The biddies finally record the New York episode that got lost from 2021. Tune in to learn about wine in New York state from the Finger Lakes to the Hudson Valley. The oldest operating winery in the United States is in New York, as well as the nation’s largest wine cave. New York is also home to cold-hardy hybrids!


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Wine Enthusiast, A Beginner’s Guide to Hybrid Grapes

The Grapevine Magazine, Here Come the Hybrids

Wine Folly, Say Hello to Cold-Climate Wines from Chambourcin to Vidal Blanc

The Society of Wine Educators, Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide

Wine Folly, Inside New York Wine Country

Hudson Valley Wine Growers Association, Hudson Heritage Wines

Brotherhood Winery, History

World Wine Tours, History of Wine in New York

Wine Searcher, Friulano Wine

Study Notes On New York Wine:

*Please note these are the literal notes we created to record the podcast and sections may be copied and pasted from our sources above.


  • Face more difficult viticultural conditions because of high summer humidity which encourages mold and disease
  • Also, potentially harsh winters depending on location


  • New York’s wine history is as old as the late 1600s when some of its earliest settlers planted grapes in several areas of the state. 
  • The first bonded winery ever licensed in the United States was in New York and it is also home to the oldest operating winery in the country today.
    • Brotherhood Winery: Founded in 1839 by a cobbler, it later adopted the name of censes a Utopian society and managed to stay open during Prohibition, made ‘champagne’ amongst other things
    • winery was established by a European emigre, John Jaques
    • In 1886 the winery changed hands. Mr. Jesse Emerson and his son expanded the facility, adding the “landmark” stone building with additional underground cellars that are the largest in the country
    • The Emerson family operated Brotherhood until Prohibition. In 1921, Louis Farrell purchased the winery and its large stock of sacramental wine. He sold wine for religious ceremonies throughout Prohibition, which was finally repealed in 1933
    • 1987, new owners arrived at Brotherhood. Cesar Baeza, an internationally prominent winemaker and viticulturist, began the process of converting Brotherhood into the premier winery of New York State. Winemaster Baeza’s first premium varietals were produced at the winery in the fall of 1987.
  • Historically, the focus was traditionally on Native American varieties such as Concord grapes. It was not until the late 1950s that Ukrainian-born Dr. Konstantin Frank began experimenting in earnest with higher-quality European vinifera grape stocks in the Finger Lakes region


  • Finger Lakes AVA
    • Includes sub regions of Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake
    • Largest wine producing region at 85% of NY production
    • Similar climate to Germany so Riesling and Cab Franc do well
    • Three main lakes of the region (Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka) help mitigate the region’s temperature
    • Only used to produce native or hybrid grapes
    • Dr. Konstantin Frank – responsible for introducing vitis vinifera in the early 1960s
      • He is a viticulturist from Ukraine originally
  • Long Island AVA – created as the regional AVA in 2001
    • First vines planted in 1973
    • Split into the North Fork of Long Island AVA (1986) and the Hamptons AVA (1985) on the south fork
    • Significantly influenced by water with Atlantic Ocean, Peconic Bay, and Long Island Sound
      • Known for Cab Franc, Merlot, SB, Chardonnay
      • Bordeaux style blends do better but produce some single varietal Merlot and Chardonnay
  • Hudson River AVA
    • Home to the oldest continuously operating winery in the US – the Brotherhood Winery established in 1839
    • Home to the oldest vineyard – Benmarl Vineyards
    • Heritage Red & White Wine:
      • Red – Noiret, Dechaunac
      • White – Seyval Blanc
      • Have to follow bylaws on how the heritage red and white wines are made and bottled
  • Lake Erie AVA
  • Niagara Escarpment AVA
    • Known for Riesling, Ice Wine, French American hybrids such as Chambourcin and Seyval Blanc
  • Champlain Valley of NY AVA
  • Upper Husdon AVA


