Get Ready for the 2017 CT Wine Festival

Who’s Ready for the CT Wine Festival???!!!! Personally I can’t wait.

Every year some of Connecticut’s best CT Grown wine producers come together to celebrate their community and delicious wines. Every year I go home with a new love of CT Grown wine and usually a bag full of favorites.

This year the festival has a record number of wineries participating –  16 in total!  Along with the wineries there will be delicious local food, live music, and small business vendors. You can drink, eat, and shop your way around the festival while listening to some awesome music. It is a great day to browse and see some of the local gourmet options Connecticut has to offer.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE 

What to expect:

  • Grape stomp competition – on Sunday afternoon they have a grape stomp competition. It’s super fun! The winners win free wines from one of the local vineyards. Who doesn’t want to stomp grapes like Lucy?
  • Bring your Passport to CT Farm Wineries – You won’t be able to get stamps from all 16 winery participants, but the Passport does have a Wine Festival page!
  • Live music – Always a great compliment to wine
  • You are provided with a tote bag for wine purchases! This is perfect for taking home your favorite wines.
  • You get to taste New and Special releases from all 16 Wineries!!

Tips on How to Make the Most of the Festival:

  • Buy Grape Stomp Tickets before they sell out. Seriously it’s so much fun to participate. If you don’t get tickets in time make sure to go and cheer people on. It a lot of fun to watch.
  • Map out your favorite wineries –Since there will be so many wineries in attendance this year I would pick your top three wineries to stop at and then choose another three you have never tried. Then see where the day takes you after that.  Also, snacking and drinking water in between tastings will help! 😉
  • Wear comfortable shoes – You will be walking around quite a bit. I would suggest wearing flat sandals, flip flops, or sneakers.
  • Wear light and comfortable clothing – Make sure to check the weather to see what the temperature will be on the day you attend. I wore a light sundress last year and it was perfect. I was very comfortable walking around the festival. Also, sometimes they have photo booths and photographers walking around taking pictures, so you might want to look camera ready 😉
  • Hydrate – Since you will be tasting wine and walking around in the sun, make sure to hydrate. You can purchase water from local food vendors or bring your own empty water bottle to fill at water stations.
  • Make sure to BRING YOUR ID. You will not be allowed entry if you forget your ID.
  • No pets, outside food or drink are allowed.
  • Parking – Parking is surprisingly easy. The local police will guide you to park in the field parking lots across from the festival. It’s a quick and easy walk across the street to the festival once you have parked.
  • Have fun!! It’s a great day out for you and your significant other, family, group of friends, and/or co-workers. There is something for everyone. Whether you are a wine lover, foodie, music buff, shopaholic, or just feel like stomping some grapes, you will have a great time.

Favorite things from last year:

  • Grape stomp – So much fun to cheer people on!
  • Wine selections – I brought a lot of new releases and wines I’ve never tried before home. Please see here for the list of my favorites
  • Getting to try new local food was so great. There were “boozy” popsicles I was obsessed with and some great barbecue.
  • My girlfriends and I had a great girl’s day out! Great wine, delicious food, watching the grape stomp, and girl talk made for a great day!

On your way back home I suggest stopping by Sunset Winery for a wine slushy (super refreshing) or chocolate and wine pairing and Miranda Winery for a refreshing glass of Vhino Verde. You might as well since you’ll already be in Goshen right?

CT Wine Festival Date: Saturday, July 22nd from 12-7pm & Sunday, July 23rd 2017

Time: 12-6pm (both days)

Location: The Goshen Fairgrounds – 116 Old Middle Street, Goshen, CT – located approximately 1/2 mile south of Goshen center on Route 63.

