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.
According to Trail-goers, the five vineyards with the “Best Wine” on the Connecticut Wine Trail are as follows:
5. Jonathan Edwards Winery, North Stonington, CT
The wines at Jonathan Edwards Winery, in North Stonington, CT, are unique in the fact that the winery has a “Bi-Coastal” relationship with Napa Valley. Each year grapes are brought from Napa Valley, and made into delicious Jonathan Edwards Wine.
“Here at Jonathan Edwards, we have the opportunity to make wine from both the West and East coast, which helps to distinguish our wines from many of the other wines on the trail” says Daniele Brandt, tasting room operator at the winery.
“All of our wines are popular, says Brandt, but in the summer months, our Sauvignon Blanc is probably our biggest seller. It is light, crisp, refreshing, and cools you off on hot New England summer days.
4. Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Pomfret, CT
Receiving over 350 awards for their delicious wines, Sharpe Hill Vineyard has over 14 unique wines to choose from. Their ‘Ballet of Angels’, which is a fruity, semi-dry, refreshing white wine, was the biggest hit among poll takers. In addition to their extensive wine list, Sharpe Hill is also a fine dining establishment, and was included in Connecticut Magazine’s “50 Dishes to Try Before You Die” countdown.
3. Sunset Meadows Vineyards, Goshen, CT
Sunset Meadows Vineyards strives to make their wines enjoyable and memorable for both the wine connoisseur, as well as those with a more casual appreciation for wine. With many awards under their belt, and plenty of wines to choose from, Sunset Meadows Vineyards scored an impressive 9.6 on the combined surveys. Also a sign that their wines were fantastic, was the amount of empty bottles the group of ladies sitting next to me had on, and under, their table.
According to the poll takers, the Cayuga White, a crisp, clear, fruity wine, was by far the favorite wine from the vineyard.
2. Preston Ridge Vineyard, Preston, CT
Not only does Preston Ridge offer a unique array of delicious, well-balanced wines, but their tasting room was full of visitors asking for more. The Fieldstone White was mentioned by just about every visitor as being their favorite wine, and nearly every group had a bottle (or two) on their table. Whether you want a crisp white, a refreshing rosé, or a full bodied red, you will be able to find what you are looking for, and much more, at Preston Ridge.
1. Chamard Vineyards, Clinton, CT
Voters chose Chamard Vineyards as having the best wine on the Connecticut Wine Trail. Established in 1983, Chamard has the art of winemaking down to a science, and continues to make strides in the world of wine. Now open year round, Chamard Vineyards is the number one stop if you want to taste the best wines that Connecticut has to offer. Their five estate wines, particularly their Cabernet Sauvignon, are a perfect example of the potential that Connecticut has to become one of the leaders of wine making in the United States. If you are going to join any Connecticut wine club, make it Chamard.