As the harvest season approaches, I can’t help but wonder how much the wine-faithful of Boston know about the local vineyards that are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. For those that are not in the know, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have some fantastic small production vineyards that should not be discounted. Loved by locavores and critics, wineries in New England are worth the drive for both their offerings and the beautiful scenery.
Let’s face it, there is no where prettier on earth than New England in the fall and a visit to one of the wineries will show you just how beautiful it is. Aside from the iconic scenery though, many people do wonder how it is possible to produce great wine in such a short growing season. Comparable to the weather in the Loire Valley in France, the Southeastern facing coastline allows the warm Gulf Stream waters to keep these vineyards growing into the fall. And it’s all in the grapes; Southern New England wineries are producing mostly white wine, and sparkling and cool weather reds. Only concentrating on vinifera varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, New England wineries are becoming rising stars in the wine world.
Now with that in mind, here are a few of my favorites that are a short drive from Boston:
Alfalfa Farm Winery Located at 267 Rowley Bridge Road in Topsfield, MA
Alfalfa Farm Winery is a family owned and operated vineyard that produces hand-crafted wines and hosts tasting events. Throughout the summer (until August 28), Alfalfa hosts weekend tastings on Sunday from 1-5 pm. Tastings expand in September until December to include Saturdays as well. Looking for something to do other than just taste the wine? Alfalfa loves to have volunteers help with their harvest! You get paid with a T-shirt, lunch and some wine.
Visit their website www.alfalfafarmwinery.com for information about volunteering and check out their local festivals coming up.
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery located at 417 Hixbridge Rd in Westport, MA
Westport Rivers believe that “Massachusetts’ grown wine is a blank canvas, begging for exploration and creativity.” Once you visit their farm you learn all about ancient and new techniques of winemaking and how Westport Rivers uses them both to produce flavorful, crisp, cleans wines that Massachusetts should be proud to call their own. Open for tastings Monday through Saturday from 11-5 pm; you should also check into their special tasting events such as barrel tastings of their Pinot Noir or Chardonnay! Not to mention they have an art gallery and give private tours/tastings…
Visit Westport’s website for more information about all of their events! www.westportrivers.com
Sakonnet Vineyards located at 162 West Main Rd in Little Compton, RI
This is a legendary vineyard because our very own Howie Rubin celebrated his nuptials at Sakonnet. Tours and tastings are not the only offerings in this beautiful setting. They have a separate, on-site B & B and offer cooking classes! Their “Master Chefs Series” is a series of several one-day classes with top chefs from Rhode Island and the Boston area, emphasizing the educational experience of combining food and wine. While you are there, you can have a romantic picnic among the vines. Just picture yourself….sitting with a glass of wine among the beautiful countryside that is divided by row after row of grapevines.
To learn more about tastings, cooking classes for events at Sakonnet visit their website: www.sakonnetwine.com
If you want more information about Wineries both along the coast and throughout the state here are some websites to check out:
Wine & Cheese Trail is now available too!