Wine Tasting in Connecticut?

That was my response to reading about vineyards in my home state. I spent two years in California. Went wine tasting along the central coast and discovered amazing wines–a pear flavored dessert wine where I could taste the pears. And I hardly ever taste anything they tell me I should.

Anyway, it was July 4th week and Mom had commissioned me to find fun tasks in our state. Daily staycations.

That’s when I found out about the Connecticut Wine Trail. There are about 20 vineyards around the state with tasting rooms and even tours. I found some amazing places in Stonington, but dad vetoed them. A 1.5 hour drive was not part of his staycation itinerary.

There were two in Litchfield which was about 30 minutes from our home base. We took Aunt C for our rollicking adventures in the farmlands of CT.

The first winery,

Hopkins Vineyard didn’t have tours, but they had a nice tasting room and adorable souvenir store. Both were air-conditioned and provided a comfy place to wine taste.

The tasting was $6.50 per person for 8 wines.

Dad, Aunt C and I lined up at the counter. Mom’s not a drinker so she hung out with us and sniffed our wines. We all have different wine tastes. I prefer sweet, Dad prefers red and dry, Aunt C falls somewhere in between but closer to Dad’s tastes.

What I loved was when the wine pourer told us that you could taste the oak in the wine. Aunt C remarked how oak was not in her taste memory. She planned to remedy that by biting into a tree later that day.

We were advised to take 3 sips of each sample. The third sip would give us the true taste of the wine.

Dad and Aunt C appreciated the Red Barn Red and the Cabernet Franc. I leaned toward the Westwind Riesling.

The neat thing was that I actually tasted some of the things the pourer mentioned. The Cabernet Franc has a currant flavor and a black pepperness to it. Very cool.

They had many award winning wines…

We each found a wine or two we liked and made purchases before leaving.

We headed off to the Haight-Brown Vineyard next.

It’s adorable outside and really nice inside, but there was no a/c which made it a lot less comfy considering it was on the second floor and heat rises.

They also offer a basic tasting of their 8 wines for $9. I opted to add chocolate and was charged $12.

The majority of their wines were whites. Dad ended up pouring most of his tastings into the spittoon. He’s not a fan of whites.

For me, the chocolate took away the sweetness of the wines and I didn’t really fall in love with any of them. We did end up purchasing a Strawberry Bliss because Dad and Aunt C assured me it was super sweet and strawberry tasting. I figured Grandma H and I could split it. She loves sweet wine and strawberries and pink. Which it was.

They had a cool wine called Honey Nut Apple which tasted like apple pie. It was made completely from apples!

Dad got the Picnic Red which we had at Aunt C’s the following weekend for at a delicious BBQ.

So yes, Virginia, there is wine tasting in CT and it is a pretty fun experience.

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31 Responses to Wine Tasting in Connecticut?

  1. sounds like fun. I enjoyed wine tasting in Napa but it wasn’t as educational as this.

  2. kford2007 says:

    Sounds like a wonderful, memorable trip. Glad you had fun. I’m like you. I lean more towards the sweeter wines. I personally love the Schรคfer-Frรถhlich Nahe Bockenauer Felseneck Spรคtlese 2007 (I had to look up the spelling of it) ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s full of apricot and floral aromas, very light weight and full of energy. There’s a burst of flavor at the end that makes you want more. Love it. It’s a little expensive for me, around $40, so I only get it on special occasions. If you ever feel like it, try it out and let me know what you think.

    • Ooh that sounds like the bottle to buy when I get some good news on the book front. ๐Ÿ™‚ Delicious description. At some point, I’d love to go wine tasting in upstate NY (Finger Lakes)–they are known for sweet dessert wines and ice wines.

  3. I love staycations and this sounded like a good one! The only time I was in Connecticut was in 2000 when I was cutting an album (CD :)) at the New England Power Station. We were staying in Mystic. What a beautiful place (and the pizza was GREAT)!

    • My parents have 3 golden retrievers and I have a little dog mix so family trips are a bit tough to finagle. I was 17 when I went off the college so I never learned about the wine trails here. We also made it down to Gillette Castle, which is really cool to visit.Mystic is gorgeous. LOL, I remember that movie Mystic Pizza frome a while back.:)

  4. Elliot says:

    Got to like a bit of wine tasting. I live in California, and have done the tourist Napa / Sonoma areas, but not much of the pacific coast ones yet. There have been some fun times, although I would agree, I can rarely taste all the flavours.

