Northern Star Vineyard: Local Wine from Local Grapes
With the holidays upon us, as family chefs seek the perfect bottle of wine to complement the season’s finest flavors, a new vintner at Saratoga Farmers’ Market provides a selection of wines made with locally-grown grapes.
“Northern Star Vineyard produces several varietals, including St. Croix and Lacrosse,” explains owner Kathleen Reilly Weber, who with her husband, Andrew, purchased the vineyard location in 2002.
“Our wines are named for the predominant grape that make up the wine. The grape varieties are new and naming our wines after the grape names was a conscious decision to get people talking about the grapes. We only sell wine made from northern climate grapes. Merlot and Chardonnay are not local wines.”
The vineyard is located on a picturesque hillside in Easton in Washington County. To succeed in this climate, Northern Star Vineyard grows grapes that thrive in the cold of the Upper Hudson Valley. These include Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac, and Prairies Star grapes, which have been harvested the past two autumns.
“In 2013, we harvested a substantial quantity of grapes; this year due to the harsh winter, our production was smaller than expected,” notes Weber. “All production is done on the premises. Our winery building is capable of crushing, pressing our grapes, and storing and bottling all of our wine.”
“We originally got this idea because we were intrigued by the vineyards of Spain, because of our love of the vineyard lifestyle,” says Weber. “After making this our home in 2002, we started considering winemaking in 2009, and it became a really serious business venture in 2010 when we planted our first vines.”
Northern Star Vineyards has shaped its business practices through the lens of environmental stewardship. This creates a healthier environment for learning about winemaking and working with grapes.
“Our commitment to the environment is reflected in the agricultural methods we choose to practice. The equipment we purchase is designed for durability and was responsibly sourced.”
“We’ve learned so much from our affiliation with Cornell. The experts have advised us on everything from soil preparation to pruning techniques,” comments Weber.
Northern Star Vineyard encourages wine tasting at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market at its second-floor table and at its tasting room in Easton, which is open on Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday. The tasting room also serves as a rural art gallery for local artists, since Weber is a member of the Valley Artisans Market in Cambridge.
Cranberry St. Croix
*Ingredients marked with an asterisk available at the market
1/2 cup St. Croix wine* from Northern Star Vineyard
Zest of one clementine
1/2 cup fresh clementine juice
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine the St. Croix with the Clementine zest and orange juice and bring to a boil.
Add the cranberries and sugar and simmer over moderately low heat until the sauce is jam like, about 25 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.