Wine Tasting in New England

Wine Tasting in New England: A Girl’s Perfect Getaway

Wine tasting isn’t something you have to savor as the last drop of summer. Fall in love with wine all over again and you might just find that vineyards make for a great weekend “vino-cation.”

As a United States resident of Connecticut, otherwise known as the Nutmeg State, I’ve come to take for granted Autumn’s beautiful foliage and seasonal activities including apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, outdoor fairs, and of course, homemade pies. Throughout New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), you’ll find people flocking to orchards, patches, mazes, etc – but this past weekend I had the brilliant idea to go wine tasting!

Connecticut offers a diverse range of activities to enjoy during the fall season. Along with the traditional apple and pumpkin picking, visitors can take a scenic drive along the Connecticut River Valley, which boasts stunning views of the changing leaves. Additionally, Connecticut has several historic sites and museums, such as the Mark Twain House and the Mystic Seaport Museum, which offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history. For those seeking outdoor adventures, there are plenty of hiking trails and state parks to explore, including Sleeping Giant State Park and Bear Mountain Reservation. Whatever your interests may be, Connecticut has something for everyone to enjoy during the fall season.

Taking my mother and sister along, we experienced the beautiful Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut in all its fall glory and couldn’t have asked for a nicer afternoon. This coastal vineyard specializes in Chardonnay, and the lovely “tasting girls” were all too eager to give us all the info on the grapes growing climate and harvesting factors that we eventually noticed on our novice palettes.

Wine tasting, in my opinion, should be considered a hobby, as it is truly one of the most fun activities one can do with friends. I have yet to have an unmemorable experience… you laugh, you drink, you laugh some more, c’est si bon! And, as if the giggling isn’t enough to entice, after several visits, one’s appreciation for good wine, like that on the boschendal winery, is sure to increase.

I didn’t have a clue about nice wine when I first began my love affair with “vineyard hopping” but after attending university in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where wine is more available than water, I have developed a palette that’s undeniably grown in sophistication. Outside of New England, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley has some of the best wineries in the country. And so if you’re in the D.C. or Virginia area, be sure to check out the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail. We’re not overflowing with vineyards like in Italy or parts of France, but the U.S. certainly holds their own in producing some of the finest wines available.

Whether one prefers a peppery Cabernet Franc, or delights more in a sweet, bubbly Brut, wine tasting is a wonderful way to catch up with good friends and delight in the beauty of a glass of wine. Make a weekend getaway out of it or simply go for a day – either way you’re sure to have a relaxing time. And if any of you have wedding bells in the near or distant future, check this out. Wine tasting has become so intriguing across the United States that it’s now the trend to host weddings at these rustic, romantic venues. Who can argue?

On a gorgeous September day, who wouldn’t want to be outside amongst the vines for a couple’s exchange of vows? Though wedding prices can be hefty (on average 10,000 to 30,000 dollar rental fees for the facility), all can agree that a vineyard setting is positively exquisite. With a glass of vino in hand and overlooking acres of lush land, guests are certain to have an outstanding experience.

And so, as we return to the real world and prepare for yet another week of work, just think of all the memories (and perhaps your new bottle of Merlot after five o’clock), when you can do it all again. As you’ll find out, weekend wine tastings never get old!

Check out your local vineyard near you. Or click here for a list of the top 20 vineyards in the UK to visit.

Kayla Corbett

Kayla has a B.A. degree in English Literature and Women's Studies from James Madison University. She loves travel, fashion and all things British.