Let’s face it, when you think of good wine and beautiful wineries, Connecticut wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of your list. However, you just may be surprised to learn that CT does have beautiful wineries that produce very good wines. While there are nearly 30 wineries here in Connecticut, we are particularly fond of several local wineries located just minutes from our inn.
The award-winning wine industry of southeastern CT is relatively new considering the history of many California wineries; however, they should not be overlooked for that reason. Located in a unique micro-climate these vineyards benefit from close proximity to Long Island Sound. This maritime climate influences longer, milder growing seasons creating benefits like those of a European vineyard. All of these vineyards mix new technology with time honored brewing secrets to create fine wines and open for tastings and some for tours. Bring a picnic and enjoy dining by the vines – there is nothing quite like sitting out on the land that grew the grapes and enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.
In Ledyard CT (just 20 minutes from our inn) is Maugle Sierra Vineyards (est. 2002). This vineyard is primarily known for their St. Croix grapes, producing intensely fruit forward red and dessert wines. Watch the seasonal changes at the winery in the harvesting of the grapes and the production of the vineyards many fine selections. Visitors can enjoy a bottle or glass of wine when they come for a wine tasting and are welcome to bring a picnic to the wine patio, sit back, take a deep breath and relax amidst the vines. We especially like that Maugle Sierra Vineyards offers live entertainment on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. We often recommend that our guests shop at our local market and pick-up a brick of cheese, a baguette of bread and maybe some olives, deli meats, etc., and enjoy everything with your wine.
The Jonathan Edwards Winery (just 30 minutes from our inn) is a beautiful vineyard set on a hill with panoramic views in North Stonington, CT (est. 2001). This winery is a historic dairy barn that has been completely renovated to accommodate the wine making, barrel aging and final bottling and distribution process. The winery handcrafts Estate Connecticut wines as well as premium Napa Valley managing to capture the flavors of both the east and the west winemaking industry. Enjoy a tour of the winemaking and taste all of the special blends offered in the tasting room and relax out on the patio with a picnic and your chosen favorite wine. Watch for summer entertainment under the stars – there’s nothing quite like it. Aside from their great red wines (Merlot and Zinfandel are our favorites) we especially like the summer concerts that Jonathan Edwards offers. Generally on Thursday nights, and only in July and August, these inexpensive, low key concerts are no more than a blanket on the lawn, and picnic dinner and sunset watching all while listening to great local bands. We don’t let a summer go by without catching at least one or two of these wonderful concerts.
In Stonington CT, a trip to Stonington Vineyards (est. 1987) (just 30 minutes from our inn) will find the vineyard well known for many of their award- winning blends and a commitment “to create wines both pleasing to the soul and palette.” Winery tours can be booked in advance and tastings of their quality, European-style wines is encouraged. Perhaps picnic on the vineyard and enjoy any one of its barrel fermented Chardonnays or proprietary blends… their Seaport White named for Mystic Seaport is a good choice if you enjoy a nice glass of white wine.
Lastly, In Clinton CT, Chamard Vineyards (est. 1983) (just 30 minutes from our inn, and immediately next door to the Clinton Crossing Outlet Shops) has a winery building crafted in an old New England design which includes old field-stone and wooden beams taken from the land of the vineyard. The winery has an underground wine cellar, production and barrel aging rooms enjoy a cool stable environment perfect for making their many fine Cabernet’s and Pinot Noir’s. Stay for wine tasting and enjoy your pick of their wines while sitting out on the deck or at the custom built tasting bar while viewing the vineyards or perhaps watching a spectacular sunset.
So, if you have never visited our inn or the southeastern corner of Connecticut and would like to experience a local CT winery and have everything planned for you, you may want to consider our very popular Wine & Dine Package. For details on this and other packages we offer, visit our Specials and Packages page. So as you can see, there are several options for you wine lovers, and best of all, these wineries are open year-round.