New England Wineries, What’s Happening?

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market 2015We attended the 4th annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Market last Saturday, is Westport, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Coastal Wine trail and it’s member wineries. The Market is an event we look forward to each June, as some of our favorite wineries participate. However, this year’s event left me wondering, about the health of our local wine industry.

Attendance was down, at least at the 11:00 am session and from what I was told the advance tickets sales for all three sessions were down. In my estimation it was down a good 30% to 40% over 2013 & 2014. So, I started to analyse, sorry it’s just in my nature. I spoke to several winery owners, including Travessia winery’s Marco Montez. They all seemed to feel that even though attendance was down that sales were strong. Mr. Montez commented that; “I think it’s good, we can spend more time with people and actually explain to them what they’re tasting, instead of just pouring.”

So why the poor attendance? Could it be the promotion? It did seem that this year the word wasn’t getting out, at least not early enough and advance information was poor. Even in the Trail’s own marketing material, there’s no mention made that the Trail had expanded to include three more wineries and that they would be at the Market for the first time.

Could it be the quality of the wine? No, the wines are great. With 14 wineries present and over 50 wines to sample, if you couldn’t find a winery or a wine you liked here, you really don’t like wine.Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market 2015

Could it be prices? Well, prices are definitely up. The average price per bottle was over $20.00. As you may know, we really don’t review wines, it’s too subjective. Our goal is to promote local. To educate people about our local wines and wineries. But, I don’t feel it’s unfair to present the facts. of the 14 wineries present Saltwater Farm was the most expensive, with the cost of their average bottle coming in at $27.75. At the other end, Running Brook Vineyards, was the most affordable, with their average bottle priced at a reasonable $13.25.

Maybe my analysis is a little simplistic, I’ll grant you that, But I don’t think price can be totally ignored. I never spend more than $15.00 for a bottle of wine. I just can’t afford it. We love to visit beautiful wineries with manicured lawns and rolling hills. However, when the bottle is at my house and I’m pouring a glass, I can’t see that beautiful scenery. My checking account though, that I can see.

There are some great imported wines available for $10.00 a bottle and I talking about wines produced in Europe, where manufacturing costs are just as high as they are here, maybe higher. I’m hoping that our local wineries are’t pricing themselves out of reach. Shouldn’t local wine be affordable? Priced so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of our local producers. I certain hope so.

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WIne, Cheese & Chocolate Market -2015

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market 2015


This years Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market, presented by the Coastal Wine Trail, is a great time and a great value. Taste wines wines from the the Coastal Wine Trail’s member wineries as well as food items from local artisans. It’s always great fun. See you there.

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Staehly Farm Winery

Staehly Farm WineryOne of our website followers pointed out that there was a new winery in Connecticut and we didn't have on our list. So, we packed up the car, stopped the mail (like Rhode Islanders always do) and headed to East Haddam, Connecticut, to visit Staehly's Farm Winery. Located on Connecticut route 82, Staehly's is just a couple miles East of the Connecticut River and the Goodspeed Musical Playhouse and almost as close to Gillette Castle State Park.

Staehly's is a family run operation celebrating 30 years in business this year. They started as a Christmas tree farm and have expanded over the years to include flowers, a farm market and now wine. Kevin Staehly greeted us at the tasting bar with a great deal of enthusiasm for his family's hand crafted wines. Staehly's is producing wines from fruit grown on their own farm, including 3 different apple wines, a blueberry wine and a tomato wine. That's right I said: "Tomato." Now if you haven't tried a tomato wine and I'm guessing most of you haven't, you've got to stop by Staehly's and give this wine a try, it's called "Pomodoro" and we thought it was delicious.

Fruit wines sometimes get an undeservedly bad rap, but with careful attention to detail, good fruit wines are every bit as enjoyable as their grape wine cousins. I mean, grape wines come in all sorts of styles and colors, and everyone likes something different. So, don't be a wine snob and give fruit wines a chance. New England has a long tradition of producing exceptional fruit wines and it's the grape wines that are really the new comers here.

We whole heartedly encourage you to visit Staehly's Farm Winery. It's a great place for the seasoned wine taster and the novice alike. Some people are hesitant or maybe a little intimidated by wine tastings, because they feel they don't know what to look for and may be embarrassed, well you should stop by Staehly's. You'll be treated to some awesome wines, by friendly and knowledgeable people, whose goal is to make you feel right at home. Tastings are only $5.00 for a sample of each of their 5 wines and you get to keep the glass. What could be better

Two thumbs up!

