Although wine tasting at a local vineyard may seem like an activity best enjoyed during the summer months, that’s simply not the case at Stonington Vineyards. Winter, spring, summer or fall, this vineyard truly has it all!
Indeed, I did first discover this local gem on a sunny late summer afternoon with my husband. We packed a proper picnic, sampled the goods, purchased a bottle and parked ourselves on the lawn for the duration of the afternoon. It was lovely and the wine we chose (a Cabernet Franc) was tasty.
The last couple of years however, my family has been heading to Stonington Vineyards for Mother’s Day and despite New England’s sorry excuse for spring weather, we’ve had a great time each year. There is always live music, plenty of lawn space, a family-friendly atmosphere and quality wine for the tasting. Personally, I love their Triad Rose, their signature Seaport White and their Cabernet Franc.
During the winter months, the party may move inside, but Stonington Vineyards is just as hopping. Although not for kids, their Annual Winter Music Series is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon this winter. The Series kicks off on January 4, 2020, featuring some of best solo acts in Connecticut. There’s no cover and outside food is welcome. The Series runs every Saturday in January, February and March from 2-5 p.m. and takes place indoors in the tasting room.
Other winter events include Yoga in the Tasting Room every Monday evening from 6-7:15 p.m. and their popular French Macaron and Wine Pairing event taking place this year on Thursday, February 13 from 6-8 p.m. The pairing consists of three Stonington Vineyards’ wines and specialty flavored French macarons from the famous Sift Bake Shop in Mystic. This popular event sells out every year, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Stonington Vineyards was established in 1987 by Nick and Happy Smith and are founding members of the Connecticut Wine Trail. For the past 30 years, winemaker Mike McAndrew has been honing his craft with a simple philosophy:
“Grow sound fruit, pick when ripe and make great wine.”
The vineyards are heavily influenced by their close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound and are best known for their barrel-fermented Chardonnay and proprietary blends Seaport White and Triad Rose. They also produce Riesling and Cabernet Franc. With a focus on quality not quantity, the majority of their wine is sold directly out of their tasting room with a select number of bottles available at fine wine shops and restaurants around CT and RI.
Aside from holidays, the vineyard is open year-round 7 days a week, with extended hours in the warmer months. There is a daily tour at 2 p.m. and tastings available throughout the day. Group tours and tastings are available by reservation, and private events can also be arranged.
In addition to the Connecticut Wine Trail, Stonington Vineyards is one of 13 vineyards along the Coastal Wine Trail. As such, visitors can get their “passport” stamped each year to be entered to win prizes.
Stonington Vineyards is located at 523 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, CT.