If grapes could talk, they'd recount their dreams, the first time they got plucked, and the first time they felt victimized by nature's rumor mill—the vine. Taste the tales of the grape with today's Groupon: for $10, you get admission for two to the Portfolio Sampler tour and tasting at Millbrook Winery (a $20 value).
Millbrook Winery produces high-caliber wines by combining modern viticulture with classic French and Italian winemaking techniques. The one-hour Portfolio Sampler tour and tasting begins with an informative session disclosing an insider’s view of wine creation, from the nurturing management of the vineyard to the vinification performed by foot-yielding grape gurus. Once your fancy is adequately tickled by behind-the-scenes knowledge, tipple six different wines paired with biscuits slathered in the winery’s own Villa Pillo olive oil. Tour-goers also receive a souvenir wine glass for at-home tastings or impromptu wedding toasts. Tours run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily.
Since 1984, Millbrook’s primary winemaker, John Graziano, has been fermenting vintages at the Millbrook Winery, which is housed in a renovated Dutch-hip dairy barn overlooking the bucolic Catskill Mountains. Nestled in Dutchess County, the winery is only about 1.5–2 hours from New York City and Albany, making Millbrook a great day-trip for fast runners.
Rolling meadows spread out amid rocky slopes, with the gray-blue peaks of the Catskills Mountains looming in the distance. In front of this scenic backdrop, Millbrook Winery invites guests to immerse themselves in the verdant, sprawling landscape of its 130-acre estate. On the more than 30 acres currently under the vine, its growers cultivate varietals such as Chardonnay, Tocai Friulano, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc, which are then crushed and fermented into the estate's characteristically dry wines. Having recently surpassed their 30th vintage, the winemaker displays evidence of grape-smashing prowess with a bounty of gold medals awarded by the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association, as well as the New York Wine & Food Classic.
When not hiking along a newly laid one-mile walking trail that meanders through the vineyards, guests gather in the winery building—a renovated Dutch-hip dairy barn bedecked with old white-framed windows, bare-wood walls, and exposed ceiling beams. Inside, tasting guides expound on the winery's various types of wine, revealing which grapes were used, how long they spent in the barrel, and their favorite New Yorker articles. In addition to tastings, they pass on their knowledge in a range of events, such as boot-camp training for prospective wine growers. They also grant guests personalization of their vintages with fully customizable wine labels, letting them outfit bottles with their own photos and names.