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New York State Wine Experience Now a Limo-Chauffeured Event

New York State Wine Experience Now a Limo-Chauffeured Event

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Now you can tour the Shawangunk Wine Trail with your own chauffeured car service

The Caldwell House B&B offers the luxury limo-chauffeured package to visitors who prefer to sample their wine in style.

Ever had a hard time finding a good designated driver for your rambling countryside wine tour? An upstate New York bed and breakfast is about to make this a lot easier for you by providing a chauffeured-limousine car service along the Shawangunk Wine Trail for visitors to the region’s annual Pasta Primo Vino weekend happening on April 12th and 13th.

Participating wineries this year include Adair Vineyards, the Benmarl Winery, Brimstone Hill Winery, Palaia Vineyards, Robibero Winery, and Whitecliff Vineyard. The offerings are diverse, but because the route is self-guided, many patrons don’t make it very far through the trek before dropping out from intoxication. A car service may be a good way to circumvent the problem this year around.

Aside from the obvious luxury wine-experience lure, the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast wants guests to drink and dine responsibility during the weekend event which caters to wine lovers with its 14 wineries and pasta lovers with specially-prepared signature pastas offered along the Shawangunk Wine Trail. While there are several car services on offer along the route this year, visitors who want the Caldwell House limo experience should reserve their White Glove Wine Getaway, which will include a fully guided trail tour in a limo that fits 8 to 10 people, and an on-board cooler stocked with refreshments.

The getaway package also comes with a two-night stay at the B&B and a two-day admission ticket to the trail. Package prices start at $759, though if visitors would like to book for bigger groups they should contact the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast directly at 1-800-210-5565.

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Interested in touring the wine countries of Hudson Valley? Hire Majestic Transportation’s limo services and you’ll reach all your destinations safely. Our limousine company provides GPS-enabled vehicles for every event. You’ll enjoy your day seeing the sights of our region’s beautiful wineries — without having to worry about safe transportation. Call us to find out how we can accommodate groups of all sizes!

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Why the Wine Industry Has Long Been a ‘Boys’ Club’

Wednesday: Accusations of sexual assault against a wine country mayor shine a light on the culture of an exclusive industry.

The Sonoma County town of Windsor is small. Tucked between the better-known destinations Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, Windsor had just 27,128 residents as of 2019.

But when The San Francisco Chronicle published an investigation early last month, in which four women accused Windsor’s mayor of sexual assault, the news rippled outward. The mayor, Dominic Foppoli, 38, had been crowned “prince of the wine country.” He was a rising political star and winery owner, The Chronicle reported, whose ambitions embodied those of the town itself.

Since the initial investigation, more than a dozen state and local lawmakers have demanded that Foppoli step down, and he faces a recall effort. Three more women, including a former mayor of Sonoma, have also come forward with accusations of sexual assault and abuse. Foppoli has denied wrongdoing.

The investigation surfaced more than accusations of a pattern of misconduct by one person. It also shined a light on the insular culture of the local wine industry, and how that industry is closely entwined with the region’s politics.

For anyone who has experienced, read or written about sexual misconduct, some of what the women told to The Chronicle most likely sounded familiar: They — like women in Hollywood, government and more — were hesitant to talk about their experiences, in part because they were afraid to cross a powerful man they had encountered in environments where the boundaries between work and socialization were blurry.

To learn more about what it’s like to work in the Sonoma wine industry, I asked Amy Bess Cook, founder of Woman-Owned Wineries, a wine club and directory aimed at elevating female entrepreneurs, to share her perspective, which she emphasized is based solely on her observations and experiences.

Here is some of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity:

Tell me about how and why you started Woman-Owned Wineries.

I have been in the wine industry for a little over 10 years. Prior to that, I worked in book publishing and nonprofits doing communications work.

I came to wine country in like 2009. I was just looking for work in the middle of a recession, and I wound up here.

And I figured if I wanted freelance writing clients, I would need to get to know the local community, so I rolled up my sleeves and started working at a local winery. It was a really wonderful opportunity. I got experience in vineyards and production and the marketing side, of course, to tap my communications experience. I got a sense of industry.

When I left in 2017, Harvey Weinstein had just come up, Bill Cosby’s case had just come up — it was that time. And it was also one of the first years with really terrible wildfires.

In the midst of all that, when I was evacuated because of those fires, I just wanted to do something for the community. And I started thinking about making a list of women-owned wineries locally — just good folks to patronize. At that time, the list was only about 50.

That’s out of how many wineries? Do you have a sense of the scale?

