Starting as a child at the age of five, Louis DiCrescenzo wandered between rows of vines, toddling along behind his grandfather as he worked the vines in their family vineyard in Monte San Biagio just south of Rome. Today, with four generations of winemakers behind him, Louis and his son Michael combine tradition and innovation to create high quality estate-bottled wines at Altamont Vineyard & Winery. With more than 20 types of grapes grown and harvested in the Helderberg mountains of Upstate New York, Altamont Vineyard & Winery produces a carefully curated selection of fine red and white wines. Visitors can take meandering tours of the picturesque winery and vineyard, cruising through the vines, heading to the wine room to see how it's all made, and sipping samples of the final result: adult juice boxes. The vineyard is also an ideal destination for events, private parties, tastings, and tours.
As stunning fall colors settle into the leaves of Saratoga County, beer lovers gather at the Malta Drive-In to celebrate the changing of the season with 27 different German and seasonal fall craft beers. Traditional German food complements a wide selection of American seasonal favorites, such as the Fall Summit ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company and the traditional Oktoberfest beer produced yearly by the Spaten brewery. The organizers endeavor to entertain more than taste buds, arranging live musical performances throughout the day from German accordion player Herb Liebenhagen, Saratoga favorite Headband Jack, and the Bluz House Rockers. Visitors also partake in games and contests such as Best Brat Costume or Who Smells the Most Like Cabbage.
One step inside The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar and visitors are transported to a French village complete with tiled awnings, lampposts, and yellow-brick walls that ascend into a sky-like ceiling. The authentic French atmosphere was created by founding partner Claire, a French-Canadian and consummate traveller, and French-born executive chef Dominique Brialy, whose training has taken him all over the world. Working together, their restaurant was named named Best French by Metroland in 2012, won the Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator, and earned a mention in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. They pour attention into the eatery's details, from the rustic wall sconces to the sage-scented parsnip purée that accompanies the roasted venison. Claire's husband and business partner Sandy has curated a wine cellar filled with 2,200 bottles from every region of France and internationally sourced varietals that complement every meal. Guests may also order from a full bar that features an extensive craft and imported beer selection, as well as an array of whiskeys, single malts, and bourbons.
Sun streams through big windows at The Eatery at Carol's Place as diners sip on steaming cups of coffee and choose from an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch comfort food. Breakfast options include a variety of sandwiches and wraps, sweet delights such as belgian waffels and fluffy pancakes, and family-style breakfast options to share, such as a breakfast pizza with eggs and cheese. Lunch brings classic diner fare such as hearty salads, a make-your-own sandwich bar, burgers, and signature dishes such as Carol's "Famous" Open Faced Meatball or Eggplant Sub with housemade sauce. The casual restaurant evokes a homey feeling with a chalkboard menu, vases of cut flowers, and a cozy corner bookshelf.
In the mid-18th century, distillers at Albany's first distillery, the Quackenbush Still House, crafted rum from Caribbean molasses, Hudson River water, and wild yeast. Instead of Quackenbush's large wooden fermenting vessels, The Albany Distilling Company's distilling duo, Matt Jager and John Curtin, rely on sleek, modern equipment to create their Quackenbush Still House rum. Updated gear, yeast, and water aside, Matt and John stick to Quackenbush's original recipe to yield the rum's smooth, butterscotch-flavored finish.
Their other small-batch spirits likewise pay homage to recipes of old, from the slowly processed Coal Yard New Make whiskey to Ironweed, a Prohibition-style whiskey aged in oak. Available throughout New York state, The Albany Distilling Company's libations are also served twice weekly at the distillery's very own tasting room.