They say that in wine resides truth, and the vineyards of New Hampshire are perhaps the greatest contemporary display of our Granite State’s stoic heart. Rugged grapes are required to withstand the climate, and just the right location with just the perfect soil is crucial. Many of New Hampshire’s vines were planted in the 1990s, a practically nonexistent timeline when compared to the rest of the world’s vineyards. Still, despite the odds, New Hampshire has become a world-class Dionysian destination, rivaling the likes of French and Californian wine country. Take yourself on an adventure and indulge in some of the finest wine available, right in your own backyard.
Seven Birches is like Disneyworld for oenophiles. Set at the gorgeous Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain, a stay at this Lincoln powerhouse is truly a tribute to wine. Two labels, “RiverWalk” and “Windy Ridge,” are produced on the grounds. “Windy Ridge” was the brand’s pioneer wine and is made from a variety of fruits, including pumpkin, blueberry, and apple, grown on the company farm in North Carolina. The more traditional “RiverWalk” is created from the highest quality grapes sourced from around the globe. Few places will allow you to stay at a five-star hotel and have tastings and production viewing available just meters from the front desk. The resort itself is a dream, with an extensive network of indoor/outdoor heated pools and hot tubs, as well as a specially designated “Adventure Concierge.”
A trip to Flag Hill Winery in Lee is a bit more well-rounded when it comes to available alcohol. Not only does Flag Hill produce truly top-notch wine for its own label, but in 2004 became the first distiller in the state of New Hampshire. Now, Flag Hill carefully crafts brands such as General John Stark Vodka and Josiah Bartlett Barrel Aged Apple Brandy. The property also plays host to some of the state’s most gorgeous weddings, but is just as pleasant for a casual picnic and tasting for two.
Zorvino Vineyards hits all the checkmarks of a quality New Hampshire winery: Grapes grown on site for the house label, imported from around the world for curious blends, and local produce crafted into delightful fruit wines. Combined with 80 acres of incredible vistas and romantic corners to duck into, a trip to this Sandown property has all the fixings of a fun filled afternoon or evening.
As one of the smaller wineries in the state, Candia still packs a quality punch where it matters: The wine, of course! Candia’s production is headquartered in a private home, rather than the multifunctional, winery/restaurant/event space hybrid so popular among contemporary vineyards. Despite its humble housing, the wine put out by this company is among the best in the world, and holds the awards and honors to prove it. One particular favorite is the Black Ice Dessert Wine. Be sure to set up your visit well in advance, as Candia Vineyards accommodates visitors on a smaller scale.
Fulchino vineyards claims the secret to its incredible wine is the fertile land of the winery itself, carefully guarded by the Pine Hill Valley. The Fulchino family prides itself on controlling every step on the journey from seedling to bottled bliss, and even built the structures that house the winery themselves. Some 40 years later, those same buildings continue to produce some of the finest wine on the East Coast, and a visit to Fulchino Vineyards is well worth a day and a drive.
LaBelle is indeed a sophisticated winery, but in reality, it is so much more. The Amherst locale features the typical tastings and tours, as well as a store, art gallery, and world class French restaurant. Even more, they provide interesting experiences for visiting oenophiles. Events such as yoga, fundraisers, live music, art discussions, and cooking classes make this a regal recreational hub right here in New Hampshire.
Jewell Towne Vineyards was once nothing more than a dream held close by an Emergency Room Doctor who longed for something different. Three decades and endless hard work later, this quaint vineyard is producing truly quality wine. Stop by the reproduction 18th century winery for a complimentary tour and tasting.
Sweet Baby Vineyard grows six varieties of grapes on site, and outsources its other fruit needs exclusively to New Hampshire farms. Pop in for a glass of cheer and a cheese plate at this authentic family gem.
Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith is about as local as local gets. All fruit, honey, and flowers used in their wine making process are sourced from the community, and some are foraged from the surrounding forests. The folks at Hermit Woods are also genuinely interested in sharing their extensive knowledge of wine and food, and the glass used for your tasting is yours to keep as a memento!
The family behind Walpole’s Mountain View Winery has made it their business to know as much as possible about both winemaking and the aspects of New Hampshire’s climate that make that practice all the more difficult. The result is high quality wine in a gorgeous setting, created by passionate people. There are also generally events open to visitors during the grape harvest, yet another interesting way to further your wine education.