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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Wine Tasting at Hummingbird Hills Winery: A Delightful Saratoga Day Trip


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
The Quaint Entrance to Hummingbird Hills Winery Tasting Room

Are you looking for a unique winery experience that is just a short drive from Saratoga? Look no further than Hummingbird Hills Winery, where every sip brings an interesting new flavor and every glass holds a story. I recently spent a delightful afternoon with friends sampling Hummingbird Hills wines the picturesque countryside setting in Fultonville, New York. It was a wonderful experience, so thought I should share it with my fellow explorers.


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
Some of the 22,000 grape vines at Hummingbird Hills Winery

Discovering a Hidden Gem:


Although I have lived in upstate New York for 20 years, I had never heard of Hummingbird HIlls Winery. I was invited to the Hummingbird HIlls tasting by my friend, Christina. She had received a gift certificate for a tasting for 4 and invited me to join. I am so glad she did as I discovered a hidden gem just over an hour away from Saratoga. The drive itself was also very enjoyable as I drove along country roads through quaint small towns and beautiful rolling hills of central New York. Safety note: Due to the distance from Saratoga, you need to plan ahead. I did the taste and spit method of tasting since I drove. Christina and the other ladies brought along a designated driver so they could fully enjoy each taste.


The Hummingbird Hills Winery Story:


Hummingbird Hills Winerey upstate New York
Outside Area at Hummingbird HIlls to Enjoy the View

Hummingbird Hills Winery is owned by a husband and wife team, Ken and Kimm Schick. They are originally from New Jersey, but decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and escape to a quiet country life in upstate New York. In 2001, they purchased an old 200 acre dairy farm in Fultonville, New York and relocated. The farm needed a lot of work (good thing Ken is a contractor!) and they weren't exactly sure what they wanted to do with it. Ken grew up making wine with his German father and grandfather and remembered all of the recipes and old-fashioned techniques he was taught. So, the Schicks decided to give wine-making a try and planted 1,000 young grape vines by hand. It took seven years for those young vines to produce a sufficient crop of grapes to make wine. But by the end of 2010, Hummingbird Hills Winery was growing enough grapes to regularly produce sufficient volumes of wine. They were officially approved by the State of New York and became an established spot on the map of New York Wine Trails highlighting vineyards throughout central New York and the Finger Lakes region. Today they personally tend to 22,000 vines on a 26 acre vineyard!



Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
Grape Vines on the Property

When the Schicks started the vineyard they played around with different names, but none of them worked out for one reason or another (for example, a couple name options were already claimed when they checked with the Secretary of State). While sitting on the porch one day pondering what to call their new business, a hummingbird flew up and just hovered in front of Ken's face staring at him. They took that as a sign and decided to name their vineyard Hummingbird Hills Winery. The rest is history!


The Wine Tasting Experience:

Wine tasting at Hummingbird Hills Winery is not just an activity; it's an experience for the senses. Sniffing the wine allows the fruit essence to fill your nose, the sight of the wines along the wall create a visual rainbow due to the variety of grapes and fruits used to create each vintage, and, of course, each sip creates a symphony of flavors for the taste buds. The wines are handcrafted using grapes grown in the Hummingbird Hills vineyards as well as locally sourced fruits from the farmers in the surrounding Montgomery County area. The Schicks are committed to creating each bottle with minimal preservatives to keep the process as natural as possible so the natural flavors of the ingredients can shine through.


Hummingbird Hills Winery has crisp whites and bold reds, but the fruit and speciality wines are Hummingbird Hill's signature blends that will really surprise you. They have flavors that highlight strawberries, pears, elderberries, apricots and cherries. Their most unusal flavor features tomatos fermented with serrano peppers (which creates a wine "lightly sweet with a unique flavor and zing")! Their tag line is "Escape from the Normal" and that definitely describes the Hummingbird Hills wines.


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
The Wine Tasting Selection Sheet

With each pour you will hear the story about they came up with the flavor, how each wine is crafted and, most importantly, how they came up with the unique and creative names of each wine. Hint: Several wines are named after their beloved pups. Some of the recipes, such as the Elderberry and and Dandelion wines are based on old family recipes from Ken's childhood.


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
Wine Varieties at Hummingbird Hills

Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
More Wine Varieties at Hummingbird Hills

Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
And MORE wine varieties at Hummingbird Hills

I tended to like the fruit wines like Strawberry Delight, Hair of the Hound Dawg Apple, and Joey's Wild Watermelon. I also really enjoyed the specialty wine Strawberry Honey Ambrosia which is made with local buckwheat honey and fresh strawberries. Yummmm! My friend, Misty, who likes spicy drinks really enjoyed the Hound Dawg ToMATER that had that peppery zing at the end. I would also give props to the Lion's Tooth Blend, the Dandelion wine made from Ken's old family recipe.


As I was driving, I didn't get a chance to taste the wine slushies, which looked very tasty! I would definitely plan to try one of these if you are heading to Hummingbird Hills. If you do, please let me know how they were.


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
Wine Slushies?!? So Bummed I Didn't Get to Try One!

The Humminbird Hills wines are special and unique...something you won't get to taste anywhere else. It was an enjoyable afternoon in a peaceful setting. I highly recommend this day trip experience.


Hummingbird Hills winery  upstate New York
Hummingbird HIlls Winery has a Gorgeous Countyside Setting

Plan Your Own Hummingbird Hills Wine Tasting:


To start planning your own Hummingbird Hills experience, begin with checking out Groupon. They have offers for discounted pricing for group tastings. Here is a link to the current Groupon discount. Generally the tasting is priced based on how many wines you would like to taste (but I will say they are not stingy with the tastes if you want to taste a flavor that you didn't originally select to try).


Hummingbird HIlls Winery upstate New York
Prices Based on Number of Tastings

To get there, click here for directions. Again, it is a little remote, so plan ahead for a designated driver or figure out how you will try the wines without drinking too much.


Because this is a small family business, they ask that you call ahead to schedule your tasting so they can make sure you get the attention (and the stories) you deserve during your tasting. It is this small business vibe that makes a tasting at Hummingbird Hills a unique experience. Find their contact information (and more about this interesting vineyard) at their website here.


Cheers!


Hummingbird Hills Winery upstate New York
Gift Shop with Handcrafted Items

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