Specializing in the art of chardonnay, Chamard cultivates varietal grapes on 20 acres of gently rolling vineyards, unleashing an assortment of palate-pleasing wines. Bring a guest and relish the ambrosial aromas and mouth-uplifting flavors of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet franc blends created with time-honored winemaking methods and state-of-the-art graping equipment. Grasp a Riedel glass and try five wines while overlooking the pond on the deck, warming up by the tasting room's fire, or hiding in one of the cellar's wine barrels. After sampling fermented grape serums, customers can activate the power of a 15% discount to purchase a bottle of wine ($12.99–$24.99) for enjoying at home or christening a new caravel.
Beneath the low-hanging evergreen bows and weathered wood of the Deacon John Grave House—built in 1685—more than 40 microbreweries set up tents filled with kegs and bottles of suds. Foam flingers such as Blue Point, Harpoon, and Narragansett pour IPAs and summer ales, joining brewers of more exotic potions such as gluten-free beers or ales crafted by Trappist monks. As guests sip samples and snack on pizza and burgers, the deep bass vibrations of live bands aerate the beer for maximum flavor. All proceeds from the afternoon’s revelry go toward funding the SARAH Foundation, whose agencies provide programs and services for Connecticut residents with intellectual and other disabilities.
Ballou?s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou?s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they?ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader?s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Bishop's Orchards was established in 1871, when the first of six Bishop generations began filling shoreline bellies with fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Today, having withstood 140 years worth of technology changes and weather disasters, the orchard continues to thrive, currently growing crops on more than 320 total acres—313 of which are family-owned. In 2005, the orchard stretched its homegrown empire into potable territories with the birth of a winery, which produces more than 15 wines using the farm's fruit. Not to be outdone, the orchard's market is still a year-round source for fresh produce more than a century after it sprouted into a humble roadside stand from a single appleseed.
SBC Restaurant & Brewery lines up an inviting smorgasbord of comfort food to be devoured alongside an arsenal of brewed on-site beers. Take in the expanse of the appetite-assassinating lunch menu (served from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.) and try not to set off the fire alarms while your head smokes with indecision before easing yourself in with the SBC calamari, which comes prepared three ways: crispy with marinara and rémoulade, fried with hot peppers and artichoke hearts, and sticky with a sweet chili Sriracha glaze ($6.99). Follow that up with the crispy chicken salad, festooned with mandarin oranges, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola, and honey white balsamic vinaigrette ($12.99), or the margherita pizza topped with sliced fresh tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and basil ($10). SBC burgers are 8 ounces of natural custom-quality beef served on a handmade roll and topped with american, provolone, cheddar, swiss, fontina, or mozzarella cheese ($7.99).
Named for a small archipelago off the Branford coast, Thimble Island Brewing Company began with the home-brewed concoctions of Connecticut Natives Justin Gargano and Mike Fawcett. Though they lacked formal training, the duo tirelessly spent nights and weekends tinkering with their recipes until they sold their first pint of American Ale to KC's Pub in Guilford. Today, American Ale is one of the brewery's three mainstay beers, which Justin and Mike craft along with specialty batches such as a dark pumpkin porter. The twosome keeps four beers on tap at Thimble Island's tasting room, where visitors can drop in to fill up a growler, buy a t-shirt, or take a tour. Outside the brewery, Justin and Mike's beers grace many local establishments, including pubs and grocery stores.