Palaia Vineyards ~ Highland Mills, New York

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

The word that first comes to mind when thinking about Palaia Winery is eclectic.  There’s a kind of haphazard charm to the place that speaks more to the layering of generations of family and interests, than to deliberate design.  In the front yard, classical statuary shares garden space with flags, flowers, and a whimsical stone statue of a pig in cap and waistcoat (my personal favorite).  A variety of signs dot the drive and gardens, directing folks to the tasting room entrance and admonishing them not to make off with the glasses.

The eclecticism continues in a charming and spacious tasting room encompassing the second floor of an old barn renovated and converted into the winery.  The renovation looks to have kept the barn’s original wood walls and timbered ceilings and finished off the space into a cozy, if somewhat cluttered room.  Pictures and posters line the walls, and varied keepsakes, gifts and the knick-knacks of an interesting and slightly bohemian life can be found in all corners of the room.  This is an obviously well-loved and fun space.

As mentioned above, the Tasting Room is on the second floor; the entrance leads directly into a stairway that brings you up along the back of the bar and into the main room.  The bar extends the length of two walls in a curved L-shape, and there are several bistro tables and chairs scattered throughout the middle of the room for guests who wish to linger.  A screen door at the end of the bar leads to a large porch with additional tables and chairs, and Palaia often has live musical guests on weeknights and weekends who entertain the crowds on the patio.  There is also a large open air stage next to the vineyards behind the winery where Palaia hosts stage plays and larger performances.  Guests are obviously encouraged to purchase wine to enjoy with the show, hence the plea to return the glasses.

In addition to music and theatre, Palaia also sponsors a Lucy-Look-Alike Contest, inviting contestants to dress up like Lucille Ball and participate in a re-enactment of the legendary I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel try their hand, er… feet, in grape stomping.  The winner receives a case of Palaia wine, and looking at the pictures on the wall behind the bar as well as on the website, it’s obvious this is a very popular and highly entertaining event.  For those interested in stopping by, or entering the contest, the next “Great Lucy Look-Alike Grape Stomp” is scheduled for September 25th.

Dating back to the 18th century, the farm was originally part of a larger farm once owned by Aaron Burr.  Today, Palaia has 10 acres of grapes and plans for more in the future.  They planted their first vines in 2001, producing their first vintage in 2005.  In 2002, they received a $15,000 grant from the State of New York to restore the barn, and after 4 years of painstaking work, opened the winery in 2006.

Palaia (pronouced pa-LIE-a) produces 14 wines: 3 whites, 2 white blends, 5 reds, 2 red blends, and 2 specialty wines, one of which is a mead.  Now that’s not something you find in most wineries.  Their tasting menu includes more than 20 of their vintages; a tasting is complimentary and includes your choice of any five of the available wines.  Tough to choose only five, but there was no way I was passing on the Mead.

Palaia is open seven days a week: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.  They feature live music Thursday through Sunday, unless they are hosting performances on the “main stage.”  All ages are welcome for outside events, but you must be 21 to enter the Tasting Room.  You can find a schedule of upcoming events on their website.

Palaia Vineyards
20 Sweet Clover Road
Highland Mills, NY 10930

Coming Tuesday, September 7th, The Wines of Palaia Vineyards

pixelstats trackingpixel
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Palaia Vineyards ~ Highland Mills, New York

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Palaia Vineyards - Highland Mills, New York | --