- Millbrook Vineyard & Winery
Wineries have seen steady growth across our region in the last decade. And while many offer an appealing blend of picturesque grounds, a taproom, and tasting events, the proof is in the pudding, err, wine. And as any vintner will tell you, it takes a long time to perfect the craft. It makes sense then that Chronogram readers gave the award for local wine to Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, which has almost four decades of experience making wine in the Hudson Valley.
“Millbrook is celebrating our 35th vintage in 2020 and we have had the same winemaker since the beginning—John Graziano,” explains its vice president and general manager, David Bova. “Over the years, we’ve developed a fantastic local following since our wines are finely crafted, balanced, and very easy to drink. All of our wines are dry and meant to be drunk by themselves or with lighter food dishes. John really knows how to make well-balanced wines; I think our customers have come to appreciate that very much.”
Set on a former dairy farm, Millbrook’s vineyards encompass 35 fertile acres, on which they grow their own grape varieties to produce 15,000 cases of wine each year—their most popular being Chardonnay, Tocai Friulano, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. “We believe that in good growing seasons, our Hudson Valley grapes outperform fruit from the Finger Lakes and Long Island, where we also buy [a portion of our grapes] from,” Bova says. “Our vineyard is not only beautiful, but also a wonderful site to grow grapes. The soils are deep and gravelly, well-drained, and perfectly situated for maximum sun exposure. There is a saying in the wine business: ‘Wines are made in the vineyard.’ You can’t make great wine out of crummy fruit. Also, the 35 years’ experience of John Graziano certainly helps a lot, as he has seen most everything Mother Nature can throw at him.”
As of this year, that includes a global pandemic. Due to the combination of factors, including closing their tasting room and restaurant for service, as well as postponing scheduled onsite events like weddings, Millbrook lost about 40 percent of its business this spring. But they plan to reopen to the public as phases allow, rescheduling events to later dates, and are confident they’ll continue on. If there was anything that was trending during quarantine, it was wine.
“We would like to thank all of our customers—retailers and restaurants, too—for all of the support they have given us over three-and-a-half decades,” Bova says. “We never thought we would be this successful, and we realize it’s all due to our great local customers who have supported our products for many years.”