Grape Stomp Info:  CT Wine Festival is once again offering our very popular Grape Stomp contest where you will participate in a live Grape Stomp for a chance to win some spectacular wine trail prizes. Participants must be 21 years or older, sign a waiver and be willing to get grapes stuck between your toes. Space is limited to 60 participants, so sign up early! Registration is limited to 1 per person as we need all of the participant’s names. ADMISSION TO CT WINE FESTIVAL IS REQUIRED! Stomp is Sunday July 23rd from 2:00-3:00PM

Wineries Participating in 2017:

  • Bishops Orchards Winery
  • Brignole Vineyards
  • DiGrazia Vineyards
  • Holmbergs Orchard and Winery
  • Hopkins Vineyard
  • Jonathan Edwards Winery
  • Jones Winery
  • Miranda Vineyard
  • Paradise Hills Vineyards
  • Priam Vineyards
  • Savino Vineyards
  • Sharpe Hill Vineyard
  • Staehly Farm Winery
  • Sunset Meadow Vineyards
  • Taylor Brooke Winery
  • White Silo

Exhibitors Participating in 2017:

  • Accents
  • Andiamo Tours
  • Carla’s Pasta
  • Cutco Cutlery
  • Glass Act
  • Gourmet Creations
  • Keep Me Clean
  • Kelly’s Crystals
  • Lakonia Greek Products
  • LeafFilter North of Connecticut
  • Lil” Jewels
  • Liberty Insurance
  • Little Farms on Main
  • Pearl Odyssey
  • Power Home Remodeling Group
  • Pure Romance
  • Recycled Bottle Crafts
  • Renewal by Anderson
  • Rhineland Cutlery
  • Savor
  • Silpada Jewelry
  • SilverLeaf Resorts
  • Sky Property Services
  • The Olive Oil Factory
  • Thomas Jewelry
  • Traveling Vineyards
  • Waddell and Reed
  • Walk by Faith Doggie Bakery
  • Word Couture

Questions? View answers to FAQs here or call 860.216.6439 or email festival.admin@ctwine.com.

Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery Wine & Tapas Pairing Dinner at Pacífico Restaurant in New Haven, CT

I am a BIG fan of the Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery (as you’ve probably already noticed). They are an amazing family bringing delicious wines to their community. It’s not uncommon for you to see the newest addition to the family, Marcelo Jr, running around the tasting room greeting customers. You’ll probably also spy their very own winery dog Otis greeting patrons while they take in the vineyard sites. So when I heard about their wine and food pairing dinner I knew I had to check it out.

When you walk into Pacífico restaurant you are surrounded by an instant glow of chill, beautiful, Latino vibes. From the decor to the menu you are transported to another world that encourages you to relax and enjoy the Pacífico experience.

Everyone who attended the event was greeted by winery owners Margaret and Marcelo. Margaret’s father is one of the original founders of Paradise Hills. It was great to see the next generation taking a commanding role in the winemaking and winery business. They both took the time to come over and speak to each table about the food and wine they were being served. And the pairings were amazing!

First we started off with a “Ceviche de Atun” – Yellowfin tuna ceviche, mango, pineapple, red onions, and citrus juices. This course was paired with their 2015 Washington Trail White Wine, an estate grown Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc blend. The combination of the ceviche and wine evoked bright flavors on your palate – a refreshing and tantalizing way to start off the wine and food pairing dinner.

The second course was a Pork Tenderloin with sugar cane skewers and roasted corn chimichurri paired with the Nostra Tradizione. The Nostra Tradizione is one of my all time favorites! The pork and wine worked perfectly together thanks to a little bit of extra spice on the palate with notes of strawberry and cherry. This wine can definitely handle a bold dish.

The third course was a Pan Seared Sea Bass perched atop a mound of couscous, with sweet plantains, roasted pepper, orange, and coconut jalepeno ginger mojo. This was paired with their 2016 Sauvignon Blanc –  which *Spoiler Alert* –  is a limited edition vintage released on April 25th! Make sure to get your hands on this wine before it’s too late. The Sauvignon Blanc is like summer in a glass, and paired with the sea bass was knock out of a combination. Talk about bright citrus flavors merging with a little spice and salt. Super delicious.

