WESTERN MASS. – Since the days of 4100 B.C., wine has been a celebrated dinner table staple for a range of communities. While National Wine Day has been celebrated since 2009 – this year on Aug. 28 – National Red Wine Day became a new staple in 2013 when Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, known as the “Queen of Holidays,” created the event. According to her website, National Red Wine Day was created as a way of infusing the summer’s humid conditions with a wine typically savored in chillier months.
The Reminder Publishing staff visited some local wineries to experience what Western Massachusetts has to offer. These wineries will be open throughout the fall season, with some of them opening for operation in the coming weeks. We encourage readers to frequent their favorite local wineries.
Amherst Farm Winery
Amherst Farm Winery, located at 529 Belchertown Rd., appears as a rustic location inside of an old dairy barn. According to their website, this aged venue has been modernized with a “state-of-the-art winery,” and tasting room.
Tastings are offered Friday through Monday from 12 to 5 p.m., lasting March through December. Tasters are able to choose six of the 19 vintage wines offered, including some “award-winning, unique flavors” such as apple, blueberry, cranberry, pear, peach, raspberry and many more. To accompany your tasting, you’ll receive a logo glass – all for $8.
Aside from tasting, wine is offered by the glass or bottle. Guests are encouraged to bring snacks to enjoy with their wines. To be utilized in nicer weather, a barrel patio is located outside, along with a leather sofa neighboring a fire pit.
Those interested in hosting a private function or celebration at the winery are encouraged to contact email@example.com for more information and availability. The most up-to-date information, specials and live music schedule can also be found on the winery’s Facebook page.
Brimfield Winery & Cidery
Family-run Brimfield Winery and Cidery has partnered with Musto Wine Grape Co. to offer a relaxing wine tasting experience. Patrons can try locally-made wines, beer and hard cider in the tasting room, the wine garden or under the pavilion.
There are four white wines, two red and a rosé for visitors to choose from. Flavored with a variety of fruits, spices and floral notes, each has a distinct aroma and taste. The wines can be enjoyed on site or purchased at Brimfield Market in Brimfield and Micknucks in Sturbridge.
The winery offers live music every day, plus cruise nights and food trucks. The scenic grounds can also serve as a location for weddings, birthdays, reunions and other special occasions. Every May, July and September, antiques enthusiasts flock to Brimfield for the world’s largest outdoor flea market and Brimfield Winery and Cidery’s nearby location makes it a popular destination for the visitors
Brimfield Winery & Cidery is open Fridays, from 4 to 8 p.m. and on the weekend, from 12 to 6 p.m. Located at 35 Main St. in Brimfield, it can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 245-3436.
East Granby, CT
Brignole Vineyards, located at 103 Hartford Ave., has an array of red, white and rosé wines to choose from. According to their website, the vineyard is family owned and spans across 15 acres of land.
One of their most popular red wines, as determined through its likes online, is Unbridled. They describe this as “a soft wine with lots of red currant, raspberry, cherry characters with hints of rose. The taste is complex with lots of red berries, black pepper, with spice and undertones of cinnamon. This wine is well balanced and finishes with silky tannins and soft oak flavors.”
Unbridled can be purchased online or in-store for $28. In addition to reds, their protracted list of wines can be found and bought both in-store and on their website at https://www.brignolevineyards.com/.
Brignole Vineyards has a tasting room as well. For only $16, you can try four wines and even receive a complimentary Brignole wine glass. Additionally, Brignole offers sangria and slushies with flavors that change weekly.
Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 1 to 7 p.m., Saturday, 12 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m. To learn more about Brignole, visit their website or call 860-653-9463.
R Dee Winery
R Dee Winery is a family-run business operated by Michele and Mark McAuliffe. According to their website, the two met while attending Ithaca College in New York, with both developing a passion for wineries while living in the Finger Lakes Region. Along with their families, Michele and Mark built the winery by hand in the “vision of tradition and romance,” according to their website.
Along with a variety of white and sangria options, R Dee’s has four distinct red wine options, including a Strength in Numbers malbec, Opportunity red table wine, Partners in Crime red blend and a Slainte Petite Syrah. The winery also carries a rotating schedule of wine slushies, which are made entirely from fresh fruits and juices according to their website.
R Dee Winery is located on 504 Hazard Ave. in Enfield. They are open on weekends, Fridayfrom 3 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 12 to 9:30 p.m, and Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m. They will also be open Thursdayfrom 4 to 9 p.m. once the wine season begins. R Dee Winery can be reached at 860- 692-2472 or at email@example.com.
Mineral Hills Winery at Godard’s Red Hen Farm
According to the winery’s website, Godard’s Red Hen Farm began when Larry and Sue Godard began growing apples and keeping bees in 1984. Since then, they have expanded to growing blueberries, grapes and managing their own apiary, going on to add the winery in 2010.
