Looking to do a day trip out of the city this summer, but not sure where to go?
I’m not much of an oenophile, but to me, nothing beats doing a few wine tastings at picturesque vineyards on a warm summer day. Over the years, I’ve gone on several excursions to the various vineyards that dot the gorgeous Hudson Valley region. Culled from years of alcoholism, here’s an itinerary of my three favorites. Rent a ZipCar, designate a driver, and clear those palates!
WINE TASTING IN THE HUDSON VALLEY
Destination #1: Warwick Valley Winery – 114 Little York Rd, Warwick, NY
Part of the reason to start with this particular winery is because of the route. After fighting your way out of the city via the GW Bridge, you can literally watch all vestiges of urbanization slowly fade away as the landscape is replaced by forests, lakes, fields and farms.
Nestled in the foothills of the Hudson Valley, the first stop is the extremely photogenic Warwick Valley Winery, hidden down a dirt road. In addition to wines, Warwick Valley also offers ciders and gin.
For $5, you can sample six different wines in their rustic tasting room (and you get to keep the glass). There’s also an eatery on site, which reportedly has some fantastic food options.
But what really makes the Warwick Winery fun is the enormous lawn out front. Bring a blanket, buy a bottle of wine, and let your city stress drift away with the passing Hudson Valley breeze.
Optional Nearby Diversion! Scenic Farms Driving Range – 525 Glenwood Rd, Pine Island, NY
Want to relive the movie Sideways and add some golfing to your wine tasting? The Scenic Farms Golf Range is just five minutes down the road from Warwick, and totally worth a quick stop. I’m a terrible golfer, but I guarantee – after the wine tasting, you really won’t care.
Destination #2 – Whitecliff Vineyard – 331 Mckinstry Rd, Gardiner, NY 12525
It’s time to head north to our next destination, the Whitecliff Vineyard. It’s a bit of a drive – about 45 minutes – but you’re on a roadtrip, dammit! Roll down the windows, hang your feet out, and enjoy the view as you pass through the countryside. Remember: if you see something that looks interesting or fun, pull over! Seriously, this is why most vacation stories involve things that were never on your itinerary to begin with.
Goshen, NY – Photo by Adam Elmquist
Now that you’ve arrived at Whitecliff…
One of the largest vineyards in the Hudson Valley, Whitecliff offers a basic tasting of six wines for $8. They also do a number of special pairing events, and on the day we went, they had a wine-and-cheese pairing that was totally worth the extra money.
Optional Nearby Diversion! Tuthilltown Spirits, 14 Gristmill Ln, Gardiner, NY 12525
If you’d like a break from grapes, why not stop at nearby Tuthilltown Spirits (makers of Hudson Whiskey) for a tasting? The first whiskey distillery in New York state since prohibition, $10 will get you a sampling of one whiskey, one gin, and one vodka. You can also sign up for a tour of the distillery (advance reservations required).
Optional Nearby Diversion #2! Tuthill House at the Mill – 20 Gristmill Ln, Gardiner, NY 12525
Assuming you’re starving at this point, there’s also a fantastic restaurant across the street called the Tuthill House at the Mill. A great place to have lunch.
Destination #3 – Benmarl Winery – 156 Highland Ave, Marlboro, NY 12542
The final stop on our tour is said to be the oldest winery in the United States (I have a feeling you might have to fight some contentious oenophiles on this, though it does officially hold New York Farm Winery License #1). Covering a 37-acre estate overlooking the Hudson, stop into the tasting room for an $8 selection of six wines…
…then grab a bottle and head out back to take in the spectacular view of the Hudson.
Even better if you happen to catch it at magic hour:
Optional Nearby Diversion! The Poughkeepsie-Highland Footbridge
About 20 minutes north from the Benmarl Winery is the Poughkeepsie-Highland Footbridge, the longest footbridge in the world. Originally built as a double track railroad bridge, it opened in 2009 as a pedestrian walkway in 2009.
With a total length of 6,768 feet, it’s a great way to walk off all that alcohol you’ve been drinking while taking in the amazing views…
Then, it’s time to head back to your car and return to reality.
If you were to do the entire three winery itinerary, your journey would look like this:
Though honestly, you could probably just pick one or two and be happy. Here’s the full rundown. BE SURE to check the individual winery websites for specific directions (many of these are down obscure dirt roads), special events (do you want to go when live music is playing?), and hours/pricing (most close by 5 or 6pm).
Destination 1: Warwick Valley Winery – 114 Little York Rd, Warwick, NY
- Nearby diversion: Scenic Farms Driving Range – 525 Glenwood Rd, Pine Island, NY
Destination 2: Whitecliff Vineyard – 331 Mckinstry Rd, Gardiner, NY 12525
- Nearby diversion: Tuthilltown Spirits, 14 Gristmill Ln, Gardiner, NY 12525
- Nearby diversion: Tuthill House at the Mill Restaurant – 20 Gristmill Ln, Gardiner, NY 12525
Destination 3: Benmarl Winery – 156 Highland Ave, Marlboro, NY 12542
- Nearby diversion: Poughkeepsie-Highland Footbridge – Haviland Road – Highland, NY
Finally, be sure to stop for ice cream on the way home at one of the many stands dotting Route 9W (an impromptu game of minigolf might also be in order).
Related: Roadtrip Pennsylvania!
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