The forth course was a Grilled Skirt Steak with yucca fries and aji amarillo chimichurri paired with the 2015 President’s Choice – a Bordeaux Style Red Wine. My goodness was this awesome! The President’s choice is the Winemaker’s Private Blend (not even some of the family know what is in the blend!). Accompanied by the steak, the flavor explosion in your mouth was insane. Blackberry, currants, black cherry, and cedar woke up your palate. This wine was definitely worth the wait.

The fifth and final course consisted of a Passion Fruit Flan and Paradise’s 2015 Connecticut Cayuga White Wine. Another bold pairing of flavor. The passion fruit was ignited even more by the bright citrus and crisp acidity of the estate-grown Cayuga. An insanely delicious dessert pairing.

I couldn’t get over how well everything was paired and how each course pairing got better and better. It was clear that both Paradise Hills and Pacífico Restaurant took a lot of time to make sure every course and wine complimented each other perfectly. I want to give a big Thank You to Margaret and Marcelo of Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery and Pacífico Restaurant for putting on this amazing event. I can’t wait to see what next year’s event will have in store for us!

Also, I want to give a shout out to Manny Vargas Photography for providing the incredible photos. He really captured the amazing ambiance and atmosphere.

Winery: Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery (Visit)

Location: 15 Wind Swept Hill Rd, Wallingford, CT, 06492

Tasting Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am-8pm and Sunday: 11am-6pm. Please call to set up private/group tastings (Info)

Tasting Options: Tastings are $10/person for 6 pre-selected wines or $15.00/person for 6 pre-selected wines and a logo’d glass.

Purchase Wines from the Event: HERE

Event Location: Pacífico Restaurant (Visit)

Experience Paradise Vineyards & Winery:

When you visit Paradise Vineyards you are greeted by friendly tasting room representatives and a delicious list of 6 wines to enjoy. Most of the tasting room staff either works in the vineyard or in the winery. They are very fun and knowledgeable. No matter if you are new to wine or consider yourself a connoisseur you can always learn something new while enjoying a great glass of wine at Paradise Vineyards!

The tasting room is cozy and inviting. There is a roaring fireplace in the winter time you can snuggle up to, or when the weather is warmer you can  sit out on their patio overlooking the vines.

PS- Check out more more photos from the event below and more information about Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery! Cheers! 🙂

Winemaker Interview: Southern Connecticut Wine Company (#SoConnWineCo)

In this week’s “Winemaker Interview,” Amanda talks about how she created Connecticut’s 1st Micro Winery and her love of winemaking.

Winemaker: Amanda Brackett of Southern Connecticut Wine Company (Visit)

Location: 65 S. Colony Street in Wallingford, Connecticut 06492

Tasting Hours: Thursday – Sunday, Thursday – Friday from 3:00-8:00PM, Saturday Noon-6:00PM,  Sunday – Noon-4:00PM

Tasting Options: Enjoy the Casual Elegance of SoConn

Why did you become a winemaker?

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I had no idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up and never thought that someone would actually pay me to make wine. I’ve always had a love for the art behind wine, but my background is in business. When my husband and I moved to Connecticut, he encouraged me to find a job that was going to make me happy. I knew I didn’t want to suit up and punch a clock. Wine made me happy. It sounds simple, but I enjoy every aspect of wine. Making it keeps me creative, correcting faults keeps me learning and innovative, drinking it keeps me social and selling it keeps my husband happy.

How long have you been making wine for?

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Professionally, five years. I’ve been playing around with fermentation for as long as I can remember. I remember being little in my grandmother’s kitchen. Her sister’s had come to visit from Canada and they pulled all of the grapes off of the vines that my grandmother had growing in the yard. They crushed them and then used cheese cloth to separate the juice from the skins. Not a huge yield, but they made a rose with Concord grapes. I remember lining up the 7-Up bottles and holding the funnel while they filled each ¾ of the way. Then, tightening the caps and moving them to the pantry. A couple days later all of the bottles exploded. The caps had been tightened too much and the gasses had no way of escaping… Fermentation lesson #1.