There’s hundreds. We started with that list, and it was so popular we decided to invest in researching nationwide, and it’s not definitive, but it’s now about 600 wineries strong. That’s out of 10,000 wineries.

How do people get into winemaking, or how do they become wine entrepreneurs? Reading the reporting about the Foppoli case, it seems very expensive to get started, and a lot of winemakers have a lot of generational wealth or family expertise.

I’m hesitant to say, “This is how it works,” because I see people come into winemaking and winery ownership from all different angles.

You don’t need to buy land in order to be a winemaker or to have a wine label. You don’t even have to buy all of the equipment, because there are a number of custom crush facilities that can accommodate you if you have the money and can hire out a winemaker who’s already working at a custom crush facility.

But, generally, there are scores of people working in this industry who are incredibly qualified to make and even run their own label — just wildly talented — and they’re not going to have the capital to start a wine business, especially after working for years in an industry that underpays hospitality and production folks. There’s just a wall unless you come in with generational wealth or get investors.

And I’m assuming if you’re unknown or you don’t fit a particular profile — if you’re a woman or a person of color, say — it’s much harder. How much does just knowing people make a difference?

I’d like to refer you to a recent survey by Lift Collective, which has done a lot of great work for women and marginalized people in the wine industry. There are a couple of questions around this topic, just how relationship-based the wine industry really is.

That’s natural in many ways because wine is a social beverage. They had it at the symposia in ancient Greece — but women of course were never invited. So it’s been a boys’ club for a very long time.

Read the original investigation by The San Francisco Chronicle.

See how wine country’s culture played a role in Foppoli’s accused misconduct, according to The Chronicle.

Read more from The Press Democrat about how Foppoli has found himself an outcast in his hometown.

The Court of Master Sommeliers, the most elite group in American wine, elected a new board late last year following a sexual harassment scandal. Here’s the latest.

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Follow country roads to farm festivals and famous attractions like the Baseball Hall of Fame and Howe Caverns.

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Minutes from Manhattan, discover white sand beaches, seaside dining, world-class wineries, and soothing spas.

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As one of the largest wine and spirits stores in the country, our selection of wines is hard to beat. In fact, if you were to drink one bottle of wine from our selection each day, it would take you over 20 years to get through our current inventory! To help you choose wisely, we've included professional ratings wherever possible as well as our own staff recommendations ("Premier Select" products offer tremendous value).

Welcome and thank you for finding us! We are one of the most popular wine tour companies in the entire country and tourists from around the globe join our fabulous tours each week! Our fun and lively public bus headed for Hudson Valley Wine Country departs many weekends from Midtown Manhattan & the Hudson Valley. (see calendar for dates) For private parties we run all (4) seasons and cover the entire tri-state area, including New York City, Westchester, Rockland, New Jersey & Connecticut and all counties. You've found one of the best things to do in New York and the entire region all year round! During the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, the Little Wine Bus provides fun, creative and educational wine tours, beer tours, distillery tours, adventure tours, dinners and more for bachelorette/bachelor/birthday parties, private, showers, rehearsal dinners, corporate events and more or for any occasion. Take a New York wine tour with us, and it will truly be a memorable experience and journey for all who join us on one of our great adventures! Check out our fanpage on Facebook and see it all!

Offering tours of (3) cool Hudson Valley breweries, distilleries, hops farms and more along scenic and historic Hudson Valley Beer Trail. You can even mix them up in one day. Visit a few of the finest breweries in New York while riding our popular tour buses, limousines, town cars and more. Perfect for private parties, corporate events, and more! See more details at: The Little Beer Bus or The Hudson Valley Beer Trail.

We are Certified Travel Agents, Certified Meeting Professionals and knowledgeable wine aficionados and work with many of the regions Culinary Chefs who studied and graduated from The Culinary Institute Of America, so we have the resources, knowledge and skills to accomplish your perfect tour, party or event! On this site you'll find information about our tours, activities, culinary food, cakes, winery facilities, party planning, and transportation, along with descriptions of our super fun tours and events. We hope you will find all of the information you are looking for about The Little Wine Bus.

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We also have a variety of Adventure Wine Tours available with licensed and experienced tour guides. Start your morning off with a fabulous adventure tour such as Hike and Wine, Kayak around a historic castle & Wine, Ziplining & Wine, Cruise & Wine, Mansions, Castles & Wine, Ski & Wine, Bike & Wine, Mountain Meditation & Wine, & Hudson River Yoga & Wine and more. These fun activities start early in the am and after a short ride, you are finally relaxing having lunch and sipping a fine wine in a winery with breathtaking views or having a cold beer at a cool local brewery overlooking the historic Hudson River. If you have other ideas, let us know, and we'll create a custom wine tour for you!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! The Hudson Valley Wines and beers are high in alcohol content and the roads between the wineries are windy and dangerous. Call us and let The Little Wine Bus or The Little Beer Bus drive for you and your friends and/or party. Have fun while being safe on your Hudson Valley Wine Tour along the Hudson Valley Wine Trail.


