It’s that time again! New arrivals from Wild Arc Farm have arrived.
And I’ll admit it, I was greedy. This year, Todd is working with Jenny & Francois, a wine distribution powerhouse that does the delivering for him so he doesn’t have to run around the wilds of New York doing it himself. One part of this deal was that all the shops that were working directly with Wild Arc in the past would get dibs on whatever they had bought the previous year. So when the offer came, I just said I needed it all. All of it. Mine. Mine. All mine. And now, all yours if you want it. Sometimes greed is indeed good.
So, for those of you who already know the Wild Arc Farm story, order away!
For those that don’t, the scoop is below. But read quickly, because these bottles will go fast.
ALL ABOUT WILD ARC FARM
The word “delightful” gets thrown around a bit willy nilly. But the wines of Wild Arc Farm are exactly that: a delightful rainbow of liquid yumminess that pays more than just lip service to affordability. Sort of a virtuous circle in a bottle. With an added bonus of deliciousness.
So Wild Arc Farm: it's the living-the-dream project of former city kids Todd Cavallo and Crystal Cornish. They literally bought the farm in 2016 and have been busy with the day to day reality of the dream. Planting vines and veggies, converting the old barn to a winery and (eventually) a tasting room. Until recently, Todd was commuting to the city for his non-farm day job, making deliveries during his lunch hour. And somewhere in there, they had a baby.
I first tried the wine during one of those lunch hours, sitting in a downtown NYC coffee shop, discretely sipping from a wine glass I was toting around in a Jenga box. This may sound a little shady, but as a seasoned wine professional, I’m willing to do what I need to do to track down a new wine.
Back to the farm: it’s in Pine Bush, on the other side of the river, tucked away down a long path up from a long road in the middle of nowhere. The day I finally made it over to visit, it was misty and rainy, green and verdant, and the sort of place where you might expect to see a Hobbit wandering around barefoot. Alas – these misty Hobbit-friendly knolls are also the sort of place that makes organic viticulture tricky… but not impossible. And if you’re living the dream, you may as well make it the impossible one, no?
Todd and Crystal’s vines will be organic from day one, but baby vines take a few years to bear fruit, so in the meantime, they’ve been sourcing fruit, initially from the Finger Lakes. But more recently, they managed to convince a few Hudson Valley grape farmer friends to move toward organics, making the wines really, truly local.
But “local and organic” is just part of the dream. Another part is to be affordable. And working organically on a tiny scale up here in the Hudson Valley – that dream would seem to get into tilting at windmills levels of impossible.
Except it doesn’t, because Todd found a happy place where history and sustainability intersect with affordability. (I’m itching to draw a Venn diagram, but I need to get this newsletter out!!) That happy place has a name: it’s called a piquette. Or if you’re a cider person, it’s ciderkin. It’s a very old school (like one-room school house old school) method of making a slightly alcoholic drink that back in day, was a safer beverage choice than water.
The basic method: Take the pomace left over after wine production. (The non-technical term would be “the gunk that’s left in the tank after you press off the wine.”) Add water and let it steep. Press the water-steeped gunk into another tank or barrel (at which point it will be flavored with memories of the original wine or cider.) This would then have been bottled and given to field workers and yes, children. But Todd adds a few extra touches – he adds about 15% finished wine to the mix to stabilize it, and then pops it into the bottle with a small bit of wild flower honey. You won’t really taste the honey, but the sugar kicks off a very light fermentation which gives the final wine a bit of a sparkle.
The final wine is delicious!!! Charming and juicy and delicate and low enough in alcohol (about 7%) that they are really, truly thirst quenching. If there really were Hobbits, they would highly approve.
But where things really get dreamy is the price. They clock in at $17.99. And for local, sustainable, organic, delicious (and bonus: highly Instagram-worthy) wines, that price is practically fiction. But it’s possible because Todd is taking a page from old school farmer-texts and making use of a wine by-product that would normally be discarded (or hopefully, composted.) And these extra reduce/reuse/recycle bottlings help keep the prices down on the rest of his offerings, so everything tops out below $30.
Details on the full line up are below. And no, you don't have to come to Copake to get it. We can deliver it. You can read all about tha here.