How were you introduced to winemaking in Connecticut?

I actually answered a Craigslist ad when I moved to CT for a bookkeeper position for a construction company. The owner said that he was going to start a small winery and I didn’t give him a choice in hiring me. I’m a terrible bookkeeper so thank God I could make wine.

What are the biggest challenges for a winemaker in Connecticut?

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For me, it was the law. Connecticut currently only has a license for Farm Wineries. Since I don’t grow grapes, they had a difficult time classifying what I do. It took a while to get to this point, but The Southern Connecticut Wine Company is Connecticut’s first and only micro-winery.

Tell us about your harvest process..

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It starts with a trip to the grocery store where I purchase all of the El Monte microwave breakfast burritos in the freezer section. I stock up on coffee, waffles, hot sauce and vodka. I don’t grow so my pre harvest prep is making sure that I’ve ordered grapes (Christina, I’ll get that to you today, I promise), make sure I have all of the yeasts, nutrients and other products that I need for each blend on hand. Then I start power washing EVERYTHING. Harvest is a magical time where I become a maniac who has zero interest in anything else unless it’s fermenting. It’s a systematic, controlled chaos. This harvest I’m gearing up to make 23 different types of wines in the 2000 square feet of wine production space. Red’s ferment in the main production area while whites and roses are moved into a back office so the temperature can be dropped. Fermentation tubs, barrels, tanks, finished wine.. Everything is constantly being moved around. Harvest is a by any means necessary attitude with all hands on deck.

How does your wine making approach differ from other winemakers?

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I love blending. Creating big red blends has become my niche. Throughout the year I’ll experiment with new combinations and use friends and family as guinea pigs. By the time harvest rolls around, I’ll have a game plan for at least one new blend. I’m not limited by region or growing my own product, so really, the sky is the limit as far as sourcing. I enjoy creating something crazy and different. If someone says “you shouldn’t do that”, I’m going to at least try it.

What is your general winemaking philosophy?

Make good wine and make wine that I would want to drink.

How do you know you’ve got a good vintage?

Repeat customers are a sure sign of a good vintage.

Are there any new winemaking techniques or tools you’d like to experiment with?

I would really like to try barrel fermentation. I’ve never been able to do that because of space constraints. I would also like to make an orange wine, but my husband won’t let me bury clay fermentation vessels in our backyard. I really have a laundry list of things that I want to try… carbonic maceration, sparkling, kegging wine.. just to list a few. It would also be pretty awesome to learn how to recoop barrels. We all need an activity in the down months.

Which wine growing region has had the most influence on you?

I’m partial to the Central Coast (California). I grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and that’s where I was first exposed to the wine industry. I grew up tagging along with my mom to all of the local vineyards in the Carmel Valley AVA.

What is one aspect of your job that might surprise people?

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I love it when someone asks what I do when I’m not crushing. The amount of time that goes into nurturing and working the wine surprises people. It’s not just a “set it and forget it” product. It’s very easy to make bad wine if you’re not paying attention. But, by that token, most faulted wine is able to be corrected…and if it’s too far gone, just throw some fruit in and make sangria.

Another aspect that surprises people is the comradely that the winemakers in the state have. Making good wine is easy if you have a network of people with different expertise. It’s more of a cooperative effort rather than a competitive environment. We support each other.

What do you like best about your job?

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I love creating something so unique and personal to share. I love getting messy. I love learning. There is always a new product, a new technique. I especially love being able to share this with my family. My son has been coming to the winery with me since he’s been a week old. One day I hope that he and I will be making wine, side by side.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made and what makes it your favorite?

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My favorite wine is the wine that I made for my husband. We call it the Bawstin Blend, on account of his thick Boston accent. When he and I first started dating, he pretended that he was really into wine.. Low and behold, he used every wine app available on his phone and googled while we were at restaurants so that he could keep the conversation going about whatever he ordered, and he was ordering some fantastic wines!

