The Hudson Valley is a wine lover’s paradise, and some of the most praised New York vinos are produced at wineries across this bountiful region. Visiting vintners for a sampling of their latest releases and rarest vintages is always a pleasant experience. Of course, even the most memorable tastings are elevated with a view.
These local vineyards boast gorgeous outdoor seating for small bites and big glasses. Soak in the sun, marvel at summer greenery and (later) fall foliage, and gaze out at rows and rows of vinifera at seven open-air wine destinations.
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Applewood Winery sits on a gorgeous, 40-acre apple orchard. A visit to Orange County’s oldest farm yields a few things: wonderfully crafted wines, crisp Naked Flock ciders, and terrific Hudson Valley views. There are several spots around the property to enjoy the fresh air and delicious wood-fired pizza. Tables at the outdoor pavilion seat up to twelve and host wine tastings and beverages by the glass. However, the ultimate experience at Applewood Winery sits down by the lake. Reserve private wine cabanas for an intimate date or a lively day out for up to 10 people, with the option of combining cabanas for up to 20 people. Order off a full bar and café menu for two luxurious hours. Delightfully seasonal wines at Applewood include the sweet yet tart “Blackberry,” the bright and peachy “Summer Fields,” and the floral blend “Traminette.”
Benmarl Winery lays claim to being the oldest vineyard in America, and it’s certainly one of the prettiest in the Hudson Valley. Its 37-acre estate has roots dating back to the 1700s, when the Huguenots first came to the region. Benmarl’s true draw is its incredible hilltop. Oenophiles seeking panoramic views must pay this Ulster County institution a visit. Perhaps the most Instagrammable spot west of the Hudson, Benmarl’s wooden arbor frames the vineyard’s breathtaking landscape perfectly. Nearly two dozen unique wines are produced onsite, and the wood-fired pizza provides tasty pairings. Be sure to see if the winery is offering pizza before you go, as it is not available year-round. For sunny days, the estate Seyval Blanc brings notes of bright lemon blossom, green apple, and chamomile tea. Reservations can be made online for tables that overlook the lush valley below.
The word “city” is a misnomer for this Montgomery Mills site. The first non-urban setting for the esteemed winery chain, City Winery Hudson Valley boasts glorious views of the Wallkill River. Visitor to the Orange County destination can sip more than a dozen vinos outside. The former knitting factory’s spaces ooze atmosphere and, though The Barrel Room restaurant is the perfect place for a cozy meal in the wintertime, summer months are all about the patios. Two separate outdoor dining areas showcase the magnificence of this historic property and the river’s beauty. String lights, heat lamps, and outdoor fireplaces keep things comfortable once the sun goes down.
Plus, the outdoor amphitheater hosts a “Concerts in the Vineyard” series throughout the season. For the 2023 summer season, be sure to check out the various artists performing from July 1 to August 30. Grab a glass of the winery’s “Rose Is a Rose,” a perfect drink for the summer with notes of strawberries and raspberries or, for a darker flavor, try “Spring St,” a pinot noir with aromas of baking spice and smoked pork.
Located atop a hillside in Dutchess County, Milea Estate Vineyards packs a punch with unbelievable views and unique connections to traditional winemaking. Joining a burgeoning group of bucolic beverage destinations in Staatsburg, Milea governs a massive 102-acre estate. Arrive during the changing of the seasons for incredible vistas of vibrant colors. Reserve a table out on the patio for stellar open-air wine tastings. For warm days, the Reserve Chardonnay and rosé bring plenty of bright tasting notes and gorgeous color. Reserve your table online for a guaranteed spot at this haven for Dutchess County wine lovers.
If you’re a connoisseur of Hudson Valley wines, chances are you’ve explored the iconic Millbrook Winery. Visitors to one of the region’s main tourist attractions enjoy exploring the 130 acres of rolling hills and Catskill Mountain views. Though the Dutchess destination serves a myriad of award-winning wines, the Tocai Friuliano is a must-try. Guests can relax at the vineyard terrace or take a bottle to a pristine picnicking spot on the property. Shimmering bodies of water and 30 acres of French vines provide perfect visual accoutrements to the delectable New York wines. Check the website for scheduling winery tours and visiting during food truck weekends.
Milton’s Nostrano Vineyards was established in 2010 on a four-generation family farm. It is one of the newer additions to the Hudson Valley wine scene and quietly has one of the most unique and enjoyable views in the region. Frequently a venue for smaller weddings, Nostrano features a large barn with outdoor seating and a hilltop taproom with a rustic-lodge-meets-SoHo-wine-bar aesthetic. Live music from talented local musicians completes a picture-perfect weekend hang. Like many New York wine producers, Nostrano’s specialty is the world of Riesling. It also happens to have refreshing and fruity frosés to keep guests cool on even the most scorching summer days.
More than just a destination for wine, the sprawling grounds at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery offer a spectrum of delights to discover. Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider is one of the region’s most popular craft beverages, and the Gin Pig is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Enjoy any of the wines, ciders, and spirits outside at the café or in prime picnic spots. One of Warwick Valley’s biggest draws is its live music series. A large stage wedged in between two majestic mountains accommodates larger acts, while bands play on outdoor bluestone patios surrounded by rose gardens on a regular basis. Check the website for a full schedule.