Tucked away in Coxsackie, New York on Flint Mine Hill rests 5 year old Zweigelt vines grown by Hudson Valley Wine Magazine publishers Robert Bedford and Linda Pierro.  It all began as an experiment in 2008 and they teamed up with artisanal winemakers Paula Cereghino and Fred Smith of Cereghino Smith to produce Hudson Valley’s first Zweigelt.

The vineyard is located on the historic Flint Mine Hill Archeological District of Coxsackie.  The site is on the former flint quarry known as the “Great Algonquin Flint Mines. The rocky terrain provides great vineyard drainage and adds minerality to the soil.

The vines obtained from Double-A Vineyards were grafted onto Couderc 3309 rootstock.  Eighteen rows of Zweigelt vines were originally planted in April of 2008 with two additional rows planted this past April.

Why Zweigelt? It all began with a trip to Austria to track down long lost relatives. A few purchases of Zweigelt stashed in Bob’s suitcase and the love affair began.

Zweigelt coverage increased  48.9% between 1999 and 2009.  It is the most widespread red wine variety in Austria. Zweigelt is a cross between the St. Laurent and Blaufrankish grapes created by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt in 1922. The variety has high yields and grows well in colder climates. It buds late and ripens early which will in a perfect world, avoid spring frosts and early freezes.  The climate in the Hudson Valley resembles many of the regions that Zweigelt is planted in Austria, so why not give it a chance.  

Their first vintage in 2010 tasting notes:

Zweigelt Project Wine
Release 1.0:  2010 Vintage

 Vintage/Harvest: September 26, 2010
Varietal: 100% Zweigelt
Producer/Grower: Robert Bedford & Linda Pierro
Wine Maker:  Paula Cereghino & Fred Smith of Cereghino Smith
Region:  Coxsackie, Hudson Valley, NY
Vines: 3 years old
Soil: Decomposed Normanskill shale embedded with clay, cracked shale, chert and hornstone
Climate:  Microclimate produced by the Hudson River
Sugar: 20.6 brix
Grape treatment: Cold soaked, hand-sorted and de-stemmed by hand
Fermentation: Languedoc yeast added and fermented to 0 brix in 10 days
Aging: Racked 3 times and aged in glass with no oak for 9 months before bottling
Malolactic: No
Alcohol:  11.33%
Total acidity: .6 TA
Residual sugars: None

For more information on the Zweigelt Project visit www.zweigeltproject.com