He “confessed” that he didn’t like wine like five or six years after we started dating. He said he just couldn’t keep up the charade anymore. It was pretty awesome that he went through so much trouble to impress me in the early years, so we deconstructed a bunch of wines and figured out what characteristics he didn’t like in a wine. Then we constructed a crazy California red blend for him that isn’t too tannic or heavily oaked.

Who are your favorite winemakers and why?

There are so many! I think Isabelle Simi was positively badass. She took over her father’s vineyard and winery when she was 18, found prohibition loopholes and navigated the success of Simi through the Great Depression. Brandon Allen of SLO Down Wines is amazing. His wine, Sexual Chocolate, is one of my go-tos. Brandon was one of my favorite beer pong partners in college when we all use to drink Natty Ice and hang out in my garage. John Saunders of Boëté in Carmel Valley, CA produces one of my favorite Cab Francs, hands down. It’s a family owned and operated vineyard that produces small batch Cab and Cab Franc. He’s a super detail oriented winemaker and it definitely shows in the product.

Is beer ever better than wine?

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There comes a point in the season when anything is better than wine… even water. Usually during harvest you’ll find me drinking beer.. Unless something has broken. In that case, I drink vodka. Lot’s of vodka.

 

Also, check out Cru Podcast’s most recent interview of Amanda – Finding Your Happy with Amanda Brackett. In this episode Amanda and Chappy of Cru converse about her passion for winemaking and how she became a winemaker in Connecticut to how she is working to teach more and more people about wine. She also shares the challenges she has had to overcome not only with government regulation, but the simple fact of her being a female business owner and winemaker. A great listen!

Until next time. Cheers Wine Lovers!

SkinnyPop, Paradise Hills Vineyard, & Scandal = The Perfect Thursday Night Pairing


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{card via nocturnalpaper}

In honor of my obsession with Scandal I wanted to put together a “Netflix & Chill” kind of post Olivia might be proud of. So I decided to pair some of our local CT Wine Trail wines with SkinnyPop popcorn (because it’s my fave). Olivia is always pairing her vino and popcorn no matter if she’s happy or sad. So I thought, why not pair her two of her favorite things and watch her kick butt in DC? #Wouldn’tOliviaPopeDoThis?

Below are some of my favorite pairings from Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery in Wallingford, CT. Maragret Ruggiero Mena, the Owner & Winemaker at Paradise, was kind enough to sit down with me and test out these pairings. Needless to say it was a fun Tuesday night 😉

Jalapeño SkinnyPop & The Washington Trail White:

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The Washington Trail White is a lovely fruit forward, medium bodied wine with notes of crisp apples, bright citrus, and soft fruity flavors with a delicate off-dry finish. The bright acidity brings out the jalapeño flavor in tasty and balanced way. The low alcohol and balanced residual sugar/acidity offsets the spicy burn. This is a great pairing for someone who has a spicier palate.

Washington Trail White: $19.98/bottle

SkinnyPop Jalapeño: $13.86 for a 12 pack

Original Style SkinnyPop & Temptation Apple Wine:

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The Temptation Apple wine is a semi-sweet wine made from 100% Connecticut Grown Apples. The crisp acidity from the wine balances out the “cheesey” notes of the Original SkinnyPop flavor. A delicious pairing for a sweet little girls night in.

Temptation Apple Wine: $15.50/bottle

Original Style SkinnyPop: $16.82/ 6 pack

Sea Salt & Pepper SkinnyPop and Trio Blend: 

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Paradise’s “International Style” is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Carmenere. The elegant creamy mouthfeel stands up to the pepper and sea salt, creating a rich and flavorful compliment. Personally this is my favorite pairing because of the flavor explosion that happens between the pepper and fruit. I highlight recommend this pairing for anyone who loves a good steak with a Cabernet.

