Sunday, July 12, 2009

Maine Wineries Highlighted By Maine Sunday Telegram

Touring a Maine winery
Jun 28, 2009 05:54 AM
Lincolnville Winery offers tastings and instructions at two midcoast sites.
By BJ BANGS, Special to the Maine Sunday Telegram

A visit to the Cellardoor Winery & Vineyard offers an additional dimension to a vacation in midcoast Maine.

Cellardoor, about 5 miles from Camden Harbor, offers wine tasting, cooking and wine-making classes. The relaxing atmosphere that has the feel of Europe and California wine country with views of the vineyards in the distance takes in a bit of Maine history in the renovated post and beam barn.

Depending upon the timing of the visit, you will also be greeted by weekly entertainment, outside hiking possibilities and a gift shop full of wines made at Cellardoor and offerings of local chefs.

On the Maine Midcoast Wine Trail, Cellardoor is considered one of the pioneers in vineyards and winemaking in Maine. They make their wine from actual grapes, versus syrup, according to Bettina Doulton, owner operator, who says no two wines are the same. They use stainless steel, old oak and new oak vats.

Doulton has hooked up with two local winemakers, Brian Smith and Aaron Peet. Endless hours of studying winemaking and years of experience result in many special blends.

The restored 1790s post and beam barn, located on 68 acres, has authentic beams, floors and an indoor silo are augmented by the horseshoe bar sitting on old wine barrels. With a huge sliding glass door overlooking a balcony on the back, visitors are greeted by the sheer beauty of Maine's oldest vineyard, and the Cameron and Levenseller Mountains. Arriving at the front of the winery, one would have no idea of what lies behind or inside the rustic facade. That's one reason Bettina moved the parking area to the rear.

There are three Maine Winery Guild Wine Trails, one in midcoast, one Down East and one in Southern Maine. Maine is home to 18 wineries.

Cellardoor makes nuclide whites, reds, blueberry, fruit, and very sweet wines. Wines from grapes grown in various regions have different tastes, said Doulton, and grapes aged in different types of vats make the difference.

"It's all in the blends," she said.

Cellardoor Winery at the Villa is the second retail site. The Villa is located in a historic Victorian, often referred to as the House that was Yellow, at Routes 90 and 1 in Rockport. Their Web site says the Little Yellow Villa is a "gateway to the Maine Wine Trail as we bring a taste of the Vineyard experience to Route One. Here, you can experience some of the wines, food pairings and gifts offered in full at the Lincolnville vineyard."

Doulton purchased the vineyard three years ago after years of being a financial analyst for a large Boston firm. She said she was look for something a little more fun than going through endless financial statements.

The renovations were ambitious, she says, "but with a lot of hard work and a few tears, we made it. The renovators were here late into the wee hours of the night to make it happen."

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BJ Bangs is a freelance writer compiling a series of stories of places to go and see that are off the beaten path. She lives in Phillips.