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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Area wineries help to educate the palate


Area wineries help to educate the palate

As the summer days shorten and the nights cool, thoughts turn to fall: crisp apples and ripening gra
Area wineries help to educate the palate
Michael DiCrescenzo tends the grapevines at Altamont Vineyard and Winery.

As the summer days shorten and the nights cool, thoughts turn to fall: crisp apples and ripening grapes.

Might be time for a vineyard tour.

There are several in the area that offer not only tastings, but great scenery as well.

Altamont Vineyard and Winery sports rows of bright green grapevines, meandering skyward. On an August day, the Helderberg Escarpment is a hazy blue in the distance. There’s no sound except for the breeze.

The scenic winery is among a growing number in the area that invite the public to learn about wine and sample their wares. Here’s a small sampling:

• Altamont Vineyard and Winery, Altamont

Louis and Michael DiCrescenzo, a father-son team, have been producing wine since 2008. Louis, who grew up on a farm in Italy, taught his son the craft.

“The philosophy of the wine-making is much like cooking, where we try to start with the best ingredients possible,” explained Michael DiCrescenzo.

Visitors can take a walking tour of the vineyard, learn how the grapes are grown and tended and see how the wine is made.

Weddings and other special events are held on-site, and there are tastings Friday through Sunday.

• Johnston’s Winery, Galway

Grapes aren’t the only thing that can be made into great wine, and Johnston’s Winery capitalizes on that concept. Raspberries and blueberries grow right along with the Concord grapes at the winery.

In addition to blueberry wine and raspberry Grenache, the winery produces strawberry wine, along with grape-based Concord, Pinot noir and Chardonnay. New for 2014 is a cranberry wine, which owner Kurt Johnston described as smooth and sweet.

The winery, which has been in business for 20 years, also sells jams and jellies, home wine-making supplies and beer-making kits.

Tours and tastings are held Wednesday through Sunday.

• Oliva Vineyards, Fort Edward

Tony and Debreen Oliva tend thoroughbred horses and grape vines on a 150-acre farm overlooking the Hudson River.

The wines produced at the two-year-old vineyard are made from a combination of Frontenac and Frontenac gris grapes grown on-site and other grape varieties brought in from the Finger Lakes and Long Island. As the vines on the farm mature, fewer grapes will be brought in from other growers.

“This year, we should have grapes from our Frontenac to make a really nice red on our own,” said Tony Oliva.

The tasting room is in a converted farmhouse. Out front is a screened porch and a deck facing the river.

On Friday and Saturday nights, a live band plays, and during Wine Down events, food and local craft beers are offered.

• Adirondack Winery, Lake George

Things are in full swing during August at Adirondack Winery, where the doors are open 12 hours daily.

The 6-year-old business produces its wines in Queensbury but offers tastings in downtown Lake George.

Grapes are sourced from different regions to make more than 35 types of wine, ranging from dry to dessert varieties. New this year is a limited edition raspberry Pinot noir.

A portion of the proceeds from each bottle is donated to a local charity.

On hot days, visitors can sample a wine slushy. Gourmet cheese plates are offered, as well.

Have a favorite summer activity? Let us know about it. Share your ideas for Summer Days at or

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