Team's Favorite: Vineyard
Connecticut isn’t necessarily known for its wineries, but there are a few of local gems that are as beautiful as they are unique. Definitely not as refined as Napa valley, CT wineries have a blue collar feel that makes them really fun places to visit, especially when there is some nice weather. We even have the CT wine trail, which is really just a path leading you through 25 different wineries in CT that stretch from Northwest Litchfield county all the way to Stonington on the Rhode Island border. You can find a map of the wineries here: http://www.ctwine.com/wineries-and-vineyards/trail-map/. Given the diversity of the vineyards in the state, we did not have a shortage of wineries to choose from. See what our team said!
Paul Morrone, CFP ®, CPA, MSA
When we were talking about our favorite local winery, there really wasn’t much consideration on my end as to what I was going to talk about. In September of 2014, I got engaged at Chamard Vineyard in Clinton, it was a natural choice that will always hold a special place in my heart. In stark contrast to many of the wineries in Napa and Sonoma that stretch as far as the eye can see, Chamard is almost a nondescript place off of a secondary road not far from the Clinton Crossing outlets. From the street, you can see some of the vines, but the real magic happens when you turn onto the driveway towards the old stone house that serves as the tasting room and restaurant. Here you can see a couple of acres of well-manicured vines surrounded on all sides by tall maple and oak trees. In the fall, it is absolutely stunning as you can see from our engagement photos which were taken in late October. Oh, and the restaurant is great as well, definitely make some time to have the food there and sit on the balcony overlooking the vineyard with a glass of wine after your meal.
Tom Morrone, Principal, CFA®, CPA
When pondering a favorite vineyard my thoughts immediately go to the hills of Tuscany. When talking about vineyards in CT you are in an entirely different category and we are talking about convenience. In the Wallingford hills you have the Gouveia Vineyard. The views are amazing and there is always a nice breeze. High in the hilltops, you can see 360 degrees and no commercial buildings will be obstructing your views and you would never know you were in CT. The wines are not anything to brag about but it definitely provides an escape from the daily grind and the hustle and bustle. Other than items to drink, you are allowed to bring whatever food items you like on to the property. Gouveia is a great local vineyard right in our backyard that provides a wonderful backdrop to taste some local wines and have a bite to eat with some friends. Bring a pizza, a bucket of chicken, a block of cheese and a bunch of grapes and you have all the makings of a great happy hour.
Barbara Gode-Office Manager
The Haight-Brown Vineyard is my favorite Connecticut vineyard because it offers a variety of events besides just wine tasting. The first time I visited Haight-Brown was 2 years ago in the Fall during a visit to the Lourdes of Litchfield Shrine nearby. In my opinion, the Fall is the most scenic time to visit this vineyard as the Litchfield Hills are painted with the beautiful colors of the season. The rustic barn type facility which houses events including wine tasting is small, but sits on 16 acres of breath-taking landscape. It is home to a Cheese Shop, Educational Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Pairing Classes, Wine making, Harvest Tours and Festivals, live music, hikes and many more activities throughout the year. I have yet to sign up for a Wine tasting Train Ride. The first visit to any winery usually includes a wine tasting (or should). My favorite on the list at Haight-Brown is “Big Red” a Cabernet. I never turn down an opportunity to enjoy a glass with friends on the vineyard’s outdoor deck. Why not pair it with a delicious cheese and a small Stonewall Kitchen jam from their gift shop? I must say…it is a bit of heaven on earth. Oh and by the way…the Cheese Shop sells a variety of unique gift-basket items for creating your own gift basket for any occasion…it is a nice way to say “thank you” (just saying). :)