Which wines are made with your grapes? Wedge White, Clemons Springs, our Dry Riesling and Sweet Riesling and Enders Reserve are made entirely with our own grapes. Our Rose is made by pressing our Seyval Blanc juice through Merlot skins.
Do you grow any red wine grapes? All of our vines are for white wine. We don't grow any red wine grapes, bringing in all the fruit for our red wine from California. Connecticut's climate grows some excellent white wine grapes, however red wine grapes struggle to ripen. As such, we have decided to focus on what we know we can do well which is growing white wine grapes, and rely on other growers in California to produce the grapes for our red wines.
Why don’t you grow red wine grapes? Red grapes have a much longer growing season than white grapes so it is hard to get a variety that makes good wine and ripens in time for harvest.
Do you sell wine in any wine stores? We sell our wine at Granby's Cork & Keg.
Does your wine have sulfites? All wines contains some sulfites; sulfites are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process in amounts ranging from 6 to 40 parts per million (ppm.). Most serious winemakers and enology professors agree that to make a consistently stable wine and to prevent spoilage, some sulfites must be added to those naturally present. Sulfite agents are not intrinsically toxic to humans or to the environment.
We generally add between 30 and 40ppm of sulfites to our wine as a preservative. In the US, wines can contain up to 350ppm of sulfites. Organic winemaking standards limit the use of sulfites to 100ppm in all finished products. The FDA requires that wine with more than 10ppm of added sulfites must state "Contains Sulfites" on their label.
Is the wine aged in oak? Our red wines are aged in oak barrels for 6 to 12 months. Clemons Springs is our only white with an oak finish. We don’t use oak barrels for the Clemons, rather we use oak chips. We take one barrel of Clemons and put oak chips in it to get an oak flavor. We then blend this barrel with the remainder of the unoaked Clemons to get the right amount of oak flavor in the wine. Clemons Springs has a slightly oaked flavor.
What is history of the vineyard and property? This land was first farmed in the 1700’s. The story is a group of free thinking, independent minded people moved from Simsbury to Granby. Most were farmers and apple orchards were planted all up and down Lost Acres Road. In the 1900’s peach and other fruit trees were added. Much of the apples was used for hard apple cider and apple jack. This property was actively farmed as an apple orchard until the 1970’s. It was not used until Kevin and Michelle bought the property in 2008 with the intention of starting a vineyard. Kevin had made wine for many years as a hobby, and Kevin and Michelle wanted to start their own agricultural business so a vineyard was a natural fit. They opened the tasting room in 2010.
Ask about our eco-friendly initiatives? Our largest and most visible (and newest) eco friendly initiatives are our solar panels. These now provide 100% of the electricity needed for the vineyard. But long before we did the solar panels, we were very committed to the environment. Other eco friendly activities include composting all the grape residual, recycling as possible and following Integrated Pest Management practices. IPM is recommended by UConn and is a sustainable approach to managing pests, based on information that is collected systematically integrating economic, environmental, and social goals.
Who is the wine maker Kevin Riggott is our wine maker. He has been making wine for over 15 years. Kevin started out as a hobby wine maker. His first entry into wine making was making pear brandy after an unusually successful pear crop in the back yard. He went from this to making wine from juice from the Regional Farmers Market in 6 gallon carboys and 14 gallon kegs. Kevin learned winemaking through a combination of courses and on the job experience. When we decided to open a commercial vineyard, we hired our friend, Larry McCullough to help transition from hobby winemaker to commercial winemaker. Larry has been making wine in CT since 1979 first at Chamard and currently at Jones Family Winery.
Tell me about the wine making process All our grapes are processed in fall right after the harvest. The first step is fermentation. Yeast turns the sugar in wine into alcohol. This is a natural process. Once the fermentation is complete, we rack the wine. Racking means to siphon the wine must from one container to the next, so as to leave any sediment behind. The sole purpose of racking, “to leave the sediment behind.”
After the wine is fermented and racked, it is clarified. The clarification process takes out suspended particles in it due to the chemical reactions that took place during fermentation. Clarification is done by adding something for these particles to attach to, which will fall the bottom of the tank. The wine is then racked again.
Next step is cold stabilization. Cold stabilization is when you reduce the temperature of wine to nearly its freezing point to purposefully form tartrate crystals that then can be removed through racking. These harmless crystals form when tartaric acid precipitates out of the wine. They have no effect on the flavor but they can put people off because they look like sediment in the wine.
How do you make sweet wine? Sweet wine is made by stopping the fermentation process while there is still some sugar in the wine. Fermentation is stopped by making the wine cold
Where does the yeast come from? We purchase yeast, rather than using the natural yeast. This helps in creating consistency in the wine.
Are you part of the Wine Trail? Why aren’t you on the website? There are 2 different programs that support CT vineyards. The Passport program is run by the Dept of Agriculture, and we participate in the Passport program. The CT Wine Association does a website and publishes a brochure – this is fee based and we have not joined the association.
Where is the wine made? Kevin is the wine maker, all the wine is made in the onsite in the basement. For the white wine, we grow most of the fruit on site, supplementing some Riesling and most Chardonnay with fruit from NY. For the red wine, we make the wine here, but bring in all the fruit from California. Grapes are delivered each fall and we crush and ferment them here.
Do you grow your own Chardonnay? We planted chardonnay initially but it has not done well so we are phasing it out and rethinking our strategy as far as this grape goes. We do have a limited amount of our own grapes in our Chardonnay.
Any other questions?
Email us any other questions and we will add them to our FAQ.