With about 15 different varieties of wines, their motto is “wines to please all palates.” Varieties of red wines listed on their website include a cabernet sauvignon, chambourcin, Frontenac, a sweet red called Red Hen Red. White wine varieties include a Chardonnay, seyval blanc, Cayuga and a May wine which is described as a riesling infused with Sweet Woodruff. The winery also boasts two fruit wines including an apple wine and a wicked blue blueberry wine, as well as a blush wine called NoHo blush. Additionally, the winery also makes their own wine from honey called mead wine, with honey produced on their farm.
Mineral Hills Winery is located at 592 Sylvester Rd. in Florence and can be reached at 586-2575. The winery offers tastings, tours and even accommodates private events. Tastings are done Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The winery is open From April to July 1 and in December on Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is open daily from July to November from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For recent health guidelines and mandates at the winery visit https://www.mineralhillswinery.com/.
Hardwick Vineyard and Winery
Hardwick Vineyard and Winery leans into its Massachusetts home with wines such as Yankee Boy White, Quabbin Native and Hardwick Honey. For the fall, the winery offers flavors with a seasonal tone, like Massetts Cranberry, Pioneer Pumpkin and Harvest Maple.
The most popular red wine is “probably Baystate Blueberry,” said Manager Kaitlyn Young. “Wine slushies are very popular, too.”
Owned by John Samek, Hardwick Vineyard and Winery is a restored 1795 mansion on 150 acres of land, used to grow the grapes that are used to create the signature wines. The white wines are a mixture of Cayuga white, seyval blanc, vidal blanc and a French hybrid grape. The red wines are mainly composed of dechaunac red, and catawba grapes. To these, the winery adds honey, apricots, raspberries and an array of other fruits and spices, creating their unique wines, including what the website calls “possibly the only Asparagus Wine made commercially in the world.”
A limited food menu is offered to pair with the wines and a handy list of sangria recipes are available on the winery’s website. The site also contains a schedule of live music, which the vineyard hosts daily.
Aside from music, the business also hosts several community events, including a Craft Fair on Sept. 4. “It’s our first [event] since COVID-19 and it benefits the Ware Food Bank. We also have a police fundraiser coming up. We try to give back to the community,” said Young.
Hardwick Vineyard and Winery’s products are sold at liquor stores throughout the Pioneer Valley and in select locations in central Massachusetts. A full list of sellers can be found at https://www.hardwickwinery.com. To try the wines in person, visit the vineyard’s booth at the Big E for its two-week run in September.
Hardwick Vineyard and Winery is located at 3305 Greenwich Rd., Hardwick and can be reached at 967-7763. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, it is open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The winery is open on weekends during the colder months.
Echo Hill Orchards Winery and Distillery
Echo Hills has been owned and operated by the Krupczak family for more than 20 years and offers Western Massachusetts residents a variety of wines and locally grown seasonal fruits available to be picked.
Winery Manager Ashley Krupczak said while the winery at 101 Wilbraham Rd. in Monson was closed when she spoke to Reminder Publishing, it would reopen on Aug. 28 and 29. This, she explained, was the beginning of the pick your own (PYO) season where families were invited to visit the winery and pick their own apples, peaches, pumpkins and sunflowers.
Krupczak said in preparation for the upcoming season, they were hard at work preparing new and popular products. “We actually just bottled and have ready our Goblin Grog, a pumpkin chardonnay. It was a best seller last year and sold out in a month and a half,” she said. “We bottled two barrels, so that will be back again.”
She went to say that new to the vineyard this year was their bottle sangria. “We just bottled our first ever sangria. Usually we make it out of [several] fruit wines, but now you purchase it and it’s already made,” she said. Also new to the winery this year was their ability to serve distillery items on tap to customers.
“This is the first fall year with our pour license to pour up to 90 proof distillery items that we make. We’ll have different mixed and frozen drinks for the fall,” she said. Krupczak added that in addition to having 25 items on their tasting list, which includes wines and moonshines, they will also be serving a cider that was made special for the winery.
“For the first time we have a hard cider that was made for us by another orchard. We’ll have that for tasting and to sell,” she said.
In addition to bottling their own products, Krupczak said they grow nearly all the produce used to make their wines and sangria. “We grow and use just about every single fruit. We bring in grapes for one or two varieties,” she said. Such fruits grown include raspberries, peaches and pears.
When the winery opens, Krupczak said they will have PYO Macintosh apples, peaches and anticipate having their sunflower field ready for people to enjoy for photos. They will remain open from Wednesday to Friday from 12 to 6 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While there are currently no plans for any specific health and safety measures, she said they will follow any guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they did last year. Additionally, she said there was “sanitizer on premises” and “public places are sanitized as much as we can.”
More information about the winery’s offerings, hours and any updated health and safety measures can be found online at https://echohillorchards.com/ and on the Echo Hills Orchards and Winery Facebook Page.
Lost Acres Vineyards
North Granby, CT
What was once an apple orchard is now known as Lost Acres Vineyard. Owners Kevin Riggott and Michelle Niedermeyer turned this land into a popular place that attracts many visitors.
According to their website, they offer white, red and specialty wines. Their red list consists of four flavors: Silkey Red, Firehouse Red, Rock Wall Red and merlot. With fall right around the corner, an Old Orchard Apple specialty wine may be just what you’re looking for.
