I use lots and lots of water. After they are done dripping and all the water is drained we are ready for racking. (I sometimes feel like Mike Rowe climbing out of a 120-degree tank-dripping wet.)
Racking: A term for moving wine from one vessel to another. We do this usually three to four times per wine per year. Sometimes we rack wines away from the lees, sometimes we rack to clean the barrels, and other times we rack to filter the wines prior to bottling, or even to aerate the wine. Every time a wine moves from one place to another, we clean. Every time we bottle, we clean. Every time we do anything, we clean. Many think that everything is sterile that touches the wine, and for the most part it is. But I’ll be the first to tell you that bees, earwigs and even spiders often find themselves into the wine. But, as I’ve said, we clean. (All filtered out…refer to filtration step above) So even though this is just glorified grape juice, realize why you drink that juice out of those spotless clean glasses.

by, Tim Welly- Millbrook Cellar Master

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wine and Food Seminars at Millbrook

Here at the winery we have always prided ourselves in educating our customers. Our tours are extremely interactive and every year we add new components of wine information.

This year we have introduced a class/tasting entitled "Wine and Food Pairings Seminars." This month we hosted the first class and we have two more scheduled for August 14 and September 11. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), I have thoroughly enjoyed planning the seminars with the assistance of Steven Kolpan and Michael Weiss. Both are renowned CIA wine instructors.

Our first seminar featured grilled foods paired with Millbrook and a nice selection of other wines. The classroom setting overlooking the vineyard, and Steven's presentation provided a lively discussion and tasting for 2 hours. Some of the topics were sensory awareness, food and wine interactions, matching wine with food textures and cooking preparations. Steven discussed with the group how to prepare types of food with the wine you are drinking. Despite the excellent wines and food, the hot topic of discussion was screw top vs. cork wine bottle closures!!!! It was an animated dialogue. Please visit us to learn more and sign up for the next seminars. They are already filling up.
Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Head Out To The Winery This Summer

Although the heat is breaking records this summer, the tasting room and cellars at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery are as cool as it gets!

Recently I have had the opportunity to head out of the tasting room and pour our wine at the Westchester Farm Markets which we participate in from early summer to early autumn. What a great opportunity to meet folks who may/may not know about our vineyards and winery. I especially loved pouring our Tocai Fruilano which was kept nice and chilled on ice! Everyones faces lit up as they enjoyed the crisp, clean acidity of our Tocai.

We here at Millbrook LOVE NY but we also LOVE TOCAI. Tocai to me is summer in a glass. If you have tasted Millbrook’s Tocai, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t I want to invite you to pack a picnic, jump in the car and head on up to the vineyard.

This past spring we upgraded our picnic area and added a larger tent, some great new, picnic tables and positioned the tent to take full advantage of a beautiful view of one of our four ponds, our Castle Hill vineyard and the lanquid vistas our property has to offer. It just so happens that this area seems to catch the breezes that Millbrook is blessed with as well.

Whether you are seeking tranquility or looking to expand your wine knowledge, we can accommodate you. Our tours are informative and our tasting room guides are fun! Our wine tasting covers a variety of styles and tastes. I haven’t even mentioned the current art display in our centuries old barn loft or our incredible gifts for sale in our shop.

So, stop by and pick up a bottle of Tocai and purchase a set of our newly arrived, recycled wine bottle wine glasses, a gift as unique as our Tocai and as beautiful as our vineyard.

by, Barbara Best

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Season Begins at the Winery

The weather is warming up, the vineyard is green and lush and the Millbrook tasting room is bustling!
We have officially “kicked off” the season with Memorial Day now in the recent past. The hours for the tasting room have been expanded with an 11 a.m. daily opening and a 6 p.m. closing. Come by during the week and discover how wonderful it is to visit the winery during the week when things are a little more laid back, quiet and relaxed.
Speaking of the tasting room, our team has made some great changes which we hope will enhance your visit. We have expanded the main level tasting room bars to accommodate larger groups. Don’t forget to take time for browsing around the revamped gift shop! Everyday new and unique items are arriving and being stocked... Of course no visit is complete without purchasing some of our award winning, and delicious wines to take home or enjoy right here while lazing the day away down by the ponds.

I can’t help but get excited to have met so many people from all over the world. Not only have we had many people visit from Europe and every state in the Union, but more and more folks are coming by who live within a 70 mile radius. Perhaps Millbrook’s exposure at Farm Markets in Westchester and Brooklyn, N.Y. is helping to spread the word about our world class wine and bucolic country estate. Of course don’t take my word for it, stop by or better yet, attend one of our many events this season. You still may purchase tickets for our first ever Summer Solstice Lobster Bake in the Vineyard. I can’t imagine eating Lobster in a more beautiful setting. If Lobster and Chardonnay is not your “thing”, consider signing up for one of our Wine & Food Pairing seminars led by CIA Wine Instructors Steven Kolpan and Michael Weiss. As the months go by we have many more events taking place. Can you believe your luck? A world class winery right here in Millbrook, New York. Visit us and see why “I Drink N.Y.” -Barbara Best