You can get Westchester-made cheese from Bedford, Westchester-ground wheat from Sleepy Hollow, Westchester-roasted coffee from Yonkers. Soon, you’ll be able to get Westchester-made wine from Yorktown.
With the recent vineyard installation at Hilltop Hanover Farm, it seems we’re well on our way to becoming a veritable county-wide Dean & DeLuca. In May, three grape varieties were planted on four acres at the county-owned Farm—cabernet franc, noiret (a pinot noir hybrid) and seyval blanc— with the first harvest due in 2009. The grapes will be trucked to the new full-service winery at nearby St. George’s Church, the century-old stone landmark that has recently been restored.
Though the Yorktown appellation won’t make its debut for two years, other New York State grapes will fill in when the new winery opens for business in August.
The vineyard project is an initiative of the county’s Conservation and Natural Resource Center, which is headquartered at Hilltop Hanover Farm. The project’s mission is, says vineyard manager Tina McKissick, “ to advance environmentally sound organic agriculture, sustain open land initiatives and promote community education.” To that end, the wines will be organically produced, with public harvesting and crushing events envisioned.
This autumn, the St. George’s winery will begin scheduling public tours and tastings, and several vineyard fund-raising events are in the works. One, a Sponsor a Vine program, will enable individuals and organizations to sponsor and name their very own grape plant. Now what gourmet market can match that?!