When Sue Goold Miller and husband Ed Miller decided to create Brookview Station Winery on the grounds of their Goold Orchards spread in Rensselaer County back in 2005, they began with what they knew best -- fruit wines. Not a bad idea since Goold Orchards, the oldest family-operated apple farm in the Capital Region, grows a wide variety of fruits.
From those fruits, their winery has produced apple, pear, peach, black currant, cherry and strawberry wines, as well as hard ciders and bulk red wine that is finished to their own specifications.
Anyone who has sampled Brookview's portfolio in the ensuing eight years probably agrees that Ed -- Rensselaer County's first winemaker -- has a knack for turning out top quality wines. But, when it came to grape wines, he wasn't satisfied relying solely on fruit grown elsewhere. So, the Millers planted Frontenac and Foch grapes with an eye toward using them to make Brookview's first wine made from estate-grown grapes. That came to fruition, no pun intended, on July 1 of last year when its first such product went into the bottles.
“Dairy farmers get their product one-365th each day,” Sue told me at the time. “Fruit farmers have a very narrow window, and for four or five months the cash flow dwindles. That’s one reason we decided to create a farm winery because it’s a year-round business.”
The Frontenac and Foch grapes are hybrids developed at the University of Minnesota for cold weather regions. This fall, Brookview will be bottling wine made with Marquette grapes, another cold weather hybrid, from vines that were too young for harvest last year. Despite our erratic weather, the outlook for a good harvest is promising, as the accompanying photos show.