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Greenvale Vineyards, Beautiful Spot, Great Wine

Greenvale VineyardsGreenvale Vineyards, located in Portsmouth, RI, is situated on a gentle sloping hillside, with beautiful panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. For us the wine tasting experience isn't just about the wine it's about the entire experience. You may have heard the term "terroir," how the vineyards location imparts a unique signature on the grapes and the wine, due to the particular climate, soil and topography of the vineyard itself. Well i'm a believer that there's a terroir to wine tastings, as well. The wineries location, the ambiance of the tasting room, the attitude of the staff, as well as the quality of the wine all add up to the tasting terroir. The best tasting experiences excel in all four of these elements.

As I mentioned above the location is outstanding, a scant hour and fifteen minutes from Boston and even closer to Providence, just forty minutes, Greenvale Vinyards is Convenient . So we can give the a big thumbs-up to the location. There are several other wineries in close proximity to Greenvale as well, making it easy to combine a visit to Greenvale with a visit to one or two of the areas other wineries.

The tasting room has a rustic charm that we see in many tasting rooms we've visited and we like that too. Clean and open the tasting room can accommodate a dozen or so people at the tasting bar comfortably.

I was fortunate to have owner/general manager Nancy Parker Wilson, assist with my tasting. Nancy has a vast knowledge and understanding of grapes, wine making and wines, yet has the ability to explain and educate in a warm and pleasant way. The love she has for the farm, the wines and the business is very evident. Whether you are new to wine tasting or a seasoned pro, the tasting experience at Greenvale will meet and exceed your expectations.

Now the wine. Greenvale produces about 3500 cases of wine annually, form 100% estate grown grapes. They currently have 20+ acres under cultivation. Wines are subjective and everyone likes something different and that is why we do not rate wines. That being said having visited in excess of 100 wineries you do pick up a thing or two. The craftsmanship of each and every wine I tasted was very evident. From the Rosecliff Pinot Gris to the Cabernet Franc each wine was unique, well balanced and spot on style.

If you haven't been to Greenvale Vineyard yet, please put it on your list of must do's. Supporting our local farms is import and wineries like Greenvale Vineyards are turning farmland that may have lain dormant into productive and successful businesses enriching all our lives. Why buy wines from Austrailia, Argentia or New Zealand when wineries like Greenvale Vineyards are producing world class wines right here in New England.

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Civic Support

Civic Support at Running Brook Vineyards


Do You Like Wine & Music?

Spring into wine season at Sip & Support

On May 16th from 4:00-8:00 PM, Running Brook Vineyard in North Dartmouth, MA will be hosting a fundraiser for Civic Support, a 501c3 nonprofit located in Downtown New Bedford. 

The event will include:
-A wine tasting, provided by Running Brook Vineyard
-Light appetizers
-Live music
-A great day at an excellent local vineyard

In addition, we will be raffling off some great prizes, and you can test your skills by entering our corn hole tournament. Glasses and bottles of wine will be available for purchase, with 10% of all sales donated by Running Brook Vineyard to Civic Support.

Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to Civic Support's outreach and internship programs.

Running Brook VIneyard


Running Brook Vineyard and Winery was founded in 1998 by Pedro Teixeira and Manuel Morais out of a vision to produce top quality wines that will make New Englanders proud and satisfy their palates.


Civic Support

Civic Support is a New Bedford based 501c3 nonprofit.  They provide marketing and outreach services to local non profits and community groups.  It is their goal to assist these local organizations by helping them better utilize the limited resources they have, and increase the impact that they make in the local area.

Purchase Tickets Now!

This event is sure to sell out. Don't wait buy your tickets Now!

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First Frost of the Season.

Running Brook Vineyards

Running Brook Vineyards new frost wine

The Frost is here.

Well the title may catch you a little off guard, but it’s true. Running Brook Vineyards has bottled it’s new Frost wine. Being the late harvest wine drinkers, that we are, we jumped in the car and headed to Running Brook as soon as we heard the frost was on the bottle, make that in the bottle.

This years frost is a little less sweet and has a little less body than last years vintage. It’s truly amazing how wines change form year to year depending on the rainfall, temperature and sunshine. Produced from their own Vidal Blanc grapes, this wine is a delicate desert wine with hints of melon. Make sure you get to Running Brook soon, because this wine is destined to sell out quickly.

Leyden Farm Vineyard and Winery

Leyden Farms new RieslingLeyden Farm has also introduced a new wine, their fist ever Riesling. This is a true Riesling in the style of a German import. If like us, you’re a lover of sweeter full bodied wines, than you absolutely must visit Leyden Farm in West Greenwich, Rhode Island and sample this exceptional wine.


