“We are one of eight distilleries in America to do its own malting, and the only US distillery with a kilning floor,” explains Steve Osborn, co-owner of Stoutridge Winery & Distillery in Marlboro. Steve and his wife Kimberly Wagner expanded their premium Hudson Valley wine selections last spring to include spirits, an endeavor that they approach with the same amount of passion, precision, and patience as they do with their wines. The purpose of the craft distillery is to create and capture flavor, minding traditions of whiskey, brandy, gin, amaro, and vermouth to foster innovative modern versions. “We also make a 36-times distilled vodka, which is not so traditional,” Steve says.
One of the most unique wineries in North America, Stoutridge Winery & Distillery offers a singular experience of wines and spirits for the discerning palate. Made with local ingredients ripened slowly by nature instead of quickly by chemical additives, Stoutridge brings back the natural processes once used by farmers and winemakers hundreds of years ago. They even use locally made barrels that come from Hudson Valley trees to age their whiskey.
Owners Steve and Kimberly, a husband-and-wife team, invite you to Marlboro to taste, tour, and visit their historic, seven-acre vineyard in the heart of Hudson Valley wine country.
“We are a gravity-flow winery,” explains Steve. “This means we never use pumps or filters in our winemaking. We do not ‘fine’ our wines with gelatins, tannins, or clays. We do not add water or sugar, nor do we chemically adjust the acidity of our wines. Sulfites and sorbates are never added before or after our wines are made. Our goal is for you to taste the natural flavors of our fermented grapes and the land from which our grapes were grown.”
Not a “truck-to-store” wine, the only way to taste this natural difference is to visit the winery at the vineyard, located 90 minutes from NYC and Albany. “Nature ripens fruit in a way that is not easily transported at 115 degrees, and the trucks that ship wine are not refrigerated. They can get up to 140 degrees,” which is why, Steve explains, “We only sell wine at the winery.”
Made with local ingredients ripened slowly by nature, Stoutridge brings back the natural processes once used by farmers and winemakers hundreds of years ago.
Whether connoisseur, casual consumer, or novice, guests can experience tours and tastings led by Steve himself, who provides an in-depth understanding of the farm-centric process behind Stoutridge wines and spirits. “My wife and I and a vineyard worker make 33,000 bottles of wine a year. Ninety percent of our wines come from local vineyards. By using local grapes we reduce the amount of fuel used for transportation to our crush pad. One of our primary goals at Stoutridge is to capture local flavor.”
Marlboro is home to some of the oldest vineyards in the US. Grapevines and fruit trees have been continuously planted for 200 years at Stoutridge. “This farm has had wine grapes since 1790. We built the winery on the stone foundation of the first winery left here a long time ago. The front of our tasting patio is the foundation of the previous winery.” The new state-of-the-art distillery has come a long way from its original foundation that was left standing from the 1930’s bootleg era.
“Our goal is for you to taste the natural flavors of our fermented grapes and the land from which our grapes were grown.”–Stephen Osborn, co-owner
It uses primarily solar power and gravity to move liquids and containers, and demonstrates a modern approach to making spirits the old fashioned way.
“I’ve worked in wineries my whole life, but this is the first winery that my wife and I ever owned,” says Steve. Steve’s bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and master’s degree in winemaking, along with his wife’s PhD in biochemistry and 20 years of experience in management consulting, were part of their own ripening process to open a winemaking business. Their original business plan changed from buying a small winery in the Finger Lakes where they planned to retire, to buying Stoutridge and moving to Marlboro.
“The plan was not to build a winery here. The plan was to buy an existing winery (in the Finger Lakes) and show how Hudson Valley grapes compare to the Finger Lakes. What changed our minds was soon after we bought the land, we got to know Marlboro and noticed that there were a lot of people coming here from NYC to buy apples. So we thought, maybe we can finally realize this dream of making a winery that has completely natural wines.” In 2004, their business plan was approved for financing by a local bank. “The bank said yes, so we built the winery and also built a distillery space.” Since then, Steve and Kimberly have been determined to stay the course and continue creating pure, premium, homegrown wines and spirits.
“The biggest challenges have been getting known and not giving in. If you know that your product is something designed for the informed consumer, you hope to sell enough to inform more consumers.”
Be sure to put Stoutridge on your wine trail list this spring. It is worth a trip not only to experience the flavor of these meticulously produced wines and spirits that you won’t find anywhere else, but also to witness the history that is being preserved in the winery from 1902 and the nearly 90-yearold distillery. Tours and tastings hosted by Steve are offered Fridays through Sundays, from 11am to 6pm. Guests are encouraged to stroll or picnic on the expansive grounds that boast native trees and shrubs with picnic tables scattered throughout. Stoutridge is also a member of the Shawangunk Wine Trail.
stoutridge winery & di stillery
10 Ann Kaley Lane, Marlboro
See the video at VISITvortex.com.