As the warm sun rises over the foothills of Sherman, the staff at White Silo Farm & Winery is already hard at work—tending the grape vines, picking fresh raspberries for jams, and bottling sweet wines within the rustic 1800s barn that houses the winery. Guests can stroll the lush outdoor gardens and pick their own berries from the raspberry and blackberry bushes. The winemakers host tastings in their winery, when guests can sample a variety of small-batch fruit and grape wines, such as the crisp rhubarb, the upland red and white grape, and the sparking red raspberry.
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.
At The Wine Press, aficionados crush, press, rack, and bottle their own brand of wine. Overseen by the shop's staff, amateur winemakers craft their silky reds with the same process as modern-day wineries. Through this process, they learn how much time and care goes into winemaking. They can produce varietals such as sangiovese or pinot noir or create hybrids such as a cabernet-merlot or a sentient pinot-human. To show off the possibilities of winemaking at their facility, The Wine Press also leads guided tours and wine tastings during the summer months.
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.
Chappaqua Wine & Spirit Company curates a selection of small estate wines, often created in small batches. In addition to its wide-ranging wines, the shop sells glassware, corkscrews, and wine bags, plus spirits ranging from single-malt scotches to tequilas.