Inside the barn at Lost Acres Vineyard is their tasting room. Here, guests have the opportunity to have a glass of wine, observe an art gallery, enjoy live music, and even indulge in fresh food that’s made onsite.
The vineyard often has food trucks, along with special events such as yoga. To learn more about Lost Acres Vineyards and their upcoming events, visit https://www.lostacresvineyard.com/ or call 860-324-9481.
Lost Acres Vineyards is located at 80 Lost Acres Road. Their summer hours are Friday, 12 to 7 p.m., Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m., and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Glendale Ridge Vineyards
Officially opening their doors in 2017, Glendale Ridge Vineyards began planting their grapes in 2010. Over a decade later, they now welcome crowds to their location at 155 Glendale Road.
According to their website, their goal is to provide a safe environment for guests, while also allowing them to return to the “roots” of their winery; offering tastings and a classic vineyard experience.
Glendale Ridge Vineyards grows their estate wines in Southampton. Some of their unique wines are made from grapes that are sourced from “some of the best” vineyards on Long Island and in the Finger Lakes region.
Whether you are in the mood for sparkling, red, white, or rosé wine, this vineyard has it all. A Glendale Ridge Vineyard favorite is malbec – a 2019 red wine. “The nose is of dark fruit with a little smoke. Black cherry, strawberry and cedar flavors shine with a beautiful acidity on the finish,” reads their website. The bottle costs $35 to consume on-site and $25 for a bottle to go.
Wine tastings include a flight of five wines, costing $10 per person. For groups of 6 or more, reservations can be made by calling 527-0164.
The official list of Glendale Ridge wines can be found and ordered on their website at https://www.glendaleridgevineyard.com/. In addition, they have merchandise such as hats and wine glasses, along with a pantry consisting of syrup, jellies, cocktail mixers and more.
Their hours of operation are Thursday and Friday, 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 7 p.m.
Lazy Valley Winery
Owned and operated by Scott Santaniello, Lazy Valley Winery offers distinctly homemade options at 69 Parker St. in Springfield.
Santaniello’s start in the wine business was initiated from a young age. “Growing up, my family always made it in the cellar,” said Santaniello. He explained the intimate process behind creating aromatic wines, which includes crushing grapes and fermenting them in rustic barrels.
This initial learning process inspired Santaniello to learn the grape manipulation process in order to create his own wines. “It’s fun to make your own wines,” said Santaniello. The homemade process creates a particularly pungent brand of wine according to Santaniello. He said the bolder flavor wasn’t always a popular choice for customers, but it has recently received positive appraisals from those who favor the homemade offering’s rustic sensibility.
Lazy Valley Winery offers a range of options for customers, including red zinfandel, orange mascato, mother merlot and petite nebbiolo. The petite nebbiolo is especially close to Santaniello’s heart, as he said the wine was crafted as an ode to his daughters 10 years ago. Santaniello initially operated at Indian Orchard Mills before moving to his current location three years ago.
When it comes to recommending a wine for customers, Santaniello believes patrons should trust their pallet. “Years ago, I would’ve told you [a specific wine], but I’ve learned that it all depends on the individual,” said Santaniello. For Santaniello, he said the deep, rich and bold dark red zinfandel Old Frog remains his personal favorite red wine. Lazy Valley Winery can be reached at 204-7110.
Raven Hollow Winery
Raven Hollow Winery at 436 Russellville Rd. in Westfield is open on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The winery, according to their website, produces wines from sustainably grown produce from Kosinski Farms “with the environment and our community in mind.” While most fruit used for their wines are grown locally, they also import grapes from vineyards in California, chosen for “the quality of their fruit and their commitment to the environment.”
Raven Hollow Winery offers a selection of fruit wines which include blackberry wine, peach wine, strawberry wine, apple wine, blueberry wine, strawberry rhubarb, apple cranberry wine, ginger-spiced candied apple wine, raspberry wine, cherry wine, sweet apple wine and an apple raspberry wine. More information and updates regarding health and safety guidelines can be found online at http://www.ravenhollowwinery.com/.
Outlook Farm on 136 Main Rd. (Route 66) in Westhampton offers customers craft ales, hard cider and wines. The farm makes wine from fruit grown right on their farm including blackberries, peaches, apples, plums, pears and cherries.
According to their website, https://outlookfarm.com/wineryandbrewery/winery, while the winery does not grow their own grapes, they source them from vineyards in both New York and California. Offerings at the farm change seasonally with their current wine list including a rosé, malbec and zinfandel. However, they offer a variety of fruit wines including a blackberry, white peach, apple, plum, cherry, pear and sangria. The farm also offers an array of dessert wines including an ice cider wine, pomodoro, blueberry port and blackberry port.
In addition to wine, patrons can enjoy shopping for produce, baked goods and other items as well as picking their own produce, enjoying barbeque and listening to live music during some months. Live music is hosted on the farm’s Backyard Taproom from May 15 to Oct. 31 on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. A full list of entertainment, as well as information about their upcoming Apple Fest, can be found at https://outlookfarm.com/wineryandbrewery/taproom.