Hudson-Chatham Winery celebrates 10 years!

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September 4, 2017 – 12:15 am

GHENT — The Hudson-Chatham Winery celebrated its 10th anniversary Sunday.

Guests to the winery’s tasting room in Ghent had the opportunity to taste vintage wines from 2007 and 2009 that the winery’s owners first put into bottles when they opened.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. The time has just flown by,” Hudson-Chatham Winery co-owner Dominique DeVito said.

There was to be a larger celebration with music by Side Show Willie, Mexican food, henna tattoos and other activities, but the festivities were postponed due to rainy weather on Sunday, DeVito said.

“I guess it worked out all right because it’s a rainy day and people need things to do,” DeVito said. “We’re glad that people have chosen to come here, even though the bigger event had to be postponed.”

The tasting on Sunday was well attended and DeVito said the attendance is typical for a holiday weekend. DeVito finds there’s an equal mix of people who know about the winery before they visit and others who discover it while traveling.

“Because we’ve been around 10 years and we were one of the first craft beverage businesses in Columbia County, people kind of know about us,” DeVito said.

DeVito and her husband Carlo, the business’ co-owner, have to coordinate with Side Show Willie to reschedule the celebration, possibly for Oct. 14, but nothing had been determined as of Sunday.

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“We are hoping to have them here at some point,” DeVito said of the band. “They’re a really, really, really fun dance band.”

The Hudson-Chatham Winery was the first winery to open in Columbia County and it took DeVito and her husband almost a year to find a site that was suitable to grow wine grapes.

“We targeted Columbia County because of Hudson, Amtrak, accessibility to Boston, just the proximity of everything that was going on,” DeVito said.

The couple bought the land on Route 66 in Ghent, started planting vines in 2006 and opened the tasting room in 2007. The winery has two other locations in Tannersville and Troy.

“We’re pretty proud to be part of an agricultural heritage here in Columbia County,” DeVito said. “I think we just kind of lucked out that we were the first one.”

Hybrid grapes grow on the winery’s vines because they can survive during cold winters and late frosts. DeVito praised J. Stephen Casscles, the business’ wine maker from when it first opened.

“He really helped us establish what was good to grow here,” DeVito said of Casscles. “[He’s] a very key guy to our operations.”

The Hudson-Chatham Winery owners are some of the founding members of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, which runs between New York and Massachusetts, along with the owners of Chatham Brewing and Harvest Spirits in Valatie.

“It was nice because you had a winery, a brewery and a distillery,” DeVito said of the founding members.

The beverage trail is an economic driver for the county, especially since there are more craft beverage makers in the county than when the winery first opened, DeVito said.

“That’s another really special thing,” DeVito said. “We were one of the first to start the whole craft beverage boom in Columbia County.”

The most exciting part of being in the business for DeVito is when customers tell her they’ve never had a New York state wine they’ve liked before coming to the winery.

“I love when they’ve tried our wines and they find something that they like,” DeVito said. “People come here and they have a good time and they’re just really excited about the wines.”

Joe Colantuono, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, enjoyed the order of the wines he tasted and ended up buying a bottle to take home.

“It kept getting stronger and more pungent,” Colantuono said of the wines. “It was a buildup.”

Val Rivera, of East Rutherford, had never been to the winery before and enjoyed the wine tasting because he got to try new varieties.

“You try things you wouldn’t normally,” Rivera said of the tasting. “I think it’s probably the best one [wine tasting] so far.”

John Man, of Manhattan, was not initially aware of the winery’s 10th anniversary but congratulated them on making it. He said the festivities originally planned for the day would have been exciting to see.

Man enjoyed the Merlot he sampled. He found out about the winery while surfing the Internet.

“It came up on a search as one of the better wineries,” Man said. “It’s pretty good.”

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email dzuckerman@thedailymail.net or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.