Summary: When visiting Stonington Vineyards, consider purchasing a bottle or glass of wine and enjoying it in the gardens or gazebo in front of the winery. When you stop at Stonington Vineyards, take time to browse the art gallery.
Nick and Happy Smith purchased the 58-acre property in 1986. In 2009 the vineyards cover 12 acres and include Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Sitting under the gazebo overlooking the vineyards provides an opportunity to talk with other wine travelers in a charming setting. Stonington Vineyards produces 5,500 cases and sells 90 percent of the wine from the tasting room. The growing season begins in mid-May with harvest usually taking place in October. The philosophy of Stonington Vineyards is to “stick to what they know they can grow well.”
The tasting room offers numerous wine accessories to browse. A small fiddle case, for holding a bottle of wine, is available perhaps a gift for a musician. An adjacent room has a second area for tasting wines but most of the room is dedicated to an art gallery for local artists to display their works. Displays change throughout the year, so check out the gallery each time you visit. At the time of our visit, three professional local artists had their works on display. Framed and unframed artwork is available for purchase.
Stonington Vineyards has an unusual lifetime club membership program. To become a Cellar Society Member, anyone who purchases a case of wine receives a 10% discount. When future additional cases are purchased they receive an additional 2% discount until they reach 22%. Members also receive free tastings at the winery and during the winery festivals.
Tours are held at 2:00pm daily and include a description and views of the crusher/destemmer and bladder press, stainless steel tanks and oak barrels, and the bottling line. During the tour the winemaking process is described. Time is spent also discussing the making of oak barrels and a barrel stave is used as an example. The winery uses lightly toasted French oak barrels and real corks. Wines may be tasted before or after the tour. The tour is an opportunity for people new to visiting wineries to learn about the process while experienced winery travelers can compare and contrast Stonington Vineyards to other wineries they toured.
Sheer Chardonnay 2006 was produced in a stainless steel tank. The wine was a pale yellow with a slight citrus aroma. The taste and aftertaste had citrus nuances. The finish was crisp. Stonington Chardonnay 2007 was aged in oak barrels. The wine had a light yellow color and vanilla notes on the nose. The taste had apple nuances and was silky. The finish was crisp. Vidal Blanc 2007 offered a citrus aroma and taste. The taste was smooth while the finish was crisp and fruity. Seaport White is the winery’s best selling wine. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Vidal and Cayuga grapes. The taste reminded one of a fruit salad and the finish was sweet.
Triad Rosé was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Vidal. The orange-reddish wine had a light fruit and citrus notes on the taste. The finish was crisp and smooth.
Cabernet Franc 2006 was a red translucent color. The aroma and taste were of dark berries and pepper. The finish was crisp with mild tannins.
When visiting Stonington Vineyards plan time to sit and relax under the gazebo or at a table along the brick patio running along the front of the facility. Both areas are beautifully landscaped and have vineyard views. Enjoy the vineyards and a glass of wine.
523 Taugwonk Road
Stonington, CT 06378
GPS: N41º 24.525’ W71º 54.175’