Saturday, June 17, 2006

Connecticut Wine Trail

When I worked in a wine store less than 10 years ago, we, of course, sold wine from many different countries around the world but only two from Connecticut. At the time there were eight wineries in the state, but the owner believed he could recommend wines from only two.

That's probably not surprising to many wine collectors, since the Northeast is not exactly known for producing serious wines. Frigid, snowy winters; wet springs; and humid summers make it a challenge just for the vines to survive, let alone produce ripe fruit.

Among my wine-swilling friends, few know anything about the wineries located in their own back yards, so consumed are they by the chase for great California cabs, Oregon pinot noirs and jewels such as Barolo and Bordeaux. If they do, their experience covers but two or three state wineries.

Connecticut's promotional wine trail website boasts there are now 16 wineries in the state. According to a local winemaker we met recently, the number is now 19, though the state's website apparently has not yet caught up to this fact. This may not seem like many to folks living in Washington, New York or Oregon, but it's a virtual explosion in winemaking around here.

This trend has me wondering, is this expanding interest due principally to an increasing number of hobbyists anxious to become a part of an emerging wine lifestyle in the U.S., or is Connecticut finding its respectable niche in the winemaking world? After all, Long Island is producing some fine merlots and cabernet francs, and the Finger Lakes region of New York is producing some fine white wines and sweet wines. And they're relatively close by.

I'm truly anxious to find out the answer to this question, so I've decided to hit the road this summer and try each one. Don't expect to hear about cabernets or syrahs. Apart from the occasional merlot or chardonnay, you're far more likely to read here about seyval blanc, vignoles and marechal foch. Could be fun; it certainly will be an education.


Blogger Trish said...

Fun project!

Ohio has close to 100 wineries, but it too has some rather serious climate handicaps working against it. Still, I think wineries are so popular here because people love the experience of going to a winery, getting a tour, ordering a cheese plate and kicking back over a bottle of wine.

Can't wait to hear about your trips!

Can't wait

7:20 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Thanks. I agree. It's all about the experience.

8:57 AM  

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