Best Bets: Sipping Points
DIAMOND HILL VINEYARDS, CUMBERLAND
Claire and Peter Berntson have revived the old New England tradition of making wines from local fruits (their portlike blueberry varietal pairs well with dessert cheeses). Diamond Hill doesn’t give tours, but you can taste any of its wines for free. 3145 Diamond Hill Rd., Cumberland, 800-752-2505, favorlabel.com.
GREENVALE VINEYARDS, PORTSMOUTH
This Victorian-farm-cum-vineyard planted chardonnay grapes in the ’80s and now produces about 3,500 cases of wines a year. Live jazz courses through the tasting room (a former stable) every Saturday night; eager pickers can lend a hand on the vines in late summer. $8 per tasting; 582 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth, 401-847-3777, greenvale.com.
LANGWORTHY FARM WINERY, WESTERLY
The scene is blissfully kid-free at the Langworthy and its accompanying nine-room B&B. That’s a good thing, since the main activity here is sipping wine—chardonnay, merlot, and Weekapaug white are standouts—and then sleeping it off in style. $10 per tasting; 308 Shore Rd., Westerly, 401-322-7791, langworthyfarmwinery.com.
NEWPORT VINEYARDS & WINERY, MIDDLETOWN
Ten minutes from downtown Newport, Aquidneck Island has the kind of rich, silty soil ideal for growing Landot Noir and muscat grapes. Tours and tastings take place daily at the sprawling, state-of-the-art property. For an extra $2, the winery will make you a custom label to paste onto one of its signature blends. $3 per tasting; 909 E. Main Rd., Middletown, 401-848-5161, newportvineyards.com.
SAKONNET VINEYARDS, LITTLE COMPTON
Sakonnet’s been making award-winning gewürztraminer and cabernet franc for 34 years. Tours are free, as is a seat in the open-air Coop Café. Glasses of the vidal blanc, filled with hints of apricot and almonds, though, you’ll have to pay for. From $4 per tasting; 162 W. Main Rd., Little Compton, 401-683-0620, sakonnetwine.com.
SHELALARA VINEYARDS & WINERY, COVENTRY
Springtime visitors can sneak an early sip at the area’s newest vineyard this May. Plans include a garden, koi pond, and wine list with 14 offerings, including a chocolate-and-cherry-tinged merlot. From $8 per bottle; 21 B Reservoir Rd., Coventry, 401-623-8606, shelalara.com.
Stonington’s two chardonnays are its biggest hits: One is made through traditional barrel fermentation; the other is an unoaked version infused with apple and pear. 523 Taugwonk Rd., Stonington, 860-535-1222, stoningtonvineyards.com.
SHARPE HILL VINEYARD & FIRESIDE TAVERN
A latitudinal location similar to Rome’s has helped this northeastern Connecticut winery bring home more than 230 medals from national and international wine competitions. We love the Red Seraph, a smooth and dry mix of merlot and St. Croix. Arrive 30 minutes before dinnertime to partake in $5 or $10 wine tastings. 108 Wade Rd., Pomfret, 860-974-3549, sharpehill.com.
One of about 20 vineyards in the state, this award-winning winery produces nine vintages and runs seminars, tours, and tastings. Sitting in its tasting room is like reclining in the drawing room of an elegant country estate. 115 Cow Hill Rd., Clinton, 860-664-0299, chamard.com.
JEWELL TOWNE VINEYARDS
Right on the southern state border, Jewell Towne produces reds and whites that will make you forget the many wrong turns you took en route. Guided tours and complimentary tastings are enjoyed in the winery’s art gallery. 183 Whitehall Rd., Amesbury, 603-394-0600, jewelltownevineyards.com.