    One of my favourite times was actually for a wine I did not like. My wife and I were trying to hang back so we could ditch it in a plant pot. There were another couple also hanging back. After several comedy style “after you” moves, both couples realised we were trying to ditch the wine. Thankfully we have tasted some good ones.

    • Nice! I’m heading to Napa in 2 weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad to hear I’m not the only one who hasn’t tasted the oak or the berries. Love how politely you both tried to hide your ditching of a less than lovable wine. perfect for a scene in a book too.

      • Elliot says:

        We visited a few in Napa. At the time I enjoyed the Beringer tour. Sonoma valley is the more picturesque. If you get chance, Sonoma itself is worth a visit.

        • We’re doing a coastal drive up from LA and only spending one full day in Napa. We opted for Hess and Hendry wineries. My friend did Beringers before so he wanted to try other ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Elliot says:

            The coastal drive, especially through the big sur stretch is beautiful. Prepare to pull over for photos often.

          • We only did San Diego to Santa Barbara a while back. Jonesing to see more of it. I am bringing my camera battery recharger because I am known to snap 1,100 pictures in a week on vacation. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Elliot says:

            We have elderly relatives in Santa Barbara (for my son his Great, Great Grandma) so we visit there every few months. Further North it gets much more beautiful. You will love it.

          • Can’t wait to see it! Santa Barbara was lovely. How nice to visit on a regular basis. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    I was wondering why Grandma H wasn’t tagging along. But after reading about Aunt C’s tree-biting, it appears you had your wacky bases covered. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. 4amWriter says:

    Sounds wonderful! I like wine on occasion, but I have to be careful and drink quality wine otherwise I get a massive headache.

    When I lived in France for a student exchange program, we spent a day working at a vineyard. Now that was super cool!

    My uncle owns a very small vineyard in Pennsylvania. My cousins visit him each year to help with all the tasks that go along with upkeeping a vineyard. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a one-man show. He loves to do it now that he’s retired. He spends his days golfing and making wine. His wine is…well, let’s just say he’s learning! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • What I like about the tastings is its such a small quantity if you don’t like a wine no remorse tossing it in the spittoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I admire your uncle for starting a winery. Practice practice practice. What a fun retirement.

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    My husband and I were in Napa last Octobers for part of our vacation. We didn’t even rent a carโ€”not with daily wine tastings and wine at dinner! But you can walk to tasting rooms in town, and we took the Wine Train one day and a chauffeured bus tour another. It was a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My friend lives in LA so we are doing a drive up the coast. We plan to do a tour and tasting. Eat a picnic lunch and then do one more tasting. ๐Ÿ™‚ It sounds really fun to do the wine train. Sadly we only have one day. Hope we have as much fun as you did! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. EllaDee says:

    Very interesting. I love the buildings, and I love wine, any wine unless it is overly sweet. The buildings look very Connecticut-y to me. I would proably have loved the white your Dad didn’t. We have a few well known name wine regions in Australia but lesser known but very good boutique vineyards and regions are now becoming very popular and successful, offering their own “goรปt de terroir”.

  9. Lovely! Aren’t those somewhat unexpected adventures fun? The honey nut apple sounds amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. quindalina says:

    Amazing! My parents live in Washington, which is about 20 min from Litchfield, Connecticut. I have never even thought about doing a wine tour, but looks like it might be worth it!

    • LOL. If you’re looking for a fun staycation for them, that’s definitely it. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a few wineries up in that area too. We only made it to two of them. CT skews toward whites and has more sweets than California wineries. But if they like whites, they’ll definitely enjoy it.

  11. That’s awesome! My hubby and I just recently went on another bunch of Niagara wine tours and loved every second…nothing quite like getting an inside look (and taste!) of a vineyard/winery! I had no idea there were any in Connecticut! Must add to our “to do” list right away ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers, my friend!

    • Oh that sounds fun? Were you near the Finger Lakes–I heard they have terrific dessert wines. It’s really fun, though Napa provided an amazing opportunity to tour and taste at a family winery–Hendry. I fell in love with the wines and the owner. I’ll definitely be placing orders with them in the future. Cheers!

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