114 Little York Road
Warwick, NY 10990
Tasting Room: (845) 258-4858
Office: (845) 258-6020

If you read me regularly (all four of you), you know that I've thus far restricted myself to the boroughs of New York City... and I haven't even gotten as far as eating in all five yet. Sad but true. But whatever. This time I'm heading upstate to midstate. Orange County to be precise. Warwick, to be more precise.I'd been itching to go to some vineyards all summer. But each and every time I brought it up, which was at least every two weeks, each and every friend I spoke to about it gave me one excuse after another as to why they couldn't go.

Eventually, fall had come, and even apple picking season was starting to fall away. If I didn't want to just write 2007 off as a lost opportunity, I'd have to just go. D was the only one who could make it, so it was just the two of us, and we headed northwest over the Tappan Zee Bridge to Warwick.

Warwick is a pleasant, small, upscale town that boasts a healthy number of NYC expats, restaurants, large houses, and antique stores. Surrounding this small town is farmland, vineyard, apple orchards, and the twisty, winding roads that made me wish I owned a convertible roadster (top down, heater blasting). It is gorgeous country, and only and hour and a half away.

Warwick Valley Winery is one a nice vineyard, but some might complain that it's too commercial. I don't personally think so, but it definitely lacks the quaint, family business feeling of some of the vineyards I've been to in Oregon. There were so many cars there that it was hard to find parking, and this was odd because there were virtually no cars on the back roads headed to the place. They make a range of wines, all pretty good, but are mostly known for their Doc's Hard Cider, which are sold at restaurants like Rose Water in Brooklyn. I ended up buying three cases of the stuff which I learned at checkout, uh, ain't cheap. I also picked up a bottle each of their apple and raspberry liqueurs.

The winery was, in a word, packed this particular mid-October Saturday. People were everywhere having picnics, playing boccie, going on cart-rides, and wandering the orchards. There was an outdoor bar that sold wine and cider and punch for those who chose to eat outside on their blankets. As for us, we tried to get a table inside, which we were unable to do. The restaurant is nice and relaxed, but it's a seat-yourself type of place, so you need to grab a table and then send someone to order at the back where the kitchen is.

The kitchen, which is quite bustling by the way, makes salads, sandwiches, and small pizzas good for two regular people or one hungry Jon. D ordered a sandwich, which she liked but that I didn't try, and I ordered a Margherita pizza that was excellent. They also brew Starbucks coffees and have Tazo teas. Definitely eat before you're hungry, otherwise you'll be starving by the time the food's ready. We found a tall bar area that wasn't being used and stood up as we ate. No biggie though. Would it have been nice to have sat outside in the back under the umbrellas? Yeah, but it was still fun and we got to listen to the live folk singers playing.

While I wouldn't go all the way up here just for a pizza, it was the perfect destination if you're looking for an excuse to go on a beautiful autumn drive topped off with some great ciders and wines and maybe some apples.

Okay, maybe I would go for the pizza.

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