As the sun rises and falls on the Connecticut River Valley, its rays streak across the trellised vineyards of Arrigoni Winery. The winery creates a variety of crisp whites and luscious reds, both characterized by their soft, approachable fruit flavors. In addition to these traditional offerings, the vintner also makes wines blended from orchard-fresh apples, tart cranberries, and even maple syrup. After enjoying a glass of wine on the scenic outdoor patio, visitors are encouraged to peruse the onsite gift shop?s collection of Yankee Candles, wine-themed presents, and baby photos of budding grape clusters.
Glasses lift into a treble-laden symphony of toasts and from a distance, many of the elixirs they contain seem nearly the same. Up close, 28 wines by the glass and more than 75 unique varietals by the bottle span a rainbow of hues, from reds deep and earthy enough to appear almost black to white wines barely kissed with a delicate straw color. In The Hidden Vine Wine Bar and Lounge's dedicated room for tastings and classes, guests further hone noses and taste buds to make nearly imperceptible distinctions in flavor and bouquet.
Drawing upon family recipes held close to their hearts, culinarians fill two dining areas with inventive dishes including bruschetta draped in paper-thin soppressata, peach honey, and hanger steak. Beneath diamond-shaped burgundy paintings, forks chatter against plates of fresh pasta and patrons sidle up to the marble bar for a chilly cocktail. A patio begs diners to let the warm sun aid in digestion or in calming outraged bulls delivering pamphlets to the eatery's crimson ceilings.
The Coastal Wine Trail draws together a variety of coastal producers, whose vines speckle hillsides along the southern coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut: Truro Vineyards, Travessia Winery, Coastal Vineyards, Running Brook Winery, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard, Greenvale Vineyards, Newport Vineyards, Langworthy Farm Winery, and Stonington Vineyards. A passport grants visitors passage for 2 to 10 wineries, where they may learn about and perhaps purchase each producer's favored libations?mostly whites and sparkling wines but a few reds?which are characterized by their growing proximity to the coastline and the dual-climatic influences of Gulf Stream waters and the screams of passing water-skiers.
If you had passed by in 1978, you probably would have missed Vito's Pizzeria. The storefront was completely invisible from the street, an unfortunate reality that might have been the death knell for a lesser business. But the 600-square-foot, strictly-take-out pizzeria managed to survive and even thrive based solely on word of mouth.
It's been more than 30 years, and people are still talking. Thankfully, the pizzeria has expanded quite a bit in terms of space and menu. Today, Vito's chefs craft everything from deep-dish pies to Italian grinders, which, as their name suggests, taste just as good when ground up and served with a straw.
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.
Southington Wine and Spirits stocks its cellar with an extensive array of reds and whites dispensed to consuming clientele by a brigade of knowledgeable staffers during cranium-packing classes. Taught by Court of Master Sommeliers member Matteo Fagin, Wine 101 classes guide novices through an overview of the evening's sampled wines, bestow pointers on advanced techniques for discerning each concoction's flavors, and disproves the theory that wine is made by tricking raisins into taking a bath. Subsequent tastings pair pours of six wines culled from myriad regions with abundant appetizers. Courses commence at Pagliacci's Restaurant on Monday or Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or in students’ minds as soon as they master astral projection.