No, you don’t actually need a passport to visit the Connecticut Wine Trail, but you can have fun collecting stamps and earning badges while sipping the best wines New England has to offer.
Just like the national parks and historic Route 66 have their own passport systems, the Connecticut Wine Trail has come up with a unique way for visitors to track their experiences and search for the next location. Let’s learn more about why you should join the wine trail!
What Is the Connecticut Wine Trail?
There are 22 participating wineries included in the Connecticut Wine Trail. Most are in the state’s western, eastern, and southern portions. There are none in the Hartford area. You can start your journey anywhere and use the app to find your next stop. Search by product or experience or locate the next nearest winery along the trail.
This unique collection of wineries offers guests a variety of award-winning wines and beautiful scenery. Visitors will notice the distinct differences among the regions of Connecticut as they sip glasses of wine from East Canaan to Clinton to Woodstock.
When Is the Best Time to Visit the Connecticut Wine Trail?
The wineries are open year-round but may change operating hours depending on the season. Want to take in all the Connecticut Wine Trail has to offer? Visit during the late spring, summer, or early fall months when you can enjoy live music and festivities and sample wines. The online calendar shows food trucks, live music happenings, pairings, and more at each location.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Wineries on the Connecticut Wine Trail?
There is no charge or purchase required to collect stamps along the Connecticut Wine Trail. Participants must be over the age of 21, but they don’t have to be Connecticut residents. Usually, tours are free, but tastings have a fee. Glasses, bottles, and cases are also available for purchase.
Traveler’s Tip: After enjoying your wine tasting, check out The Glass House in Connecticut.
What Is the Connecticut Wine Trail’s Passport App?
The Connecticut Wine Passport app is free to download on Android and Apple devices. It showcases all of the wineries that participate in the Connecticut Wine Trail. You can collect passport stamps, earn badges, and enter to win prizes as you visit the different locations along the wine trail. It’s also a way to track your progress, find farms in Connecticut, and learn about the varietals they grow and the wines they produce.
Sponsored by the Connecticut Farm Wine Development Council (CFWDC), the idea was to help market licensed farm wineries across the state. There are 35 participating farm wineries listed on the passport app.
Best Wineries Along the Connecticut Wine Trail
Although there are a couple dozen wineries along the Connecticut Wine Trail, a few stand out as must-visit locations. They offer unique wines and beautiful spaces to enjoy your afternoon or evening.
Saltwater Farm Vineyard
Address: 349 Elm St, Stonington, CT 06378
About the Winery: Situated on 100 acres along the Connecticut coastline, Saltwater Farm Vineyard offers stunning views of tidal marshes and the Long Island Sound. The unique centerpiece of the property is the World War II-era vintage hangar that has been preserved and converted into a winery.
Grape varietals include Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer. The vineyard produces 1,000 cases each year.
Jones Family Farm
Address: 606 Walnut Tree Hill Rd, Shelton, CT 06484
About the Winery: Six generations of the Jones family have been farming their land for 150 years. The Tasting Room is a renovated 19th-century dairy barn where guests receive a complimentary logo wine glass during their sampling. Strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, squash, and Christmas trees are all grown throughout the year, so guests enjoy a full farm experience no matter what time of year they visit.
Grape varietals include Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, Lemberger, Muscat, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, Chancellor, Riesling, and Cayuga White. The vineyard produces 5,000 cases each year.
Connecticut Valley Winery
Address: 1480 Litchfield Turnpike, New Hartford, CT 06057
About the Winery: Anthony and Judith Ferraro established the Connecticut Valley Winery in 2005. Located in historic New Hartford, the vineyard consists of 30 acres. Enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, in front of the fireplace, or on the patio surrounded by luscious grape vines.
Grape varietals include Chardonel, Cayuga, Chambourcin, Frontenac, Geneva Red 7, Marquette, Vidal Blanc, Frontenac Grigio, Aurora, Landot Noir, and Vignoles.
Traveler’s Tip: While visiting CT, go for a swim in one of these 10 Waterfalls in Connecticut That You Need To See.
Paradise Hills Vineyard
Address: 15 Windswept Hill Rd, Wallingford, CT 06492
About the Winery: Albert and Richard Ruggiero planted their first vineyard in 1997. They supplied grapes to local wineries for 14 years before opening their own winery and tasting room in 2011. The Tuscan-styled room provides a romantic setting to enjoy the countryside and sip samples of wine.
Their most recent wine release on Mother’s Day in 2022 featured Sauvignon Blanc, a rich, smooth wine exhibiting a zesty bouquet with abundant peach and pineapple flavors. Grape varietals include Chardonnay, Cayuga, Chambourcin, Landot Noir, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, and Vidal. The vineyard produces 1,200 cases each year.
Walker Road Vineyards
Address: 11 Walker Rd, Woodbury, CT 06798
About the Winery: Located in beautiful, historic Woodbury, Walker Road Vineyards is a small, family-owned farm winery with a 150-year-old renovated barn for a Tasting Room. The winery focused on producing blended wines, meaning each bottle contains more than one grape varietal.
Walker Road has five signature bottles: Walker Road Red Table Wine, Gertrude’s Garden White Table Wine, Rosalie, Marquette, and St. Croix. Grape varietals include St. Croix, Marquette, Seyval Blanc, and Traminette.
Sunset Meadow Vineyards
Address: 599 Old Middle St, Goshen, CT 06756
About the Winery: In 1996, George and Judy Motel purchased Sunset Meadow Farm. It was a beef cattle farm then, but in 2003, Sunset Meadow Vineyards was established. The 50-acre vineyard lies on the Litchfield Hills, the perfect soil for growing grapes.
The winery and Tasting Room are inside an 1800s German Bank Barn, creating a unique atmosphere among the surrounding rolling hills. Grape varietals include Cayuga White, Chardonnay, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Chardonel, Lemberger, Frontenac, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Taylor Brooke Winery
Address: 848 CT-171, Woodstock, CT 06281
About the Winery: Established by Richard (Dick) and Linda Auger in 1999, Taylor Brooke Winery started with 300 hand-planted vines – now, there are 7,200 vines. The winery produces 17 small batch wines and Connecticut’s first brandy made from 100% estate-grown wine.
Relax in Adirondack chairs with a glass of wine in hand or join friends for a drink under the covered pavilion. Grape varietals include Traminette, Vignoles, Cayuga White, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac, Noiret, Corot Noir, and St. Croix. The vineyard produces 3,300 cases each year.
Taste the Connecticut Wine Trail
If you’re looking for something fun to do with your partner or best friend, get your passport and head up to the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sip the seven-time winner Cayuga White at Sunset Meadow Vineyard or the Gold Medal winner Muscat Ottonel at The Jones Winery.
No matter where you go, you’ll experience the finest wines in New England made by families who strive for perfection. The hardest part of your trip may be deciding which winery to start with.
Which winery on the Connecticut Wine Trail do you want to visit first? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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