  • Must be sourced from Hudson River Region AVA
  • Seyval: 70-85 percent
  • Rest can be any of Vidal, Vignoles, Cayuga, Traminette
  • Up to 2% residual sugar
  • No malolactic fermentation
  • No oak at all
  • Hock style bottle


  • All from Hudson River Region AVA
  • May be used
    • Noriet – 35-55%
    • Dechaunac – 35-55%
    • Other hybrid 20-30%
  • Oak aging allowed
  • Less that 1% residual sugar
  • Allows malolactic
  • Burgundy style bottle


  • Grow three different species – European vitis vinifera, American varieties (v. Labrusca and v. Rupestris) and hybrids
    • Labrusca – Concord, Catawba can be used in wine
      • Over 80% of vineyard land in NY is planted primarily for juice
      • Most harvests are predestined for sacramental wine or grape juice (Manischewitz of Welch’s)
      • NY is the leading producer of both


  • The cool climate solution to wine growing
  • Very disease resistant as well
  • Hybrid grapes are made by crossing European Vitis vinifera with American Vitis labrusca or Vitis riparia grapes and were originally cultivated in response to phylloxera
  • In North America, many were developed at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota and are grown in places like VT, MI, Canada, Finger Lakes of NY, NH, etc
  • In the beginning, most were used for bulk wine production giving the new grapes a poor reputation from the beginning
    • Also said to have intrusive or foxy flavors (foxy – 
  • Can be grown just about anywhere
    • Some can survive in temperatures as low as -30 F
    • Others can survive arid, brutally hot Arizona summers
  • CAYUGA GRAPE – developed at Cornell in 1945 and released for use in 1972
    • Appears in lot of sparkling wine
  • LA CRESCENT – named after a small town in Minnesota since it was developed by the University of Minnesota and released in 2002
  • SEYVAL BLANC – created by Bertille Seyve in France and is the most widely planted hybrid east of the Rocky Mountains
  • TRAMINETTE – released by Cornell University in 1996 and is a cross of Gewurtzraminer and the French American hybrid Joannes Seyv 23.416
    • Similar to Gewurtztraminer
  • VIDAL BLANC – developed in the 1930s by Jean Louis Vidal – a cross between Ugni Blanc and hybrid varietal Rayon d’Or
    • Can be found in a lot of ice wines
  • CHAMBOURCIN – a cross between Johannes Seyve 11369 and Plantet
    • Made by Joannes Seyve (son of Bertille)
    • Considered one of the best french-american hybrids
    • Can be found in the Loire and Nantes region of France as well
  • FRONTENAC – made from Landot Noir and a native Vitis riparia vine developed by the University of Minneosta
    • In 2003 a grey berried mutation called Frontenac Gris was released
  • MARECHEL FOCH – possesses more Burgundian characteristics and is one of the hardiest of the hybrids


  • Ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” in the Finger Lakes region
  • A professor of plant science who arrived in NY in 1951
  • He believed the lack of proper rootstock, not the cold climate was the reason Vitis vinifera had been failing 
  • Still in the family – the grandon Frederick Frank current runs the winery
  • 100 percent riesling from the Seneca and Keuka Vinyheards
  • 5 months lees aging, no ak, no malolactic fermentation


  • Established in 1982 on a former dairy farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery produces a range of high-quality wines that includes Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Tocai Friulano. 
  • A Millbrook native, John Dyson developed an appreciation for wine while attending Cornell’s College of Agriculture
  • Millbrook Vineyards & Winery was the first vineyard in the Hudson River Region of New York State dedicated exclusively to the production of vinifera grapes
  • produces between 10-15,000 cases of wine annually
  • Pinot Noir: 90 points, Wine Enthusiast
  • Tocai Friulano: Friulano (formerly Tocai Friulano, and also known as Sauvignonasse) is a grape variety most famous for its role in the white wines of Friuli, northeastern Italy. These wines, usually varietal, are lively and fruit-driven with notes of citrus and almond, and often a touch of minerality.
    • Ripens early