Connecticut’s wineries produce lovely wines in the setting of quaint farmhouses. It is exceptionally beautiful in the fall or spring. It is a perfect way to spend a romantic day in Connecticut. I headed there for a girls’ day out in Connecticut at Jonathan Edwards Vineyards in fall right after harvest.
Our day at the Jonathan Edwards Vineyard was a wonderful girl’s day!
Our day was arranged by The Savory Grape/The Savory Affair in East Greenwich, RI. They provided transportation to the vineyards and planned an excellent day for us. The day started for us with a glass of wine, which continued as a theme throughout. We tried all the wines that they had, even a wine that was just released that day. The staff was happy and helpful, and all seemed proud to be working at the winery.
After sampling our wine in the tasting room, we headed outside to be among the plants. I love being around vines ripe with fruit in the summer, spring when mustard plants surround them, but there is something cool about them in the fall, with only a few straggling pieces of fruit left on the vines. Our tour was given by Susan Denice, who was funny and full of information. We learned about the differences in growing wine on the east coast and ways that this vineyard has overcome them.
The barrel room was a perfect setting for a fabulous lunch with wine pairing prepared by David Dadekian of Eat Drink RI, a company that supports Rhode Island’s farms and locally grown foods. All of the food was tasty and fresh, but we all went particularly crazy about David’s butternut pork chili- sweet and spicy and so good.
The winery has many types of oak barrels, such as American, French, and Hungarian, each of which gives the wine a different character.
Susan gave us an informative class inside the barrel room about what all these symbols mean on the barrels and wine bottles and how wine is produced. I have been to many vineyards and still felt like I learned a lot today.
It was a treat to have winemaker, Mike Harney, stop and see him press the grapes they had recently collected.
Next, we were fortunate to meet the vineyard’s winemaker, Mike, who had just brought in some grapes and showed us how the winery pressed them. I was sad he didn’t get all I Love Lucy with it but instead pressed them with a long stick. He spoke to us about yeast choices and imparted some knowledge on us about blending wines. This container is two tons of grapes and will yield about 100 cases of wine- sounds like a fun party.
One thing I learned today was how to read the label of wine bottles. Under the wine name is the year that the grapes were grown. It is significant because the weather and soil of that year significantly affect how the wine tastes. The place listed on the front of the bottle is where the grapes are grown and fermented and is called the wine’s appellation. If it said the United States, that would indicate that it was grown in many different states. Jonathan Edward’s wines either say Connecticut or a California appellation.
With dessert, we also got to try the vineyard’s port, Petite Sirah Dark. Port is my favorite drink, and I think they did a fabulous job with it. It was full and fruity but didn’t have too much of the sulfur bite.
We then split into teams to blend our own wine and name it. I felt like I was back in my microbiology class, playing with pipettes and beakers, but the result was much tastier than in school. We had a lot of fun and liked our result, although we came in second place. Sad- I wanted to win a bottle of the port.
I had a lovely fall day tasting and learning at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, CT.