Troutbeck, a historic estate hotel in New York’s Hudson Valley, has long been committed to creating community and fostering creativity in its food and beverage programs. Following the success of its chef residency program, launched in June 2021, Troutbeck in February 2022 announced a female-led beverage residency.
Chef Gabe McMackin invited four beverage leaders, each with her own unique perspective and expertise, to enhance Troutbeck’s hyperlocal culinary and beverage experience. The women — wine director and educator Lee Campbell; Greenpoint Cidery founder Nika Carlson; Victoria James, wine director at Côte Korean steakhouse; and Gina Correll Aglietti, cofounder of Yola Mezcal — spent time at Troutbeck for multiday residencies March, April, May and June, respectively.
While did these beverage aficionados while on the Amenia, NY-based hotel’s property? Each hosted an educational experience for staff and guests; curated a list of “Selects” on the wine list or created specialty cocktails to be added to the menus; and hosted a community ticketed experience for Troutbeck’s guests, members, local farmers and friends.
Certified sommelier Campbell, a supporter of sustainable vine farming and traditional, low-intervention winemaking techniques kicked off the program in March. She curated a selection of natural wines for her dinner and Chef McMackin built a menu around the wines.
But instead of straight pairings, Campbell encouraged guests to drink more in the style of being in a winemaker’s home, where excitement and curiosity dictate the rythm, rather than formal pairings based on flavors or tradition. This approach became a guiding principal for the series as a whole, a clearer reflection of how wine and food lovers imbibe and enjoy today.
Carlson’s April residency celebrated the region’s deep connection to cider, as her apple trees are all in Hudson, NY, and her ciders are made in the style of natural wines. For her dinner event, Carlson selected different styles of ciders, including Basque cider Isa Stegi and Vermont producer Eden’s ice cider, in addition to some of her own cuvées.
Some of the other standout activities that took place during the residencies include Foraging & Sipping with Victoria James, and Gina Correll Aglietti’s Poolside Mezcal Workshop. Correll Aglietti’s residency included special guest Yana Volfson, beverage director for chef Enrique Olvera’s New York restaurants Cosme, Atla and Damian. Volfson created mezcal subtle cocktails to pair with a dinner of local Hudson Valley produce and seafood.
The series aims to bring varied voices to Troutbeck’s culinary program and introduce their perspectives to the community, while simultaneously “turning the table” on what it means to be hospitable — by extending that credo of care to members of the hospitality industry.
The female-led beverage series was a resounding success, according to Troutbeck. Attendees commented after each residency that the experience had opened both their minds and their palates in new ways. It also won Troutbeck the BevX Award for Innovative Independent Beverage Program.