Torney valley vineyards is located in the Hudson Valley AVA in Hillburn. It is the first full functioning Vineyard in Rockland County. It is located in a estate built in 1875. Through out the years, the estate itself has served many functions until bought by the two brothers Jon and Stephen France, who now own the 15 acre property, about a decade ago. One of the brothers being a landscaper re modeled the land into the beauty that it is today. Beautiful green fields surround the estate with great stone paths and a gorgeous water fountain right out front. The Gothic style estate is intricate in design and its scenery allows it to be a breath taking image, specially on a sunny day, like the one I visited the site on.
When I entered the estate to sign in, I had the pleasure of speaking with both of the wives of the brothers. Kim was able to answer all basic question is regards to their vineyards and winery. However, when the rest of the staff learned about my reasoning and extensive questions, they were also able to chine in and answer which I found fascinating. Every employee there knew extensive information about the winery and how it functions.
When I decided to to visit this vineyard. I did not know that they planted their vines a mere year ago. I was looking to walk through extensive fields of vines, but was welcome with very young vines. However, I was not disappointed. I was able to ask questions revolving around the process of starting a vineyard and their difficulties and troubles they encountered. One of them being as to where to place and plant the grapes. They had tried to jump start their vine growing earlier before, however the deer and other animals had destroyed their plantings. They had to come up with other locations and tactful ideas as to where to pa
The vineyard currently grows four different grape varietals. They are Seyval Blanc(white), Noirte(red), Vidal Blanc(white), and Marquette(red). Honestly speaking, there were grapes that I had yet to encounter or heard about. A per Kim, these grapes were chosen because of their quality to do well in the fairly cool climate that surrounded the region. After my visit I was able to find out the Seyval blanc is actually a hybrid grape. They decided on this grape because of its special ability to ripen early. Vidal blanc is also a hybrid grape and blends of this grape can be fruity and can exhibit notes of pineapple. I was told that this grape has high acidity and sugar potential and its hard outer skin is great for creating ice wine. Noiret, is a very special grape hybrid because it’s aromas differentiate from other of its kind. It has notes of green and black pepper as well as mint aromas. Marquette, hybrid, is a grape that has a very good resistance to the many things that can damage grapes; some being black rot and downy mildew. It can exhibit aromas of cherry and black pepper and supposedly is at a very high demand with very short supply being grown. After hearing about the grapes they decided to grow, I realized that they are all grapes that can greatly benefit the winery due to their abilities to easily grow, cultivate, and manage in the winery.
Grapes are being grown all through out the 15 acres of land. I had asked why they decided to place certain grapes in the hill slants, which were very steep to walk through. They said that it was because of the better sunlight that there grapes were receiving and also because of the way the cold winds travel down the hill, certain grapes that are more tender to the cold are spared the weather.
As far as their vinicultural practices, it was interesting to find out that they actually were very old style in their methods. They do not have heavy machinery that does all the work for them, they do everything by hand. The grapes will be hand picked, they do hand smashing with some type of hand operated device. They did say that they did all their aging by stainless steel and not oak. They will be having a grape smashing event, not sure where; but people will be able to participate in the stomping of the grapes, old style! Their winery is located in the cellar of the estate and some other building somewhere in the land that I was not able to see. I tried to get someone to show me around down there but had no luck. Currently, since they do not have mature enough wines, the vineyard is outsourcing their grapes from the fingerling lakes and Long Island vineyards.
The estate is opened to the public on weekends where they do wine tastings, serve a simple lunch, and have a live singer town singer. The wine tasting was 5 wines for $6 dollars. They was a very knowledgeable individual, sister of one of the brother, providing stories of the state as well as knowledge on the different wines that were being tasted. The wine options were as follows.
Sweet Summer time(white-semi sweet)- This is one of their signature wines. It is a blend of cayuga, vidal blanc, and vignoles. I was able to get some very fruity notes from the wine with a bit of citrus
Kimmie’s Crush(red-semi dry)- their second very popular signature wine. This wine is a classic Bordeaux style. It is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. It exhibited flavors of plum, blueberries, warm spice, and vanilla.
Riesling- It was very crisp and had very subtle notes of maybe apple and honey. She stated peach, however I was not able to pick that up.
Seyval Blanc- She said that it is sometimes called the”east coast chardonnay. It is a hybrid grape that grows wells in climates where there is a very short growing season. It is a very popular summertime wine its clean and crisp taste allows this wine to probably go great with light salads or shellfish.
Cabernet Franc- I was able to pick up some raspberry and violet notes. The sister stated that it is a much sweeter wine that its cousin cabernet souvignon, and it is a more mellow alternative which can go great with pasta with red sauces and beef.
What I found very interesting was that there were actually tenants living in the estate and in different houses through out the acres of land! It is such a beautiful view to wake up to in the morning. I had a great time at the vineyard and hopefully I get to visit them when they have matured vines! The staff is all very friendly and I enjoyed the live singer singing “hey there delilah!”