On a somewhat sunny and chilly Sunday afternoon in January, a friend and I headed out to have a fun adventure. We decided to visit Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery in Wallingford. I had been to the winery a few years prior in the summertime and I loved the atmosphere and experience. I wanted to go back to enjoy this family-owned and operated establishment in the wintertime as well. And what better way to celebrate a Sunday afternoon then by trying some delicious wine?!
As we drove up to the winery around 1:15pm it was a beautiful sight, even snow covered. The vines were quiet.
When we entered the tasting room it was so inviting; beautiful calming colors, a wood burning stove and lovely images of wine and wine sayings adorned the whole space. The room was well-lit with both unique handcrafted lamps and natural light from all the windows.
There was one family enjoying some food and wine at a table and a pair of people at the bar; it made for an intimate and inviting ambiance. My friend and I walked up to the beautiful copper colored bar and prepared for our tasting. Upon our arrival at the bar we were informed that there was live music in a short time, so we decided to save ourselves a table by putting our coats on the backs of two bistro stools at a cozy table in the corner. After our tasting was over we could settle in at the table with our favorite glass of wine.
The tasting bar servers were so friendly and answered all of our questions. They really wanted us to learn about the wines and appreciate them as we tasted each one. We were given a tasting menu with six preselected wines to try for $10 and the option to try any other wines not offered during the tasting for an additional $2 per pour. We started with two whites – Temptation and Washington Trail White, and then moved into reds – Casa Rosso and Trio (a special blend). Our last two wines were award winners for the vineyard – Vino Bianco del Paradiso and Cayuga White. Paradise Hills grows their own white and red grapes for estate-grown wines, and also offers hybrid blends using some red grapes from California and Chile. Their wine list can be found on their website, and includes wine release dates and costs for wine by the glass and bottle.
As we finished up our tasting experience and got our 2017 CT Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail passes stamped, we ordered ourselves each a glass of red and headed to our “reserved” table. The singer had settled into the corner of the tasting room and he was playing mellow and inviting selections from Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Don Henley and many other popular musicians. Paradise Hills only recently has re-introduced live music in the tasting room on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
By 3:15pm the tasting room had filled up fast. The bar was hopping and most of the tables were filled with couples, families, and other assorted groups of friends and wine-lovers. It was such a relaxed, though at the same time energizing, environment. We definitely liked sipping on our wine, eating some of the snacks we’d brought with us, chatting and observing all that was going on around us.
I would certainly recommend making your way to Wallingford and visiting Paradise Hills Winery. The knowledgeable staff, the cozy atmosphere, and most importantly the WINE, all make the trip worthwhile. Follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their newsletter and blog for the latest!