Trio Blend: $27.50/bottle

Sea Salt & Pepper Popcorn: $25.99/ 6 pack

White Cheddar SkinnyPop and Nostrada Tradizione:

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The Nostradamus Tradizione is a Chianti Style wine, so naturally matching this blend with a cheesy popcorn is a delicious combination. The acidity in the wine offsets the creamy cheese notes balancing out your palate with well rounded flavors. Hints of cherry and raspberry are complimented by the creamy white cheddar notes.

Nostradamus Tradizione: $27.50/bottle

White Cheddar: $20.45/ 6 pack

So there you have it! Lots of delicious combinations from one of my favorite CT Wineries and SkinnyPop popcorn. Thank you Olivia Pope, Kerri Washington, and the Scandal team for introducing me to this amazing food group. And Thank you to Margaret from Paradise Hills Winery for not thinking I was totally crazy for pairing her delicious wines with popcorn!

Other Wine & Popcorn Pairings Chart via SkinnyPop popcorn:

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Interview with Cru Podcast – “Empowering Women Winemakers in Connecticut”

 

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{pictured above – The Founding Members of the Women Winemakers of Connecticut}

{photo credit: 9orange Photography}

Today is kind of surreal. I was featured on the Cru podcast speaking about my family’s business – Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC., The Connecticut Wine Industry, and The Women Winemakers of Connecticut Group I helped create. Such an amazing opportunity, I feel so grateful to have been featured. I had a great time discussing all of these topics with Chappy and I hope he is able to taste some of Connecticut’s delicious wines soon!

Chappy’s podcast focuses on “Stories from the People Behind the Wine”. And if you look at the people he has interviewed so far, the stories are insanely inspiring! He has interviewed the McBride Sisters, Brian McClintic, and Dustin Wilson just to name a few.

It was incredibly kind of him to take the time speak to me and share our conversation with his listeners. Connecticut is a small winemaking and wine growing region but we have a lot to offer any wine lover.

To hear more about The Connecticut Wine Industry, Making Your Own Wine at Home, and The Women Winemakers of CT, You can listen to the full interview below….

Empowering Women Winemakers with Christina Musto 

I hope you enjoy the podcast and make sure to sign up for the Cru Podcast Newsletter. Lots of fun Wine Loving podcasts and new finds will be sent to you every Friday.

Cheers!

Companies mentioned in this podcast:

Cru Podcast

Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC.

CTWine.com

Women Winemakers of CT

Southern Connecticut Wine Company

Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery

Chamard Vineyards

Ceja Vineyards

Women Winemakers of CT Featured in Winemaker Magazine

Finally! Now everyone can access our article in Winemaker Magazine! So excited to have been able to create this article and highlight these amazing winemaking ladies.

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Check out what The Women Winemakers of Connecticut are all about HERE. You will probably see some familiar CT Wine Trail faces so make sure to support your local Winery and Winemaker. 🙂

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If you are interested in joining the Women Winemakers of Connecticut please contact me at cmusto@juicegrape.com.

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Cheers!

Winemaker Interview: Gouveia Vineyards

In this week’s “Winemaker Interview,” Maryann talks about how her Grandfather’s  winemaking influence and  her love and care for the vineyard help create delicious Connecticut wines at Gouviea Vineyards. 

Winemaker: Maryann Houde

Winery: Gouveia Vineyards (Visit)

Location: 1339 Whirlwind Hill Road, Wallingford, CT 06492

Tasting Hours: OPEN Monday – Saturday from 11:00AM-8:00PM, Sundays 11:00AM- 6:00PM

Tasting Options: Enjoy your wine with a view! 

Why did you become a winemaker? What first attracted you to winemaking? 

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I’ve been making wine for 5 years. I wanted to follow the tradition of my grandfather. As a kid, I remember crushing grapes in the backyard and making wine in the cellar. This was very intriguing to me.

I have fond memories of Sunday dinners sitting around the table at my Noni and Papa’s house eating delicious pasta and sauce. My brother, sister and I were only kids but my grandfather would let us have a little wine mixed with soda. I remember how everyone wanted to nap after dinner!

