The ambiance that visitors to Robibero Family Vineyards can expect to find at the Albany Post Road winery in New Paltz is revealed in its name. In addition to being a family-owned operation, proprietors Harry and Carole Robibero and daughter, Tiffany — who serves as general manager — work hard to create an environment in which other families feel welcome, too. Jonathan Lander, manager and assistant winemaker (connected to the family through his girlfriend, Danielle, who is Carole’s niece), says the idea for the Robiberos is to have a place they call home that the patrons can feel at home in, as well.
Established in 2010 at the site of the former Rivendell Winery, the property includes the requisite tasting room in which to sample the small-batch artisanal wines produced at the 42-acre site. (Tastings cost $12 per person for five wines and a souvenir glass.) But visitors are also encouraged to make themselves comfortable with a glass or bottle on the 90-foot deck with its scenic views, or, in winter, around the cozy outdoor fire pit. Wine-friendly foods (meats, cheeses, hummus and crackers) are available to purchase along with wood-fired pizza on weekends, or patrons can bring their own food, picnicking on blankets brought from home or at the picnic tables scattered on the grounds. (Outside beverages may not be brought in, including water: while this may seem arbitrary, it has to do with liquor licenses and the potential for clear alcohols like vodka to enter masquerading in water bottles.) And completing the family feel, well-behaved dogs on a leash are even welcome.
Live music is offered on Saturdays from 2-5 p.m., and a number of special events are held throughout the year. The winery will celebrate Valentine’s Day with two weekend events, “Sweet & Sinful: Wine & Cupcake Pairing,” on Saturday and Sunday, February 10-11 and 17-18. Tickets cost $20 per person, which includes a seated wine and cupcake pairing (three wines paired with three mini cupcakes from Josie Eriole’s Moxie Cupcakes) and a tasting of three additional wines at the tasting bar. Seatings are at 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Those planning to attend as a group who wish to sit together should purchase their tickets together in one transaction, and early purchase is recommended, as seating is limited and the event is expected to sell out. Ticket sales end four days before the event date and are non-refundable.
As a small boutique winery, Robibero Family Vineyards concentrates on handcrafted, artisanal wines expressive of the Hudson Valley climate and soil the grapes were grown in. Most of the 3,000 cases of wine they produce each year are sold through their tasting room and online, rather than through retailers (although a select few are listed on the website). Batches are as small as 75 cases or as large as 500.
Three acres of the property are planted with varietals that include Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc and La Crosse. Assistant winemaker Lander says of the Cabernet Franc grape that it’s particularly well adapted to the Hudson Valley, with a balance of earthiness and fruit in the finished wine ($37). Other options for reds includes a 2016 Syrah ($35), a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) and “Rabbit’s Foot,” a blend of Pinot Noir and Baco Noir ($17).
In white wines, a customer favorite is their “87 North,” a slightly sweet blend of Vidal Blanc and Cayuga White ($17). Additional choices include a dry 2016 Riesling ($19), a 2015 Chardonnay ($21) and a 2015 Gewurztraminer ($25).
Winter hours at Robibero Family Vineyards, 714 Albany Post Road in New Paltz, are Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The last tasting is at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (845) 255-9463 or visit http://robiberofamilyvineyards.com.