A Visit to the Vineyard

We all have that perpetual “bucket list” of things we want to see, do, or be before we give the bucket a final kick.  A visit to Italy has been on mine for a long time.  It doesn’t help that I’ve watched Under the Tuscan Sun numerous times (last time was just a few weeks back).  The ever eternal romantic in me wants to see the Amalfi Coast, tour the vineyards, stroll the market places, track down my roots and see where it all began.  With my Master’s Degree just about completed, maybe I can start thinking about that trip finally.  For now, I’ll settle for the ambiance of local get-away’s that until this past weekend have never seen.

For a taste of Europe, who knew that 20 minutes away were these fabulous vineyards with wine tastings, fields of grapes, and a cozy place to relax with friends and food.  Yes, I knew we had vineyards in Connecticut but haven’t been….until now.  We took a trip to Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford with some friends to see what I’ve been missing.

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The long driveway up to the Stone House had me in awe.  The Stone House itself was just beautiful with it’s exterior masonry finish and wood beams inside.  We took a tour of the vineyard and cellars with the owner Joe where we learned about the different grapes planted and used for making the delicious wines offered.  The cellar housed the stainless steel vats and barrels used for the fermentation and storage of the grape juice on its journey to being wine.

We learned interesting tidbits like the delicate cycle of temperatures used while the grapes fermented or the fact that authentic cork from the cork tree is not harvest-able until the trees are well past 25 years old.  Amazing that in just an hour a handful of people can fill a 1000 bottles of wine at the winery.

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The wine tasting itself was fun to say the least.  For $7, we each got to sample five different blends of wines from white to red.  Needless to say, the lightweight in me was feeling pretty good by the time I sampled the final wine.  Doesn’t help that I did this on an empty stomach!  We chose a bottle of wine to enjoy with our “picnic basket” dinner and wandered outside to find a table.

It was so peaceful overlooking the fields as we ate I can only wonder why I hadn’t done this sooner.  We ended our meal with locally grown strawberries covered in chocolate.

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With the sun setting over the vineyards, good food, wine, and company, this is a place to put on the must-visit list.  With a 2013 CT Wine Trail passport stamped at  just 16 of the 32 Connecticut vineyards, you could be eligible for prizes that include a trip to Spain.

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