Wine Spectating

Add an element of fun to your leaf peeping this year. Travel Connecticut's Wine Trail and enjoy fine wine tasting while you take in the beauty of fall's fiery leaves.



A menu at a local fish market displays various types of ceviche available in Panama City, Panama.

©aluxum/Istockphoto.com

Saltwater Farm Vineyard

Set in the historic, coastal village of Stonington on more than 100 acres you will find Saltwater Farm Vineyard, established in 2003, bordered by the tidal marshes of Wequetequock Cove. They plant six varieties of grapes on 15 acres of the property.

The winery is actually a converted World War II era airplane hangar, (in the 1930's the farmland was converted to an airfield) designed by the late architect John W. Lincoln, a colleague of Walter Gropius. The restored hangar opens onto terraces and the vineyard with expansive views of Long Island Sound makes the perfect spot for sipping wine (and for getting married). On Thursdays and Sundays you will be entertained by live music during their tasting hours.

Tastings  April – November Wednesday and Thursday 11am - 5pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am – 3pm and by appointment, closed Monday & Tuesday. Check their website for tasting hours from December – March.

Varietals  Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Rose, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

Located at 349 Elm St. Stonington, CT 06378; 800-818-7258 and 860-415-9072.

Chamard Vineyards

Founded in 1983 by the William R. Chaney family, the first vines were planted in the spring of 1984 on a 5.5 acre vineyard consisting primarily of Chardonnay with a small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Now under the ownership of the Rothberg family they cultivate 20 of the farm's 40 acres and produce 6,000 cases of wine a year with 5 varietals. Just 2 miles from the Long Island Sound and 6 miles south of the Connecticut River the vineyard enjoys a micro-climate with mild winter temperatures and a long, warm growing season, very similar to Central France or the Burgundy region.

The beautiful winery was built in 1988 to resemble a classic New England fieldstone building (the stones are from the property.) When the weather is fine you will want to sip wines and nibble on artisan cheeses on the deck overlooking the vineyard or go for a picnic in the vineyard (with 72 hours notice they'll pack it for you). If the weather is not so fine sidle up to their bar in the cozy tasting room.

Harvest Music Festival  the vineyard closes at 3pm, buy a ticket and stay for the show. Last year Frank's Wood Fired Pizza and Taco Pacifico food trucks served up great grub. Check the website for this year's details.

Halloween at the Vineyard  dress up and sip in style at their annual Halloween dance party in the wine cellar. Buy your tickets in advance. Check the website for details.

They are in the process of opening the Bistro–fine dining at the vineyard.

In addition to Weddings and corporate events they also host, Wine Cellar Dinners, Farm Dinners in the Vineyard and Private Tours and Tastings.

Bands in the Barn and the Singer/Songwriter Series every Friday & Saturday 5 –8:30pm, year round. Check who's playing.

Wine Seminars: 3rd Saturday each month, 5:30 - 7:30pm, reserve in advance.

Chamard Vineyard's Farmer's Market  Sundays 12-3pm, mid-June through October with live music every other Sunday.

Tastings  Tuesday - Sunday 11am–5pm, weekends 'til 9pm in season. Visit their website for seasonal hours.

Tours of the wine cellar, weekends only at 1pm.

Varietals  Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir

Located at 115 Cow Hill Road Clinton, CT 06413; 860-664-0299.

Sharpe Hill

After a day of antiquing in the Putnam Antiques District pull into the bucolic award-winning Sharpe Hill Vineyard–their wine has received over 250 medals in International tastings. Set on an historic track of land granted prior to the Revolution which then became the Sharpe homestead. The original Reverend Sharpe house and the barn still stand on the property below the winery. Walk up to the top of the vineyard for a spectacular view of the last green valley that stretches to Rhode Island without a road or a telephone pole to mar the view. Be sure and go hungry on the weekends and treat yourself to their popular Zagat rated restaurant, Fireside Tavern.

Fireside Tavern  the perfect spot for dining on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays set in an exact reproduction of the farm's historic 1750's center chimney house. From April through October most of their produce comes from their organic kitchen garden. The restaurant is committed to using local, organic ingredients whenever possible. Reservation only (860-974-3549 x10), and typically books weeks in advance.

Tastings   Friday, Saturday, Sunday : 11am – 5pm year 'round. A Full Flight Wine Tasting includes all of their classic and some limited production wines for $12/person. The 5 Wine Sampler includes any five wines (except Pontefract) for $7/person. With both flights you may keep your souvenir wine glass.

Varietals   Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, St. Croix, and The Ballet of Angels, and Red Seraph (which are the #1 and #2 bestselling wines made in CT sold in New England).

Located at 108 Wade Road Pomfret, CT 06258; 860-974-3549.

 

 

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