One Day Upstate: Harney & Sons and Millbrook Winery

Saturday, October 8, 2011 7 No tags Permalink 0

9am, Thursday morning. I met Lisa at the corner of 59th and Lexington. She drove west in a super fun Jeep and we were off to Millerton for the day.

We’re both longtime fans of Harney & Sons and have been meaning to make the trip upstate to visit their tea factory and shop/café for years. I’ve written about their tea shop in Soho, but it’s always more exciting to see the original.

The drive is 2.5 hours north. Not bad at all. Especially on a cool fall day with beautiful scenery and good company. Here we are!!! Arrived just before noon with little traffic.

The shop is divided into three rooms, all equally serene. Enter though the tea tasting room where you can refill loose leaf tins and participate in free tea tastings.

Then there’s the shopping room filling with magical trinkets – tea is the focus, but not the only thing offered. There are candles and gavottes, tea-scented lotions and creams.

Tea books and tea pots and tea sets. A candy shop for tea lovers, set on a cozy wooden backdrop. It’s so nice to get out of the city for the day. Helps to keep you sane ;)

The third room is the café. Welcome! Here are the daily specials.

Let’s start with a pot of tea. The Golden Monkey, yes please. A beautiful rounded and balanced black tea with notes of caramel and honey. This is the type of tea you want on chilly days with a good book and warm soup as companions.

We share flatbread brushed with good olive oil and topped with butternut squash, salami and their own lapsang souchong-smoked cheese.

The flatbread crusts were ideal dunking vehicles for my deep bowl of tomato-basil soup, creamy smooth and dotted in chives with cucumbers on the side.

Lisa had a grilled vegetable sandwich with layers of hummus, toasted red peppers, cucumbers, red onion relish, sprouts, and field greens. Don’t forget the chips!

And always save room for scones. Two to a plate, still warm and topped with sugar for the slightest crunch. Clotted cream and raspberry jam on the side.

Another cup of tea perhaps?

From the tea shop it’s a mile drive to the tea factory/headquarters of Harney & Sons. We were given an incredible tour of the place by John Harney himself! Mr. Harney is the founder, the original Harney of Harney & Sons. It’s still a family business (amazing) and we also met his son Mike Harney and Mike’s wife, Brigitte. Their son Emeric runs the Soho store in Manhattan. We saw all the loose leaf teas and ooh and ahh over the fine machinery and packaging department. It was Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory…only tea instead of chocolate. Some of the machines churn out several hundred tea sachets per minute! Watching them go from loose leaves to sachets and into boxes which are then heat sealed and placed into larger boxes was mesmerizing to say the least.

Still digesting all the new things we learned, we drove back south, a twenty-minute to the town of Millbrook, NY…home of Millbrook Winery.

Entrance to the winery…

…a closer look at the grapes.

That would be Lisa’s car on the right – thank you for driving :)

We took a tour of the vineyards (offered hourly) and walked though the wine-making process. They have mighty muscular guys from the CIA handling all the barrels o_O.

Did you ever wonder where wine corks come from?

Grapes are not measured by the pounds, but by the tons.

The winery which currently covers 130 acres of land, was previously an old dairy barn.

And now for the most exciting part…tasting!

We tasted six different wines:

2010 Tocai Friulano – Hudson River Region, Estate Bottled
2010 Chardonnay – New York State
2009 Chardonnay Proprietor’s Special Reserve – Hudson River Region (pictured above)
2010 Pinot Noir – New York State
2010 Merlot – New York State
Hunt Country Red – New York State

And finished on savory nibbles and Extra Virgin Olive Oil from their sister winery – Villa Pillo in Tuscany, Italy. Millbrook is part of a family of four wineries including ones in the North Central Coast of California, Tuscany, and the Russian River Valley.

Don’t forget to visit the upstairs loft before leaving!

This floor is called “Art in the Loft” and showcases local artists from the Hudson Valley community. From the balcony upstairs you can also get a gorgeous view of the vineyards…it’s ahhh so peaceful. Just a few more minutes of relaxation before driving back into our crazy city. Happy weekend!

Harney & Sons
13 Main Street
Millerton, NY 12546
(518) 789-2121

Millbrook Winery

26 Wing Road
Millbrook, NY 12545
(845) 677-8383

7 Comments
  • K and S
    October 8, 2011

    sounded like a wonderful day!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 9, 2011

    Thanks Kat! ^_^

  • Marie
    October 9, 2011

    Just reading about your day made me feel more at peace! That whole area looks so relaxing and pretty. Hard to believe it's a relatively short journey out of the city!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 9, 2011

    Hi Marie! It really is incredible – to be able to find so much peace and green land just two hours from the city. I wish I kept a car here, would definitely go for day trips more often :)

  • anonymous
    October 9, 2011

    I love Millerton! I drive through at least a few times a year in route to the Berkshires and I always stop at Harney's. The Harney's daughter-in-law also owned a cute clothing boutique in town, but it was closed the last time I was there and I think might be out of business. The Oblong bookstore and Irving Place coffee shop are good stores too.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 10, 2011

    Hi Shane! Ooo I didn't know about those other places! Will put them on my list of places to check out next time we're back in the area. I also need get to the Berkshires one day soon!! ^_^

  • anonymous
    October 12, 2011

    Glad you enjoyed your visit to Dutchess County! The Harlem line of Metro-North also runs up into that area, and the Harem Valley Rail Trail has a trailhead in Millerton. Nearby is McEnroe's Organic Farm, a very large farm & market. Millbrook has a Farmers' Market on Saturdays. See http://www.dutchesstourism.com for trip planning!

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