Karen wanted to be a farmer and Frank thought he was retired. That’s how it started.They set out to make quality wines from organically grown grapes. Wanting to be close to family and friends they decided on Warwick, a farm-friendly town familiar to Karen since her youth. Finding a great spot, they moved to Warwick in October 2004.
A heavily-wooded, two-and-a-half acre section was cleared away and in 2007 they purchased a John Deere tractor, put down three tons of lime, three-bottom plowed, rototilled, dug more than nine hundred holes, and with the help of family and friends planted nine hundred grape vines on their sloping hillside.
Travel + Leisure magazine named Clearview Vineyard among the “Top Vineyards All Around the U.S.” in the Summer of 2017. Clearview Vineyard was named #1 in New York State and #14 in the United States, out of the more than 8,700 vineyards throughout the country.
In the spring of 2008 they began putting up the steel trellis system and a seven-foot-high fence around the vineyard. The vines started to grow fast and they took off most of the fruit as quickly as they could, putting energy back into the vines. They harvested a small amount of the Cayuga White grapes and made their first ten bottles of wine. Karen personally crushed them with her feet and they squeezed the grapes through cheese cloth and fermented the juice in glass carboys. The following year they received a Gold Award for that wine in the amateur competition of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association. Since then Clearview has received eleven more awards for their wines.
Then in the summer of 2012 they broke ground for a 3,800 square-foot winery, and the wine tasting facility has been open ever since. The new building allows Clearview to produce more wine of an even higher quality as well as quantity – they expect to produce 1,200 cases this year.
Today, Clearview Vineyard produces more than twelve different dry wines, and local beer, ale, and hard cider are also on tap in the tasting room.
The Estate Seyval Blanc is a full-bodied, dry white wine made from Clearview’s own grapes. It has aromas of apples, citrus and melons and is often compared to Sancerre, which is produced in France’s Loire region.
Currently on tap in the tasting room is Smashed Cherry Mead, made with tart New York State cherries and clover honey. It is semi-dry with the honey taste up front and a slightly tart cherry bite in the finish. It will soon be available at bars and restaurants in the Hudson Valley.
A dry wine with great acidity and peach, orange, and a hint of floral notes on the nose. The first sip is pleasantly tangy with tangerine, strawberry, and melon mid-palate, ending with a smooth, savory finish that lingers. Pairs well with light dishes such as salads, fruit, seafood, shellfish, and crudités, and enhances a smoky barbecue dish.
This Bordeaux-style red wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, made from grapes grown on the North Fork of Long Island and produced at Clearview. It is an easy-drinking wine that pairs well with many dishes including beef stew and Italian red sauces.
New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Frank was an educator for 29 years teaching programing, computer applications and retailing. He has served in the United States Air Force, and is currently an Assistant Scoutmaster and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Karen retired from being a sonographer after working 40 years in the field, and now dedicates all her energy to the business. Both Frank and Karen have climbed all 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Mountains, making them official “46er’s.”
“We wanted to establish a business that reflected our love of learning, business skills and adventurous spirit,” said Frank. “We also love to relax and enjoy good wine. So, we combined the two.” They continue to attend many seminars, field demonstrations, and get help from fellow vintners including the experts at Cornell Cooperative, and their good friend Paul Deninno, owner and operator of BashaKill Vineyards. “We strive for the best, learn from our mistakes and keep
on trucking,” said Karen.