Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
There's good reason this summer to discover the bounty and beauty of the Connecticut Wine Trail. The Wine Country Passport, available free at all of the w ineries on the trail, can be the ticket to a spectacular faraway trip. The passport is also available in advance by writing or e-mailing the Northwest Connecticut Visitors Bureau (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By having the passport stamped at one of the 15 stops on the trail, vineyard visitors are entered in a drawing for one of three valuable prizes. Last year's lucky winners won six-day stays in luxurious Dolce resorts in Germany, Canada and California. The prizes for 2007 will be announced soon.
Following the blue Wine Trail signs through the Western Connecticut Highlands viticultural district in the leafy Litchfield Hills is a scenic start to a winery tour. Many of the seven vineyards in this area are located on historic farm properties, and offer picnic areas to add to the day's pleasures.
Starting in the wooded northern Litchfield Hills, visitors can discover the Jerram Winery on Route 219, on a hill above the Farmington River. Samples of Jerram's three white and three red varieties take place in a restored 1903 Arts and Crafts Creamery that also serves as a contemporary art gallery. The outside deck is a fine place to enjoy a picnic lunch with wine.
The state's oldest established winery, Haight-Brown Vineyard, overlooks Litchfield, a town famous for its fine Colonial homes. The first Chardonnay and Riesling grapes were planted in 1975 on land that had been a family farm. Haight offers free tours at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as tastings and the chance for a "Vineyard Walk." Picnickers can head out to the terrace or enjoy a variety of wines at the vineyard's newly renovated Tasting Bar.
Hopkins Vineyard is situated on a hilltop above the blue waters of Lake Waramaug. A family farm since 1787, the first Hopkins vines were planted in 1979 and the nineteenth century barn was converted to a state-of-the-art winery. In addition to red and white table wines, Hopkins produces sparkling wines, Rose, and a dessert wine. Wine tastings are offered and favorites can be ordered by the glass or by the bottle at The Hayloft, a wine bar with a stunning lake view.
Further south in Sherman, White Silo, a century-old dairy farm, makes fruit wines from the raspberries and blackberries grown on the property. Visitors are invited to tour the fermentation, bottling, and corking rooms located in a 1850s barn, to sample sweet or dry fruit wines, and admire work by local artists. The terrace is a fine place to enjoy wine, or a White Silo specialty, blackberry sangria.
DiGrazia Vineyards was established in 1978 with the planting of 45 acres of hardy French-American hybrid grapes. The winery located in Brookfield produces a wide variety of wines ranging from Burgundy styled dry, white wines to the more elegant dessert wines including white and red ports. Informal guided tours are given and Dr. DiGrazia is often found giving lectures on wine and health. Enjoy a glass of wine on the arbor patio with waterfall.
McLaughlin Vineyards in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, a 160-acre farm tucked into the hills, has been in the same family since the early 1940's. Here you can hike trails along the Housatonic River, and browse a selection of French-American hybrid wines from dry to semi-sweet. McLaughlin offers special events on weekends, from jazz or bluegrass concerts to talks on wine tasting.
A historic final stop is one of the newest vineyards, the Jones Winery, in Shelton. Jamie Jones, the sixth generation of Jones farmers on this land, planted the first grapes in 1999 and continues to expand each year. The farm's vineyard and berry harvests supply the makings for both traditional grape wines and specialty fruit wines. Six of these wines can be sampled in the tasting room located in the nineteenth century barn.
A visit to the eastern section of the Wine Trail along coastal Connecticut leads to eight more wineries and the chance to complete stamps in the passport and be in the running for the big prizes. For hours and driving directions to Litchfield Hills wineries, contact the wineries listed below. A map of both trails is available at www.ctwine.com. For more information, a copy of the Connecticut Wine Passport and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, write to the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (800) 663-1273 or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.
Digrazia Vineyards, 131 Tower Road, Brookfield, 203-775-1616; or check the Internet at www.digrazia.com.
Haight-Brown Vineyard, 29 Chestnut Hill Road (off Route 118), Litchfield, 860-567-4045; or check the Internet at www.haightvineyard.com.
Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road (off Route 45), New Preston, 860-868-7954; or check the Internet at www.hopkinsvineyards.com.
Jerram Winery, 535 Town Hill Road (Route 219), New Hartford, 860-379-8749; or check the Internet at www.jerramwinery.com.
Jones Winery, Jones Family Farms, 606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton, 203-929-8425; or check the Internet at www.jonesfamilyfarms.com
Land of Nod Winery, 99 Lower Rd., East Canaan, 860-824-5225. or check the Internet at www.landofnodwinery.com.
McLaughlin Vineyards, Albert's Hill Road, (exit 10 off I-84). Sandy Hook (Newtown) 203-426 -1533; or check the Internet at www.mclaughlinvineyards.com.
White Silo Farm and Winery, 32 Route 37 East, (off Route 7) Sherman, 860-355-0271; or check the Internet at www.whitesilowinery.com.