Saturday, October 31, 2009

ABC NEWS Says go to Connecticut for Great Wine!

The Connecticut wine trail boasts about 30 vineyards that offer unique wineries for weekend travelers, including Cassidy Hill in Coventry, seen here.

Eleanor Hong/ABC News
COVENTRY, Conn., Oct. 29, 2009

Fall is a great time to hit the Connecticut wine trail while you take in New England's foliage.

Wine from Connecticut? Yes indeed. Touring Connecticut's farm wineries is a great weekend excursion, right along with apple-picking and pumpkin patches. Most vineyards harvest their grapes this time of the year and host special events along with regular wine tastings and tours.
Connecticut currently boasts about 30 farm wineries across the state -- from Hopkins Vineyard in Litchfield County to Cassidy Hill in Coventry. The number has almost doubled since 2007.
Haight-Brown in Litchfield opened in 1975 and is one of the state's oldest vineyards. New additions include estate-bottling boutique Northwinds in Watertown, and Saltwater Farm Vineyard -- which has a WWII-vintage airport hangar -- in Stonington.

"In the current economy, I've been hearing that a lot of small businesses say they are hurting. I hear the opposite with wineries," said Jaime Smith, marketing representative for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. "Business is up and [it is] one of the busiest years.

"In a time where a lot of small businesses are closing, you have farm wineries that are opening and offering jobs, especially during harvest time when they might hire extra help," said Smith.
Winemaking is one of the fastest growing sectors of the local economy. Smith says Connecticut has varying "microclimates" that make it great for grape production.

Connecticut's agriculture department has an entire lab dedicated to grape production. From these experimentation stations, the scientists work with several farms, suggesting what grapes would grow best in their regions.

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