Napa Valley, Tuscany, Bordeaux. Those are all places that feel like the major spots to go if you want to tour vineyards.
But you don't have to travel thousands of miles to do so. There are some great vineyards and wineries in your own backyard.
One of those regions is the Connecticut wine trail.
This is a collection of 40 different vineyards that cover:
- Great Hartford/River Valley
- Litchfield Hills
- Fairfield County
- Greater New Haven
- Mystic Country
If you live in or around Harford, there are dozens of wineries within an hour's drive. There are so many great ones to choose from that you may want to plan several trips.
I've primarily toured the Northwest vineyards, and they are a very unexpected gem.
The natural foliage of the region makes for a perfect landscape and setting for wineries. Among many great wineries, some include:
- Rosedale Farms and Vinyard
- Brignole Vineyards
- Hopkins Vinyard
- Lost Acres Vineyard
- Crystal Ridge Winery
But heading over to ctvisit.com/trail/wine will give you the rundown on all the great wineries in the region
What to Expect From These Wineries
Touring the vineyards and landscapes will probably be your main priority, but these wineries offer a lot more including tastings and wine education.
These locations can be used for events such as weddings and can create the perfect backdrop for a dream wedding.
Foodies will love the option to dine at many of the vineyards where the food will of course be perfectly paired with their own wines.
Many offer courses on how to pair wine with food but the proprietors are always happy to share information.
Another great option is to bring your own picnic so you can enjoy the setting. That's what I did when I toured some of the wineries.
But you also have the option to buy snacks as many of the wineries will sell cheese, chocolate, meats, and breads. All of which can go perfectly with their wines.
When to Go?
Most of the grape harvest in Connecticut will take place around late August to mid-September. This is a great time to visit as the leaves are also starting to change colors.
This creates an even more picturesque experience. In the fall, some of these vineyards are also growing other fruits and vegetables which are also available for you to pick.
But the spring/early summer is another great time to visit. With the weather warming up, the trees and flowers are starting to bloom and the wine tours become even more enjoyable.
Wine tasting isn't limited to any specific season. In fact, many new wine vintages are being released right around now making this one of the best times to visit.
Wine tasting is the perfect outdoor activity that you can share with friends and family.
You may really be amazed at the quality of some of these wineries. Several of them have buildings that wouldn't look out of place in Tuscany or different regions in France.
Some are bigger operations, while others have a smaller, more rustic farm-like feel to them.
The landscapes are, of course, incredible, especially as the seasons change. I've spent years living in Northwest Connecticut and I had no idea that there was such a great winery experience nearby.
It turns out that a few great wineries were only a 20-minute drive away and it made for the perfect day out.
The owners of the wineries are all friendly, personable, and very educating on some of the finer points of wine.
You learn more about how to taste and appreciate different wines and find out which ones you like best.
If you are a wine lover, you need to take advantage of all these great vineyards that are in your own backyagreatrd.