Two thumbs up!

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The Connecticut Wine Festival 2014

Connecticut Wine Festival 2014

Connecticut Wine Festival 2014

July 26th found us in Goshen, Connecticut at the Connecticut Wine Festival. Located in the beautiful Litchfield Hills area of northwestern Connecticut, the festival was held at the Goshen Fair Grounds, which provided ample indoor and outdoor space and plenty of free parking.

Eleven wineries from all across Connecticut participated; each provided four wines for sampling. Wines choices ran the gamut from traditional Chardonnay’s and Cabernet Franc’s to some excellent fruit based and fruit infused wines, like DiGrazia Vineyards “Williams Sonnet”, a white grape wine blushed with raspberry. Desert and late harvest wines were also present, Hopkins Vineyard of New Preston, Connecticut offered their outstanding “Night Owl Desert Wine.”  A desert wine produced from their own, late harvest, Vidal Blanc grapes.

Wine Tasting at the Taylor Brooke booth.

Wine Tasting at the Taylor Brooke booth.

With each of the wineries offering four samples for tasting, it was possible to taste 44 different wines. We had heard that the things could get a little rowdy, but we found that the opposite was the order of the day. People were enjoying themselves, but were quite well behaved. Besides the wineries there were over 40 vendors, selling everything from Ice cream and Barbecue to Jewelry and crafts.

Entertainment was included as well, with 3 bands taking the stage from the festivals starting time at Noon until it ended at 7:00pm. For those who wanted to expand their knowledge of wine, there was even a Wine Seminar hosted by Renee Allen of the Wine Institute of New England. All of this was available for the modest price of $25.00 and you even received a commemorative tasting glass and a handy 6 bottle wine tote bag.

If you’re a fan of local wines and you missed this year’s festival mark your calendars for next July and plan on attending this exceptional and well run event. See you there.

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Big Weekend Ahead – July 26 & 27, 2014

Two Great Wine Festivals This Weekend!

Connecticut Wine Festival – July 26 & 27, 2014 

Connecticut Wine Festival LogoTaste the best of Connecticut’s wineries.  Sample locally produced specialty foods. Enjoy live music. Browse for handicrafts and more.  It’s all happening at the Connecticut Wine Festival.

Hours:  Saturday, July 26th from 12pm-7pm and Sunday, July 27th from 12pm-6pm.

Location:  The Goshen Fairgrounds, located approximately 1/2 mile south of Goshen center on Route 63.  For directions visit: Parking is free.

Admission includes a commemorative festival wine glass (Tasting Ticket only), tote bag, specialty food samples, entertainment and the opportunity to purchase bottles/cases of wine, food and artisan crafts. This years participating wineries include:

  • Sunset Meadow Vineyards
  • Taylor Brooke Winery
  • Jonathan Edwards Winery
  • Miranda Vineyard 
  • Bishop’s Orchards Winery
  • Hopkins Vineyard
  • Jones Winery
  • Priam Vineyards
  • White Silo Winery
  • DiGrazia Vineyards
  • Sharpe Hill Vineyard

New This Year:  GRAPE STOMP on Sunday, July 27th at 2:00pm. To sign up for this fun event please email with your name and a little info about yourself. Participation space is limited so sign up early!

 Tasting Ticket $30.00 – Designated Driver Ticket $10.00

Greater Boston Area Wine Festival

Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers, LogoSample Award Winning Wine and Specialty Foods:
On July 27, 2014, the Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers Association will host the 2nd Annual Greater Boston Area Wine Festival at the Marshfield Fairgrounds in Marshfield, MA.  The event will feature two sessions.  Session I will run from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.   Session II will take place from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.
Join fellow wine enthusiasts for an incredible day of sampling up to 48 wines from some of the finest farm wineries in Massachusetts.

Participating wineries include:

  • Aaronap Cellars
  •  Black Birch Vineyard
  • Coastal Vineyards
  • Far From The Tree Cider
  • Hardwick Vineyard & Winery
  • Les Trois Emme Vineyard & Winery
  • Mineral Hills Winery
  • Still River Winery
  • Travessia Winery
  • Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod
  • Westport Rivers Vineyard
  • Zoll Cellars

The day will also feature samples and sales of locally produced specialty foods, fine crafts and gourmet caterers. Admission tickets to this 21 and over event are $45 each. A $5 banding fee, which includes a souvenir wine glass, tote and event program, is required for anyone wishing to sample wine. Tickets for the festival are limited.  For more information, visit

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Costal Vineyards

Coastal Vineyards, 61 Pardon Hill Rd., South Dartmouth, MA

Bob, our tasting guru.