How were you introduced to winemaking in Connecticut?

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We had heard about a vineyard that just opened in Wallingford back in 2004 and my husband and I wanted to check it out. Gouveia Vineyards was the first vineyard we had ever gone to. We were amazed that this beauty was in our home town. I got a job in the tasting room in 2010 and that is where it all began for me.

What are the biggest challenges for a winemaker in Connecticut?

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I would say that most winemakers in CT have a hand in growing the grapes for their wine. Maintaining the vines that you grow on your own vineyard is very challenging due to the climate and susceptibility to disease.

What makes Connecticut wine so great? What makes CT wine so different?

The great thing about CT wine is that our vineyards and wineries grow and make wine from a lot of grape varietals that are different from other regions.

Tell us about your harvest process.

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Towards the end of August we start checking sugars in the vineyard. This helps us to determing an estimate for harvest. We’re busy cleaning and tuning up our equipment. When the grapes are about 22 Brix, we pick a date, and we’ll put the word out and gather our team of volunteers to help us pick.

We start crushing the same day that we harvest. The grapes are trucked in from the field, weighed and go right into the crusher. The winemaking begins.

How does your wine making approach differ from other winemakers? What is your general winemaking philosophy?

Wine makes itself. You crush the grapes and they’re going to become wine one way or another, good or bad. I want to care for the vines as best we can during the growing season so when harvest comes, I can make sure the grapes become the best version of what they’re supposed to be.
A lot of times, the circumstances are not ideal in the vineyard or the cellar so you must work with what you have and not be afraid to take a different and sometimes unorthodox approach if necessary.

How do you know you’ve got a good vintage?

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I know the vintage is good when I see smiles on peoples faces who come and visit the winery. When I listen to their comments about the wine, and see how much they’re enjoying it, I know the vintage is good. If it’s making people happy, It’s a good vintage.

What is one aspect of your job that might surprise people?

How messy it is. You get dirty! It’s not uncommon to take the occasional wine shower!

What do you like best about your job?

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I like the variety. Everyday is something different. One day I could be in the vineyard, the next in the cellar and the next giving a wine tour and talking to customers.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made and what makes it your favorite?

My favorite wine that I made is my 2012 Petite Syrah. It was the first year I made wine at home the old fashioned way. The grapes were stomped with our feet. It’s my favorite because my family made it together. It came out really nice, too.

Who are your favorite winemakers and why? OR What is your favorite wine and why?

I read the memoir of Robert Mondovi and that was very inspirational. He really forged the way for the California wine region. He was a risk taker and a visionary and wanted to make the best wine for every level of wine consumer. Through personal account, Joe Gouveia. I connect with his philosophy because it reminds me of the old-world style of winemaking back in the days of watching my grandfather crush grapes in his backyard.
You don’t need to do a lot to make a good wine.

Is beer ever better than wine?

Jesus didn’t turn water into beer…

I want to give a big Thank You to Maryann Houde from Gouveia Vineyards for giving us a peak into the day in life of a Connecticut Winemaker. Make sure to stop by Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT for some delicious wines made by a passionate Winemaker! #MyCTWineTrail #DrinkLocal

The Gouveia Vineyards Tasting Experience:

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Visiting Gouveia Vineyards is like visiting your favorite mountain getaway. You enter the driveway and are immediately transported to a peaceful, beautiful, vineyard property with rolling hills and gorgeous views. The tasting room is open and airy creating a relaxing tasting experience. You can enjoy a tasting of 4 pre-selected wines and a fifth taste of your choice. Each tasting is $12.00/person and you can keep your wine glass.

Once you finish your tasting you can sit down and enjoy a bottle overlooking the vineyard or take your wine outside to the outdoor picnic area. Gouveia Vineyards is a great place for larger groups because they have a lot of space and allow you to bring food to their facility. Gouveia Vineyards is a great place to visit with family and friends. I hope you enjoy your tasting. Cheers!