Set on a beautiful property that slopes down to the Hudson River, Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery’s new tasting room in Hudson will debut their latest grape growing site to the public. Slated to open June 11, the new tasting room sits in the shadow of Frederick Church’s historic home, Olana, and overlooks the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. A quick jaunt from the Hudson River Skywalk, it is an easy stop for tourists.
Aside from the sweeping views of the river and the Catskill mountains, which will be a big draw for visitors, it is the distinctive agricultural advantages of this Hudson location that drew Whitecliff co-founders Michael and Yancey Migliores. “It is a magnificent site for growing grapes, arguably one of the best in the Hudson Valley because of the exposure to the warming effects of the Hudson River,” Yancey says, adding that their original location at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge is colder than ideal for a vineyard.
Michael has been planting grapes at the 10-acre Hudson site since 2015. Currently, he is growing Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, and Gamay Noir. The new tasting room will feature wines made with grapes grown onsite as well as varietals from Whitecliff’s home vineyard in Gardiner.
The Hudson tasting room will be set in an agricultural building featuring polished concrete. Don’t expect the fanfare that has come to accompany many farm-based tasting rooms. “We've never been into the sort of music, pizza oven, party place,” Yancey says. “For us, it's all about a beautiful place to relax and discover some wine that deserves to be on your dinner table.”
The quality of Whitecliff wine has been demonstrated repeatedly in the awards the winery has won over their 22 years. In 2009, their Riesling won the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition for “Best White in Show,” beating 1,300 other white wines from 27 countries. In 2015, Michael Migliore was recognized by New York Wine and Grape Foundation as Grower of the Year. He was the first grape grower in the Hudson Valley to receive this award.
Despite Whitecliff’s success, Yancey describes a common hesitancy in New York around local wine. “People still are skeptical as to whether there's world-class wine being made in the Hudson Valley,” she says. She finds that it is a generational issue all over New York, but the couple is working to change this narrative.
Locals and tourists alike can try Whitecliff’s wine in Hudson for their grand opening on June 11. Along with Whitecliff’s wine, there will also be local cheese from McGrath Cheese Company and music provided by Michael Hollis, a local musician and former tasting room manager for Whitecliff.
Following the grand opening, the new tasting room will be open every Thursday through Sunday from 12pm to 5:30pm.