Bob, our tasting guru.

Our travels recently lead us to Coastal Vineyards, in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Located at the home of owner and winemaker Dave Nielsen, the vineyard, winery and tasting room are an integral part of Dave’s home.  As you drive up the quiet, private residential street you start to wonder if you’ve made a wrong turn and then you see the vines, 9,000 of them on 8 well cared for acres. Just park on the road and walk up the driveway, then around back, where you’ll find the tasting room and beautiful vineyard views.

A view of the vineyard

A Great Place to Relax!

Our host for the tasting, Bob, began with a brief and informative talk about the wine making process and lead us on a tour of the fermentation cellar and bottling room. Bob was friendly, entertaining and extremely knowledgeable, making everybody feel right at home.  The tasting began with Coastal Vineyards 2011 Estate Chardonnay and progressed through 7 more white wines, a rosé and ended with a piece of chocolate and Coastal’s Merlot. Of course our favorite was the semi-sweet  “Sassy Sisters White – Delilah”, a Riesling made from estate grown grapes. We typically don’t care for oaked wines, so we were pleasantly surprised when we tasted the 2012 “Estate Reserve Chardonnay.” Fermented in stainless steel and then aged in oak, imparted just a very light flavor of oak, not the overpowering taste of oak found in many other oaked chardonnay’s.

Coastal Vineyards offers a warm and friendly environment and affordable prices. The tasting was only $10.00 and bottles ranged in price from $16.00 to $22.00. Tables and chairs, overlooking the vineyard, provide a great place to picnic. So pack some snacks, head over to Coastal Vineyards, buy a bottle of great wine, sit back and enjoy.

Two thumbs up!

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Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Market 2014

A view inside the Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market - 2014

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market – 2014

The Coastal Wine Trail’s 3rd. annual “Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market” was held on June 21, 2014 at the Westport Fairgrounds in Westport, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful first day of summer, with blue skies and mild temperatures. The event was held inside one of the fairgrounds main buildings, which offered amble space and protection from the sun. Outside the building there where plenty of picnic tables where you could sit and enjoy some of the wonderful wines and specialty foods offered by the dozens of vendors in attendance.

The Crew from Running Brook Vineyards

The Crew from Running Brook Vineyards

There are ten wineries that comprise the Coastal Wine Trail, Stonington Vineyards (CT) Langworthy Farm & Winery (RI), Newport Vineyards (RI), Greenvale Vineyards (RI), Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard (RI), Westport Rivers (MA), Coastal Vineyards (MA), Running Brook Vineyards (MA), Travessia Winery (MA) and Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod (MA). Each of the wineries brought 4 wines for attendees to sample and offered wines for sale as well. The market was divided into three session, 11:00am to 1:30pm, 2:30pm to 5:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:30pm. We opted to attend the first session which boasted over 250 attendees. The event was well organized and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Attendees we spoke to ran the gamut from seasoned wine lovers to people who had never been to a wine tasting before. Everyone of them expressed an interest in attending again next year and in visiting the wineries of the Coastal Wine Trail. Some did not realize that there were so many wines in the area and where surprised at who good their wines are.

The Crew from Dorothy Cox Chocolates

Dorothy Cox Chocolates

It was a great opportunity to speak to winemakers and vineyard owners as well as their staffs. Brittany from “Stonington Vineyards” poured our wines and was knowledgeable and pleasant. We particularly liked their 2012 Riesling. Newport Vineyards brought their Riesling, Great White, In the Buff Chardonnay and their very popular Rhody Coyote hard cider. Coastal Vineyards, impressed us with their Sassy Sisters – Delilah – Riesling, made from estate grow Riesling grapes and true to style the Riesling Style . Owner and winemaker, Dave Nielsen was kind enough to spend some time with us and we look forward to visiting Coastal Vineyards soon. Perennial favorites, Running Brook Vineyards and Travessia Winery continue to produce exceptional wines year after year. Both offered tastings of their outstanding Vidal Blanc’s. The Vidal Blanc grape is fast becoming our favorite hybrid. And, of course we couldn’t go without mentioning the ever popular Cranberry Red, from Truro Vineyards, a real crowd favorite.

People seated at a picnic table.

Enjoying the Beautiful Day.

By all standards this years Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Market was a great success. If you didn’t make it this year, mark your calendar for next June and plan to attend. Buy your tickets early though the 2nd & 3rd sessions sold out this year.


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