Sunday, July 29, 2007

Connecticut Wines On Parade

Everyone knows that wineries are popping up all over the country these days. Same is true here in Connecticut, where we now have 22 wineries. I know that doesn't seem like much to those in most other states, but the growth has really accelerated in recent years and the quality is getting much better.

Consequently, Connecticut is now more actively celebrating and marketing this hip agricultural product. Connecticut wineries have put together the first Connecticut Wine Festival to be held next weekend. Visitors will be able to taste, side by side, nearly all of the wines now produced in the state.

Also, Connecticut magazine has just come out with a cover story on the state of local wines.

In the interest of full disclosure, I know the author of the story, Leonard Felson. Regardless, I have to recommend the story to anyone out there interested in learning more about Connecticut wines. While you might think Connecticut magazine would be a shameless booster for the hometown team, I think Leonard did a very fair, even-handed job. (My apologies, but you may not be able to read the full story online until the piece enters their archives in several more weeks.)

The story correctly points out that the growth of the Connecticut wine business owes much to the growing popularity of wine nationally for both health and lifestyle reasons. And, the story points out that Connecticut wineries face significant climate issues and obstacles built on perception.

But several people quoted in the story offer a point of view similar to my own last year when I blogged about my overall impressions of Connecticut wineries after concluding a summer-long tasting tour. That is, the quality of Connecticut wines has increased significantly in the past 10 years to the point that Connecticut's white wines are now quite credible. The reds, for the most part, are weak. A good one can be found here and there on occasion, but principally these come from the occasional dry year.

One promising note from the story -- several more wineries may be in the offing for Southeastern Connecticut. That's good news from my point of view because I think some of the state's best wines come from close to Long Island Sound. It has a microclimate similar to Long Island's, and that's a good thing. The benefit of this development can be maximized if Connecticut wineries stop producing what they are not good at and start concentrating on those varietals with the most local potential.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to comparing these wines again next weekend at the festival, this time consecutively in one day. Should be an interesting test of whether last year's observations continue to hold up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your blog (the first time I ever really spent any time on one) and read your reviews of the CT Wine Trail. I was rather surprised that you missed Taylor Brooke Winery in Woodstock, CT which opened in 2004.

4:53 PM  

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