Meadowdale Farm Winery wins gold medal in international contest

The Enterprise – Melissa Hale-Spencer

In vino victory: John Sheehan, left, winemaker at Meadowdale Farm Winery in Altamont, holds a bottle of the winery’s award-winning Ice Cider. Seated is Meadowdale’s owner, Bernard Melewski.

ALTAMONT – A few years ago, Bernard Melewski held a fundraiser at his home on Black Creek Farm, and a friend of his, John Sheehan, showed up with some wine.

“The short story is: My winemaking friend said, ‘You have a farm and now farm wineries are legal in New York, what do you think about collaborating?’” Melewski said.

In 2014, New York State began handing out farm-winery licenses, which allows a license holder to manufacture and sell wine or cider at his farm.

Now, in its third year of existence, Meadowdale Farm Winery has doubled its original production and is looking already to build a new production facility, and, in May, its Ice Cider won the gold medal at the 2018 New York International Wine Competition.

In addition, Meadowdale was named “Ice Cider Producer of the Year” in New York State – not bad for a couple of novices who work at the winery in their spare time.

Sheehan told The Enterprise they submitted the Ice Cider to the contest, thinking they might get some notes back on how to improve and were surprised to learn they were winners.

On Sunday, June 24, from 1 to 5 p.m., Melewski and Sheehan will be sharing their prize-winning wine with the public, at a free tasting at Black Creek Farm.

Iced cider is a wine, Melewski said; the difference between it and traditional cider is the alcohol content. Cider is 8-percent alcohol or less, and Meadowdale’s Ice Cider wine is between 11- and 14-percent alcohol.

Melewski has been the owner of Black Creek Farm, which hosts Meadowdale, for the past 27 years, but his background is as an environmental attorney. He splits his time between his law practice, his farm, and the winery, he said.

Sheehan, the winemaker, is an Albany resident, and the communications director for the Adirondack Council, a not-for-profit environmental group.

Until Sheehan showed up to the fundraiser, bottle in hand, Melewski said that he didn’t know Sheehan was a wine hobbyist.  

Last year’s event was well attended, Melewski said. That was when they introduced a new product, a birch wine that uses a recipe from 1736. The small quantity that was made sold out, he added.

Melewski said that at the event on the 24th, Meadowdale will be “rolling out a cold-weather varietal” that was developed by Cornell and has become popular with growers in Upstate New York: Corot noir, a red wine. Melewski added that they will also be offering a rosé wine made from the same grape as the Corot noir.

More Community news

  • GUILDERLAND — Community Caregivers, a Guilderland based not-for-profit, will be hosting a volunteer appreciation event on Sept. 16 at the Altamont fairgrounds.

  • ALTAMONT — St. John’s Lutheran Church is reopening on Sunday, Sept. 13, with an outdoor Sunday School Rally Day at 9:45 a.m. followed by an outdoor church service at 11 a.m.

    The church is located at 140 Maple Ave. in Altamont.

  • VOORHEESVILLE — “The Coronavirus pandemic is still with us and your community needs your help,” said Gary Kubitz, pastor with the First United Methodist Church of Voorheesville who organized a coalition to help the community when the coronavirus pandemic first hit.

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