After four months of visiting beautiful wineries, and tasting all the delicious wines they have to offer, the following is an extensive list of the key players on the Connecticut Wine Trail with reasons why any wine lover needs to make them a high priority when visiting the Trail. It was a terrible job, but somebody had to do it.
Upon arrival at each of the vineyards, visitors were approached and asked to share their opinions of the vineyard’s wines, atmosphere, and overall experience in this survey. Much like the Connecticut Passport format, they were asked to rank the vineyard on a 1-10 scale in each of the categories. If the visitor did not have a passport, they were given a small piece of paper that asked for the same information.
13 day and weekend trips, hundreds of glasses of wine, and countless new wino friends later, the people of the CT Wine Trail have spoken.
The five vineyards that earned the voters choice as having the “Best Atmosphere” on the Connecticut Wine Trail are as follows:
5. Jones Winery, Shelton, CT
As their website claims, Jones Winery is a “true treasure for all Connecticut residents and visitors to cherish and enjoy” and voters agreed. Of the 12 people that took part in the poll, eight of them gave Jones Winery a “10” when it came to their scenic environment.
4. Miranda Vineyard , Goshen, CT
Their motto is “arrive as a visitor, return as a guest.” Voters in the poll agreed that they felt like a welcome guest, as Miranda Vineyards received the fourth best rating out of all 25 vineyards on the trail. While their tasting room may leave a little something to be desired, their outdoor deck overlooking the vineyards makes for a relaxing environment, and nearly every visitor spoke highly of their warm hospitality and pleasant staff.
3. Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford, CT
“The view from outside the tasting room at Gouveia Vineyards” is breathtaking”, says John Andrews, Gouveia Vineyards visitor, and wine aficionado. “I have been to every vineyard on the trail, and hundreds of other vineyards around the country, and world, and you would be hard pressed to find many other vineyards with such a beautiful view as Gouveia” says Andrews.
2. Haight-Brown Vineyards, Litchfield, CT
The goal of Haight-Brown Vineyards is to “erase the intimidation factor of wine, and make it a drink that everyone can enjoy.” To help them in this feat, they have wine classes, rather than just tastings. Also, their staff is extremely helpful, educated, and friendly, and the seating at their tasting bar makes Haight-Brown almost feel like “a gathering with friends rather than strangers” according to one poll taker. Haight-Brown is basically the Cheers of the Connecticut Wine Trail; by the end of the tasting everybody will not only know your name, but also your favorite wine.
1. Saltwater Farm Vineyards, Stonington, CT
One of the newest vineyards on the trail, is also the most stunning of all the vineyards in Connecticut according to the poll. Beth Abbiati, tasting room manager at the vineyard, says
“We often have people come from hours away just to visit our winery, because they have heard such amazing things about our scenery. We also have been voted one of the “50 Most Romantic Wedding Venues” in the entire U.S. according to Brides Magazine.
The venue, which served as an old World War II era private airport, still looks like an old airport hangar from the outside. And beyond the hangar, the acres of perfectly attended land makes for an unforgettable visit to the most scenic vineyard in the state.
It should be noted, that of the 25 vineyards, only two received an overall score of less than 6.5, and seventeen vineyards/wineries had an overall score of 7.5 or better.
No matter whether you are a sommelier, or someone that is new to wine drinking and visiting vineyards, the Connecticut Wine Trail offers a unique blend of fine wines that should be savored, and drinkable wines that will have you out of your seat and getting in line for another glass (or bottle).