There are 25 wineries on the Connecticut Wine Trail offering everything from apple cider to zinfandel.
Here are five we like for their distinctive locations and delicious wines.
SHARPE HILL VINEYARD
One of the oldest wineries in the state, Sharpe Hill is a beautiful, historical property that includes a brick-red 1750 house and barn and the excellent Fireside Tavern. You can sip the signature Ballet of Angels in the rustic tasting room, on an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard, or in the whimsical “Monkey Lounge,” with its black-and-white checkerboard floor and parasol-wielding monkey lamps.
108 Wade Road, Pomfret, 860-974-3549, sharpehill.com. Fri-Sun tastings $10 and $15.
SALTWATER FARM VINEYARD
Housed in a 1930s airplane hangar with a vaulted roof, milled aluminum exterior, and massive timber trusses, Saltwater Farm overlooks the tidal marshes of southeastern Connecticut. Saltwater makes eight wines, including an unoaked chardonnay and a classic Bordeaux-style cabernet franc-merlot blend aged in French oak. This summer there’s live music on Thursdays from 5- 7 p.m. 349 Elm St., Stonington, 800-818-7258, www.saltwaterfarmvineyard.com. Wed-Sun tastings $10.
One of the state’s newest wineries, Preston Ridge is in its second full season. The tasting room in a soaring, light-filled barn provides panoramic views over the countryside. The winery’s most popular pour is Fieldstone White, made with Cayuga grapes; Mélange is a limited-vintage blend of cab franc and cab sauvignon geared toward serious red wine enthusiasts. In summer there’s live music Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. 100 Miller Road, Preston, 860-383-4278, www.prestonridgevineyard.com. Fri-Sun tastings $8.
With Dr. Paul DiGrazia at the helm, it shouldn’t be surprising that DiGrazia Vineyards specializes in “healthy” wines. Its signature Wild Blue, a port-style blueberry wine, boasts government-verified high antioxidant levels, and Honey Blush, a white wine with a touch of honey, has no added sulfites. Other varieties run the gamut from dry to sweet to spiced. In good weather, guests can taste by a waterfall at a pretty outdoor patio. 131 Tower Road, Brookfield, 203-775-1616, www.digraziavineyards.com. Daily through December, tastings $8.
Overlooking Lake Waramaug, Hopkins is a national bicentennial farm, meaning it has been in the same family for more than 200 years. A big red barn houses the tasting room (from which you can view the tanks and wine-making equipment) and a wine bar in the loft. In addition to a variety of red and white wines, Hopkins produces two sparkling wines made with the French champenoise method. 25 Hopkins Road, New Preston, 860-868-7954, www.hopkinsvineyard.com. Daily through October, tastings $8.50.
ELLEN ALBANESEEllen Albanese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.