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When Sources Stand Together: Reporting on the Willows Inn

A Times food journalist who revealed accusations of misconduct at the restaurant in Washington State discusses how employees came to tell their story.

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

More than three years after sexual harassment allegations were publicly leveled against the film producer Harvey Weinstein, workers across various industries continue to share accounts of abuse. Julia Moskin, a food reporter for The New York Times, was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for coverage of workplace sexual harassment issues, which included restaurant kitchens. She recently reported on the Willows Inn, a restaurant that attracts globe-trotting diners to an idyllic island north of Seattle.

Employees said they were sexually harassed by kitchen staff members and were subjected to abusive working conditions. They also asserted that the chef and co-owner, Blaine Wetzel, misled diners about the provenance of ingredients — a key selling point of the business. Mr. Wetzel denies the allegations. Ms. Moskin, who interviewed 35 former staff members at the Willows for the article, discussed her reporting. Her answers have been lightly edited.

What is your beat at The Times?

I’ve never been a food critic, but I would cover restaurant trends, or the origins of dishes, or why everyone loves flourless chocolate cake so much. I was really a specialist in food when I came to The Times I didn’t have formal training in journalism.

For people outside of the food world, what does the Willows represent?

The Willows is part of this very aspirational dining trend that has really taken over in the last 10 or 15 years. It is connected with lists and awards that have become increasingly important. There are these high-end global destinations that people travel to just for one dinner, which didn’t really used to be the case. The stakes are high and the restaurants have to perform at a very, very high level to get on these lists or to win these awards. The Willows was very much a part of that. So they put a lot of pressure on their employees. This is labor-intensive work, carefully plated — not like bistros where you’re making delicious stews and home-style food.

In the last several years, you have taken on these investigations into sexual and workplace harassment in the food world. Can you talk about that work?

I never thought that would be what I do, but that’s pretty much all I do now. In 2017, as the Weinstein story was building, I think everyone at The Times looked around and said: “Who’s the Harvey Weinstein on my beat?” In food, there were a lot of people to choose from because there were so many poorly kept secrets. But it was very hard, at the time, to get people to go on the record. I teamed up with Kim Severson, who was a more experienced journalist, and is also a food staff writer. We had never done that kind of work, but we learned as we went from reporters like Jodi Kantor and Emily Steel. Everyone was just banding together, and then that was how the whole group won that Pulitzer, because we’d all been able to do this in different parts of the paper.

Since then, it has really changed. The alumni of the Willows, for example, found one another, and when they came to me, there were already 20 of them who wanted to talk. Ultimately, there were almost 40 sources.

What is the process of getting people to talk to you and confirming these conversations?

We let people talk off the record at first. You have to build that relationship in a situation where people feel safe, and so they often don’t know if they’re going to go on the record, because nobody wants to go on the record alone, and we don’t let anyone go on the record alone. Once there are clear patterns, I’m able to circle back and say, “It looks like 11 other people had this experience — is that something that you would be willing to talk about?”

At that point, do you have another conversation where you say, “OK, I’m recording now, let’s talk about it all again, on the record”?

How do you approach a story like this where there are allegations against an individual who might have a lot to lose when the article appears?

That’s certainly something that we take into account all along the way. This was a situation in which it was so important to have so many sources, because that many people over many years, having such similar experiences, helped corroborate the accusations. To establish a negative pattern like that against one person, it’s really important to hear that story over and over again.

What was the impact of the story?

There were a lot of cancellations, obviously. They’ve had wine collaborations, they’ve had coffee collaborations, they’ve had photo collaborations, many of those things have been stripped — people have withdrawn their support. But they’re still open, and the chef put out a statement continuing to deny the veracity of the reporting, but without specifically saying how it is wrong. So, in this case, it is a little different. Usually the person says, “I’m stepping away from the business.” Blaine Wetzel owns half of the business, and he hasn’t resigned. It seems there are enough people who are able to look at the story and say, “Well, that’s what restaurants are like.” But we got thousands of comments on the story, a lot of them from restaurant workers, saying this kind of behavior by chefs has to end, and the only way it will end is if consumers stop spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to support them.

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Rustic Red

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