Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hilltop Orchards and Furnace Brook Winery

Dominique and the boys went out for a drive in the country, and crossed ovver the New York/Massachusetts boder, on our way to Tanglewood and Lenox, Mass, in the Berkshires. On our way we came across Hilltop Orchads, hich is home to the Furnace Brook Winery as we were passing through Richamond, MA.

So which is it? An orchard or a winery?

"We got the idea of starting a farm winery so that we could produce our Johnny Mash hard cider here at the orchard," writes John Vittori on the Orchard's website. "Once we invested in the winery equipment, we saw an opportunity to expand on our original plans."

The wonderful spot offers pick your own apples (21 varieties),free hay rides, organic produce, and wonderful baked goods, including cider, cider donuts, freshly baked pies, muffins, and breads.

And of course cider and wine.

The Vittoris established their winery in 1999, and have 200 acres, most of which are planted to apples. They produce 3,000 cases a year. The produce mostly dry classic wines and hard cider.

The first two most important are the ciders. The Furnace Cider is a wonder, off dry French-style cider, with a lovely touch of clove. Even in the middle of a hot humid July summer day, a sip of this chilled sparkling cider immediately brought to mind fall foliage and a desire to put on your favorite wool sweater. The other, served in beer bottles is the popuylar Johnny Mash hard Cider. This is a semi-sweet classic cider. With a look like champagne, and a wonderful taste, this was another excellent cider. What a find these two were on ahot summer's day.

They also made a wonderful reisling, a very nice muscato,, and a very drinkable light pinot noir. And a nice chardonnay to boot!

This is a lovely stop in the Berkshires, and if you're going up there...stop by and tell the Vittoris were told you to say hello!

Furnace Brook Winery
Rte 295, 508 Canaan Road, Richmond, MA 01254
Phone: (800) 833-6274 or (413) 698-3301 Fax: (413) 698-3262
Winemaker: John Vittori
Hours: Fri-Sun 9am-5pm, year round
Tasting: yes, no charge; Tours: groups by appointment