Happy 30 Years to Stonington Vineyards

On July 22, it was a gorgeous day to be at Stonington Vineyards and help them recognize 30 years.

When I arrived at the vineyard around noon, the party was in full swing. Tents were set up, cars were parked in rows and rows on the lawn, people were setting up picnics with chairs, blankets and tents of their own, displaying their coolers and snacks and sipping Stonington Vineyards’ wine.

As advertised on their website, “We’ll supply the party hats and chilled wine, but be sure to bring your dancing shoes.”

A DJ was spinning tunes in the gazebo; a large white tent held an outdoor tasting bar with four tasting stations. All I had to do was venture into the air conditioned main building to the tasting bar and pick up my ticket for the tasting. The party hats were indeed sitting on the bar countertop with banners spelling out “Happy Birthday” strung up along the bar. As I made my way back outside, a basket of noisemakers was on a table on the deck for me to pick up and take with me along with my wine glass, ticket and party hat.

As I walked up to the outdoor tasting bar, I was greeted by Kylie, one of the Stonington employees who I’ve had the great pleasure of befriending over my frequent visits to the vineyard. She welcomed me saying, “Hello, friend!” and proceeded to start me on my tasting. There were five wines to try.

We started with the 2014 Sheer Chardonnay, which is aged in steel tanks vs. in oak barrels so it’s got a lighter taste than a traditional full bodied Chardonnay. The next wine was their 2014 Riesling. It was refreshing with a hint of tropical fruit. The Seaport White, a fan favorite, was the next white I tasted. It was an off dry white with a bit of fruit flavor. As we moved towards the reds, the 2016 Triad Rosé was the next wine to try. It had a beautiful bright pink color and, as I’ve been told by Kylie before, it pairs well with bacon or smoked salmon. And last but not least, I tasted their 2014 Cabernet Franc which was medium bodied with a hint of oak, and apparently it pairs well with S’mores! I haven’t tried that recommendation yet, (thanks Kylie) but I can’t wait to in the fall!

During my time at the tasting bar, I chatted with Kylie and a few of the other attendees of the event. People had ventured from parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and other local areas to check out Stonington, try the wine and join in the celebration. It is definitely a great place to stop at along the shoreline; always welcoming and their wine selection offers something for everyone.

After I finished my tasting, I ventured over to Thistle + Reed’s mobile boutique. The owners, Marisa O’Brien and Shannon Pecorelli, have brought their “fashion truck,” to Stonington Vineyards for other winery events in the past. It was a cute set up with a variety of women’s fashions, jewelry and accessories to shop inside of the truck.

When I had finished shopping, I went inside to the tasting room to buy a glass of wine to sip as I perused the grounds, the vines and listened to the music. As I made my purchase of Seaport White, I happened to see Happy Smith, the owner of the vineyards. I let her know what a wonderful event this was and wished her congratulations on such a historic milestone in the life of the winery. She was gracious and said she was having such a great time as well.

I ventured back outside with my wine and noticed that on the deck, right outside the tasting room, were large boards decorated as “Instagram posts” (Instagram is a social media app for sharing pictures and videos) that had a cut out so you could stand behind it, have your picture taken at Stonington Vineyards and all the “hashtags and likes” for the event were already captioning the post. What a fun idea! I made sure to ask Kylie to take my picture when she had a moment free from her place at the makeshift tasting bar.

To nosh while drinking, there were several food trucks set up on the lawn behind the tasting bar for people to place orders and then take to their setups on the grounds to enjoy with the wine. Corn hole boards were set up on the lawn for people to play and have fun in the vineyard as well. I wandered for a bit to take a closer look at the vines, listen to the music and just enjoy my cold wine on a warm summer day. After a while, I ended up back at the outdoor tasting bar and chatted with Kylie and some of the other winery employees. Everyone was very nice, accommodating and helpful.

As the afternoon came to a close I said my farewells to Kylie and her co-workers, and left on my journey home. I will certainly be back to see everyone again soon and enjoy some wine at Stonington Vineyards. I recommend stopping in to see them, to wish them Happy 30 Years, and to toast them with their delicious wine. You won’t be disappointed!

Upcoming summer events at Stonington Vineyards:

Fridays in August – Summer Concerts at 6:00pm.

Movie Night on the Lawn at the Vineyard – August 26, 7:30pm. Come see comedy classic Bridesmaids on the lawn!


Michelle Griffis

Michelle “Shel” Griffis is an avid wine enthusiast from West Hartford, CT. By day, she works in healthcare communications. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting vineyards and learning about wine, solo or with friends; taking walks, spending time with the people she cares about, and watching HGTV for interior design inspiration.

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