You probably know that locally crafted adult beverages have been flooding the Hudson Valley and Catskills through most of the 21st century, transforming “beer caves” into boutiques, reinventing the cider that won the revolution, and providing restaurateurs with nearly infinite options with which to complement their offerings. You may also know that even before that, the region was experiencing a resurgence of its wonderful wine culture, embracing our unique terroir and Grandfather’s old-country expertise to create award-winning vintages in splendid settings.
Have you been to the sources? Perhaps you’ve stopped at a brewery for wood-fired pizza, a couple of flights, and a six-pack to go; maybe you’ve been to a winery concert. But have you taken a full day or so to delve into the culture, following the Shawangunk Wine Trail and its 14 wineries, or touring multiple cideries for a flavor comparison?
It’s likely that more of us would do so if it weren’t for the huge conundrum of the Designated Driver. Which of your friends do you love enough to want to spend hours with, while they watch you having a blast and restrain themselves from partaking? If you drive yourself, what are the odds that you won’t feel at least a tiny bit deprived by the need to hold yourself to a sip here and a single glass there? Sure, there are limos and Uber—if you don’t mind quadrupling the cost of your expedition. For good reason, our cops don’t mess around when it comes to intoxicated driving, nor should they; self-restraint is surely preferable to being arrested or worse. But “self-restraint” and “deliciously decadent beverage tour” hardly belong in the same sentence.
Jamie and Marcus Guiliano, owners of the Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, bring us yet another tasteful innovation that blends culinary delights with health, safety, and convenience: Your Car, Our Driver.
Jamie and Marcus Guiliano, owners of the Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, were doing award-winning, socially responsible farm-to-table food before those phrases became de rigueur on local menus. It’s unsurprising, then, that they’d be the ones to bring us yet another tasteful innovation that blends culinary delights with health, safety, and convenience: Your Car, Our Driver.
The concept is elegantly simple: Reach out to BestHudsonValleyWineTours.com and let them know what kind of tour you’d like, which can be anything from a detailed itinerary along the 80-mile-long Shawangunk Wine Trail to “Show me some spots with great views and good wine, and throw in a great lunch stop,” or “So what’s this Hudson Valley beverage stuff all about?”
They will send a vetted, fully insured, and personable driver to meet you at your chosen time and place and drive your car while you luxuriate in the scenery, the friends, the welcomes, and the flavors. “We love to travel, and we love destinations with outstanding wine culture,” says Marcus. “Traveling in Italy and California, we found this service available and loved it. It really makes beverage touring so much simpler. And we noticed no one was doing it here.
“Our drivers are longtime locals who know their way around and enjoy sharing what they know,” he adds. “Your plan can be as detailed as researching some specific aspect of the beverage scene, or as wide-open as ‘We want to have a beautiful day.’
We can find you an outdoor concert, take you to the oldest winery and oldest vineyard in the nation on the same tour, and schedule a restaurant stop or a side trip to the best local sights. If you get to one winery and it’s just not your thing, our driver can probably find you another choice just a few minutes away.” Drivers arrive bearing bottled water and, should you so desire, bring along a charcuterie board or other picnic fare of your choice.
They will send a vetted, fully insured, and personable driver to meet you at your chosen time and place and drive your car while you luxuriate in the scenery, the friends, the welcomes, and the flavors.
“We have an intimate knowledge of wine and food destinations, and sharing that brings us a lot of joy.”
So you’ve talked to your friends about this, and more of you want to go than your car will hold? Your Car, Our Driver will help you find the perfect rental for the day, and you’ll still spend just a fraction of what it would cost for a limo. Marcus and Jamie also operate VIP Winery Vacations, and can set you up with everything you need to have a glorious time in the wine country of the Finger Lakes, Italy (on hold at this writing due to pandemic travel restrictions), or Mexico. There, as in the Hudson Valley, you’ll have access to a curated cornucopia of gourmet choices.
“We have an intimate knowledge of wine and food destinations, and sharing that brings us a lot of joy,” says Marcus. “It’s what we love to do ourselves, so we have personal connections and know all the best spots.”
Your Car, Our Driver
Best Hudson Valley Wine Tours