In the fall, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Michael Migliore, owner of Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery, at their Olana Vineyard in Hudson, NY. This is a 10-acre site just over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on the Hudson side, in the shadows of the Olana Estate and on the banks of the Hudson River.

Michael established and started farming this land in 2015 with Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyard is situated on land with a long agricultural history dating back to indigenous peoples who inhabited the area over 3,000 years ago. Artifacts like arrowheads and a 4-foot-long mortar pistol for grinding corn have been uncovered on the property.

In the 19th century, the land was primarily used to grow Concord grapes, which were shipped to major cities along the East Coast. After Prohibition, it transitioned to apples and cherries before Michael brought grape growing back to the site. Some legacy cherry and apple trees still remain scattered throughout the property.

On our tour, we tasted grapes right off the vine just before harvest. We check the seeds for maturity and flavor.

Listen to the podcast, and you will receive a lesson in history dating back to the Mohegans who inhabited the property, to Frederick Church, who built Olana in the 1870’s and the town of Greendale (which doesn’t exist today) to present-day grape growing and vineyard management.

It is an inspiring podcast for the history buff and wine geek. I hope you enjoy it.