Viva vino: Hop aboard the Little Wine Bus with pals

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hile Brooklyn may not be wine country, it doesn't take much to get out to one.

From the borough, it's just a short ride to the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York, where wineries and vineyards host wine lovers year round.

And, there's a little wine bus ready to take you to your destination.

Tania Dougherty, a native of Hudson Valley who currently lives in Dyker Heights, organizes trips to the area leaving right from Brooklyn, to and from Bay Ridge, well as picking up in other destinations in the tri-state area.

"The idea of the Little Wine Bus is you're picking up a group in Brooklyn, whisking them away to the Hudson River Valley for a day of food and wine," said Dougherty, a certified travel counselor who works on Wall Street during the week. "There are so many people who love wine. It's exactly what the neighborhood needs."

Indeed, Brooklyn has a thirst for wine, from wineries such as Brooklyn Oenology in Greenpoint to Long Island Wine Country's annual tastings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene each May.

For those looking to get out to the vineyards and out of the city, the Little Wine Bus leaves from Brooklyn and travels upstate to wineries such as Brotherhood, established in 1839 and the oldest winery in America, and Benmarl Winery, the oldest vineyard in America. Other wineries and vineyards that can be stops on the tour include Adair Winery, Applewood Winery, Baldwin Vineyards, Demarest Hill Winery, Glorie Farms Winery, Palaia Vineyards, Warlick Valley Winery, Whitecliff Winery, and Magnanini Winery.

Beyond wine tastings, which can vary from five to upwards of a dozen, trips can include tours of cellars, vineyards, games such as bocce ball and horseshoes and live music. When seasonal, visitors can also become hands on the vineyard, harvesting and stomping the grapes.

Dougherty also takes advantage of the natural surroundings and organizes adventure tours that include hiking or biking and then visits to the wineries in the afternoon.

To avoid empty stomachs during a day of wine tasting, Dougherty, who recently attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, also provides snacks made from each of the winery’s homemade wines, distilled fruits, ciders and special liquor blends, including chocolate dipped limoncello biscotti, peach brandy and pecan muffins, raspberry champagne cupcakes and cocoa brandy brownies, as well as a boxed lunch.

Dougherty, who formed the Little Wine Bus about a year ago, also caters to birthdays, as well as corporate events and bachelor and bachelorette parties, and for birthdays and other special events, a cake in the shape of a wine bottle can also be requested for the occasion.

"The whole idea is to bring people from they city and they can be safe," said Dougherty. "It's a beautiful day out of Brooklyn."

For more information on the Little Wine Bus, including prices, go to or call 917-414-7947.

Kettle Black in Bay Ridge (8622 Third Avenue) is currently organizing a trip up on June 28. For more information, call 718-680-7862.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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