Visit to Torne Valley Vineyards


Torne Valley Vineyars 1 Torne Brook RD Hillburn, NY 100931

Torne Valley Vineyars
1 Torne Brook RD
Hillburn, NY 100931

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.

Gothic Style with 4 floors including the cellar

Gothic Style with 4 floors including the cellar

Right in front of the estate. With its beautifully landscaped paths and vibrant green bushes.

Right in front of the estate. With its beautifully landscaped paths and vibrant green bushes.

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.

Thanks to my amazing camera I was able to get this beautiful picture of what I believe to be a bud break. I am not sure which grape varietal it is since I did not have a guide walking me through the fields

Thanks to my amazing camera I was able to get this beautiful picture of what I believe to be a bud break. I am not sure which grape varietal it is since I did not have a guide walking me through the fields.

Bud Break- Even Clearer Picture
Bud Break- Even Clearer Picture





Vines being grown in a hill slant.

Vines being grown in a hill slant.

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.

It was great being able to get so up close and personal with the vines. I was able to see the cordons and the canes.

It was great being able to get so up close and personal with the vines. I was able to see the cordons and the canes.

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.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Wine available for purchase.

Wine available for purchase.

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!”

Live SInger!

Live SInger!

Retail Wine Shop- Prospect Wine Shop

When I cam across this wine shop, I was really interested in walking in and seeing what their concept was about because of how they showcased their primary window.


It is decorated in an April Easter theme with not one wine in the window. With little bunnies, a goose, and some yellow and white tulips. Just the fact that they didn’t try to showcase their best wine show that they aren’t taking compensation from companies to showcase their wine on their window. It makes me feel like this wine shop is putting more of themselves into their image. The lac of excessive bottles on the outside, gives you an image into the warm yellow lighting of the inside. There was also a board on the outside that had a quote on it…


It made me feel like the owner or manager of this specific wine shop is a very spiritual person and views wine as something more than just making money of off it. Going into this wine shop I expected a very relaxed and calm feel to the inside.

When I walked into the wine shop, it wasn’t a huge space but it had an extensive collection of different wines. I wanted to start looking around on my own before actually speaking with one of the sales associates. The area was set up by the region that the wines were from. In the front of the store to the left, in a easily accessible areas, close to the check out counter, were the American whites and reds, to Italians Wines. Then it proceeded to the French Wine section. They have a section for Bordeaux, Loire Reds and Loire Whites, and Burgundy. I noticed that some of the wines were laid out on their backs and others were simply standing up. I asked the sales associate if there is a specific reason as to why they do this with certain wines and not others and she said that they pick certain wines with certain qualities to lay at an angle and now necessarily all the way down because not only does it keep the cork damp, but it also keeps some of the air bubbles at the top of the bottle of wine instead of at the middle which says allows a slower maturation and oxidation.


Right after the section of the French wine, on the other side was the champagne section. and their extensive collection of organic wines. This specific winery is know for their organic wines.


I asked the sales associate what specifically made organic wine organic and she said that when the grapes are being grown, the viticulture practices have to be in accordance with what labels food organic, meaning that there isn’t any use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers etc. She stated that the Vinification practices have to be ALSO be organic, which means that there is little to no manipulation to the flavor and taste of the wine (no oak chips). She said that not many of the wines that are organic will say it on the label, so their customer really trust their words and knowledge when picking our the right wine. This organic wine is very popular to the people surrounding the neighborhood. This made sense to me since this wine shop is located in park slope.

The staff was really friendly and I could tell that the sale associate knows their information. She states that she gets the enthusiasm from the manager. She is very passionate about wines and is a very insightful person. She believe that people aren’t really taught to differentiate taste and smell and that when most people come into a wine shop they feel extremely intimidated. She takes joy in welcoming people into the world of wine.

The winery does wine tasting certain days and times.


They do this in their outdoor patio garden. It is nothing that is exquisite, but I believe that the patio goes perfect with the wine shop and how it presents itself.

I am really glad I was able to visit this wine shop. When I was strolling around the shop, I felt really good because I was able to recognize Grape Varieties and Appellations. If I had walked into this wine shop anytime before taking my wine class I would not have been able to have an intellectual conversation or ask the right questions to the sales associate. She didn’t really know the answer to ALL of my questions, but she was able to provide me information that I did not know. I would definitely be coming back to the shop when the manager is actually in.

Group Members: Mairovi Garcia, Marsorie Dunbar, Chandanie Ramsahai, Henry Micular

Wine: 2011 Chianti Classico DOCG, Carpineto, Tuscany, Italy.

Tuscany is a 40 mile region that stretches from Florence to Siena. Grape cultivation in this region dates back to 8th century BC to the Etruscan.

Climate: In this area is temperate to warm w/ Mediterranean influences.

Top Red Grape: Sangiovese

DOCG: Brunello De Montalanadi Pitigliano

IGT: Toscano

DOC: Bianco di Pitigliano

Chianti Wine– 75% sangovese grape and can blend with other white grapes.

Chianti Classico– 85% sangiovese grape- cannot blend white grapes in. 6-10 years starts to loose its acidity, over 10 years its risky to keep.

Chianti Classico Riserva – Needs to be aged min of 2 years in oak and min 3 months in bottle. 4 years is young, 4-10 reaches its peak, 10-15 is also very good.

Test Question: What percentage of sagiovese grapes must is required for a wine to be classified as a Chianti Classico DOCG in tuscany? A-85%