Traveling on the Connecticut Wine Trail​: Visiting CT Wineries

While it may be quite a ways from Napa Valley, Connecticut has carved out a respectable place for itself among wine critics and wine fans visiting New England. Though people have been growing grapes in Connecticut since our nation’s founding, Connecticut wineries have garnered particular acclaim and attention from visitors since they united to create the Connecticut Wine Trail in 1988. This rambling scavenger hunt for curious palates and thirsty travelers covers 25 Connecticut wineries, from the Housatonic River Valley to the Litchfield Hills, and all the way down to the shoreline. Connecticut wineries benefit from the state’s relatively flat topography and moderate climate — at least by New England standards. 

Entrance to the White Silo Farm & Winery, East Sherman, Connecticut.Connecticut wineries offer just about every kind of wine, and grow grape varieties including Reisling, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Sedal Blanc, and Vignoles. Whether you’re a connoisseur with a refined palate, or a novice looking to enjoy a glass (or three), Connecticut wineries abound in this beautiful, varied and accessible New England state. Grab a designated driver and a road map (though it’s hard to get lost, thanks to blue road signs guiding the way between Connecticut wineries) and hit the road! Here are some of our favorites from along the Connecticut Wine Trail

Land of Nod Winery - Starting your Connecticut wine tour in the northwest corner of the state makes for a beautiful introduction. Land of Nod Winery sits at the foot of the Berkshires on a farm that dates back over two-hundred years. Tour the grounds, sample wines, and even peruse the high-quality wool for sale from the farm’s own Corriedale sheep. After a few glasses, cozy in for the night at the nearby Interlaken Inn.

Rosedale Farms and Vineyard - This Connecticut winery and farm in Simsbury goes back in the family for five generations. They produce a crisp Sauvignon wine and a bright and spicy Merlot with fruity tones from local blackberries. Rosedale Farms and Vineyards also coordinates chef-to-farm dinners, a corn maze, and their very own lobster festival. After you’ve uncorked a few, unwind at Avon Old Farms Hotel just down the road.

Chamard Vineyard and winery in Connecticut.Gouveia Vineyards - This winery and vineyard is run by Joe Gouveia and his wife. Mr. Gouveia hails from a small village in Portugal and his methods adhere to many Portuguese winemaking traditions. Their Epiphany Reserve, a velvety after-dinner wine, won the Double Gold at the Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition. This idyllic locale in Wallingford is right down the road from Paradise Hills Vineyard and Winery, and just quick drive from the stately Inn at Middletown.

Chamard Vineyards - Your next stop on the Connecticut Wine Trail is near the sandy shores at Chamard Vineyards, a traditional Connecticut winery that enjoys breezes up from the Long Island Sound. In addition to offering a wide variety of French-influenced wines, Chamard gives guests the opportunity to create their own "custom crush." Select your own grapes and vineyards, design your own label, choose from a variety of oak barrels, and even bottle your creation yourself! After a long day of winemaking and wine drinking, enjoy sunset over the Sound from the Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook.

Bishop’s Orchards - This classic New England farm was started in 1871 and to this day, offers a little something for everyone. Wine tastings feature several award winning offerings as well as hard cider pressed from the orchard’s apples. The Madison Beach Hotel is a great resting point near Bishop’s Orchards, located just a few minutes down the shoreline.

Holmberg Orchards - This family-run orchard, farm market and winery goes back four generations, located in the bucolic hills of Gales Ferry. This Connecticut winery has more on the vine than just grapes and apples — pick-your-own patches of peaches, raspberries, nectarines, tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash are also on-site. The wine list includes off-white fruit wines, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Preston Ridge Vineyard and Maugle Sierra Vineyards, which offers live music, are right next door as well, so this is one great stop for checking three must-visit vineyards off the list in quick succession. After a trifecta of tastings, rest your weary bones at Stonecroft Country Inn.

Whether you’re visiting Connecticut for the day, the weekend, or the week, exploring the state via the Connecticut Wine Trail is a great way to experience the landscape, the flora, and the craftsmanship that make the state so special. It’s enough to put Connecticut wineries on every New England itinerary!

You might also like: 
- Connecticut History Tour: A Guide to Historic Coastal Sights
5 Great New England Distilleries You Should Try

Photos courtesy of Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau.