Day Trip

A Sunday Visiting the Connecticut Wine Trail | Holly McCartney

It’s a sub-sixty degree Sunday near the end of September. Connecticut trees display an amber hue, county fairs are winding down, and apple picking and corn mazes are all the rage. Blue Muse editor’s decided on another tradition to spend a fall afternoon: a trek down the Connecticut Wine Trail. I reluctantly volunteered for the assignment, and recruited my friend Garrit, a self-proclaimed “not wine guy,” as my second (and driver) to see if any fruity or dry spirit stop along the trail could change his mind about fermented grapes. We will be ranking the drinkability of each of our selections using a one to five wine glass scale, but you be the judge, they’re all pretty great!

Jerram Winery, New Hartford CT

Photo Credit: Holly McCartney

Located atop a hill in the quaint, Town Road section of New Hartford, this vineyard boasts eleven unique wines. Visitors are greeted by numerous grape vines attached to trellises, with woods on either side. Up the gravel driveway, visitors pass by a white tent, and three brown buildings, the last of which houses a small tasting room. The tasting room is reminiscent of a farmhouse from its teal shutters and white gate, to its well-worn bar top and smiling servers, both of which make patrons feel like they’ve returned home after a long day. Through a wine tasting, visitors will be introduced to six of the vineyard’s most  popular selections, including Jerram’s White Frist—a mild, yet oaky chardonnay, and their Nor’Easter—a red ending on notes of raspberry. Garrit likes the wine, but not enough to finish the glass he ordered. I, however, drained my glass. 

Garrit glasses: 🍷🍷

Holly glasses: 🍷🍷🍷🍷

Connecticut Valley Winery, New Hartford CT

Photo Credit: Holly McCartney

About a ten-minute drive from Jerram, Connecticut Valley Winery is located along Route 202 near the Torrington town line. A stone driveway leads visitors through eight planted acres of grape vines to a blue painted tasting room filled with the winery’s vast selection of fruity vintages. This winery features some of the most unique wines in the state. Offerings range from  Raspberry Delight—a raspberry dessert wine, to Just Peachy—a light fruity white predictably featuring peach notes. Visitors can enjoy the wines at a number of tables located throughout the property, and on the porch just outside the tasting room. One of the vineyard’s most unique options is its “Black Tie Cabernet Franc,” a dry red table wine that finishes with a hint of vanilla. Garrit likes the wine, but wants to hold out in case he finds something he “hasn’t tried before” later in the day. I’m not so picky and drank my entire glass! 

Garrit glasses: 🍷

Holly glasses: 🍷🍷🍷

Sunset Meadow Vineyard, Goshen CT

Photo Credit: Holly McCartney

A twenty-minute drive from Connecticut Valley, Sunset Meadow is located in Goshen. The largest vineyard in New England, SMV boasts locations in both Connecticut, and Massachusetts. This vineyard is a great choice for the health conscious, who prefer wines containing fewer sulfites—the use of which can lead to adverse health effects like hives and headaches. The vineyard itself is expansive, with over fifty acres of grape vines that lead uphill to a small tasting room reminiscent of an old general store. Visitors can enjoy a glass of one of the twenty one varieties Sunset Meadow produces, while simultaneously enjoying an offering from one of the vineyards array of featured food trucks from under a white tent, or at an outdoor table on the tasting room’s wooden porch. Among SMV’s most popular offerings is its Root 63 Red, a sweet blend of fruity red wines that pairs well with just about anything.

Garrit glasses: 🍷

Holly glasses: 🍷🍷🍷🍷

Miranda Vineyard, Goshen CT

Photo Credit:

“Thank God we’re almost done,” Garrit says as he soberly drives up the gravel driveway of Miranda past an array of trellis which lead ripened grape vines skyward. Guests pull up the driveway to a blue farmhouse with a large white porch. As they embark up the entryway steps leading to the entryway, they receive a greeting from the host, who will treat them like family, and encourage them to partake in a wine tasting. Garrit agrees—maybe because this is one of his last stops of the day—thankfully, the wine does not disappoint. One of the vineyard’s best offerings is its Miranda Chardonnay. This one lacks the notes of oak featured in the other wineries, and instead emphasizes notes of peach and apricot. It’s light and fruity, without being too sweet. “It’s the best!” Garrit declares as he finishes his glass, proving that this vineyard can appeal to anyone, even a diehard beer drinker. 

Garrit glasses: 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

Holly glasses: 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

Hawk Ridge Winery, Watertown CT

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About a twenty minute drive from Miranda, Hawk Ridge is part of Hidden Breeze Farm in Watertown. The winery’s fifty eight acre property is elevated, providing visitors with beautiful views of the Litchfield Hills. The vineyard boasts a selection of twenty different wines, all available in the enormous tasting room—the largest of the day. It is mostly wooden inside, and features a cozy, yet modern stone chimney. The winery’s most unique offering is a wine slushy. It changes monthly, and for September they’re pouring a caramel apple variety. It tastes like a cold apple pie, in the best way possible, and is topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle. The perfect substitute for the pumpkin spice latte. 

Garrit glasses: 🍷🍷

Holly glasses: 🍷🍷🍷

“It was actually an okay day,” Garrit says as he turns onto Route 202 headed toward home. The Connecticut wine trail can turn a self-described “not wine guy,” into somewhat of a wine enthusiast. The wineries are open weekends and during the week. Check the websites for hours and enjoy the trek down the trail.

Holly McCartney is a Staff Writer for the Blue Muse Magazine

Header Photo Credit: Holly McCartney

Blue Muse Magazine is a general interest literary magazine published by the students of the English Department at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. We publish poetry, fiction, and a gamut of creative nonfiction on anything and everything the blue muse inspires us to write.

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