Located in the quaint town of Wallingford, Connecticut, The Crush Club gives visitors the opportunity to make their own wine. Grapes are sourced from across the globe?from Chile during the spring and from California, Washington, and Italy during the fall. Over the course of a year, students crush and press grapes, clean their barrels, then bottle, cork, and custom label the resulting wine before taking it home with them. During blending experience classes, participants taste five different wines, learn about the winemaking process, and experiment to create their own blend, custom labeling and bringing home one 750mL bottle.
Since opening in 1975, Haight-Brown Vineyard has churned out 2,000 cases of grape-based libations each year from its nearly 10-acre vineyard and welcomed visitors into its rustic, cottage-like wine house. Emphasizing vinifera and French hybrid grapes, the state?s first-established winery creates a selection of wines that include the Big Red, a bold syrah; the Morning Harvest, a rich malbec; and Honey Nut Apple, a traditional apple wine that incorporates local honey and cinnamon. Vintners share their time-tested expertise during regular classes that teach aspiring oenophiles about a variety of vintages and techniques for cheese and chocolate pairing. Amid the tasting room?s wood accents and crackling stone fireplace, customers sample vintages and attempt to describe taste sensations with adjectives such as ?silky? or ?very different from milk.?
Just outside of Naples, Italy in a town called Dugenta, Salvatore Diliberto's family crafts its own wine each year and stores it in the cellar of the castle next door. Though miles away from the vineyard and the old stone building, Diliberto carries on the Old World techniques at his Jamesport winery, where he tends to several acres of vines including franc and chardonnay. He presses the grapes, barrel ages the wine, and bottles it with Diliberto labels?some of which bear an artistic rendering of the castle in Dugenta.
In his tasting room, Diliberto presents his specialty wines to guests during a tasting experience designed to transport them to his ancestral home. He forgoes the bar experience in favor of the small table settings that one finds staggered outside an Italian caf?. A mural on one end of the room further heightens the sense of travel, trading the North Fork for the bustling streets and sentient traffic lights of a Tuscan mountain town.
Established in 1997, the vines at Jason's Vineyard are now a fully mature 17 years of age, producing a wide variety of wines that includes two chardonnays, two merlots, sauvignon blanc, and many others. Their perfected roster of wines also includes a Golden Fleece blend, a clean, fruity wine whose grapes are guarded by dragons. Each wine can be sampled at the winery, built in 2009, where visitors may also purchase bottles, snack on cheeses, or enjoy time at a main bar shaped like a Greek trireme.
Voted the No. 2 best winery on Long Island by the Long Island Press, Pindar Vineyards pours out 70,000 cases of wine each year. Fortunately, this popular spot can accommodate droves of drinkers?the tasting room can host as many as 3,000 guests at any given time. Run by the same family behind Duck Walk and Jason Vineyard, Pindar has also become known for its field of cheery yellow sunflowers, which blossom in the summer months and frequently save Christmas in the winter months. These blooms inspired the name of the 2010 Sunflower chardonnay, an oak-aged limited reserve that pairs well with the crunch of a summer salad.
Whether you're searching for a new go-to table wine or trying to stock away a bottle worthy of celebration, finding your favorite wine can be a time-consuming process. Fortunately, the staff at The Wine Cellar Outlet makes this search a little easier on the wallet with their large selection of wines. The shop carries a range of vintages and varietals, from Sauvignon Blancs to bottles of Bordeaux, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Each wine is bottled and aged in notable regions around the globe, allowing tasters to sample the subtle differences in international growing conditions without taking a job as a traveling scarecrow. Reflecting the breadth of styles found in the world's wines, the shop's stock ranges from the obscure to the award-winning, with some bottles even bearing a gold seal of approval from the International Wine Challenge.