When it comes to reasons to visit Vermont, wine doesn’t usually make the top of the list. Most people visit for the stunning scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. However, Vermont boasts a number of exceptional wineries that are producing award-winning wines with characteristics unique to the terroir and climate.
The following are two of the best wineries to visit in the Green Mountain State.
Located in a town by the same name, Shelburne Vineyard has achieved a number of distinctions. These include being designated Best Winery in Vermont in 2015. The winery grows its grapes exclusively on local vineyards, all of which are within seven miles of the tasting room. The result is a selection of unique wines that have won awards at several major competitions.
Shelburne Vineyard’s award-winning wines include La Crescent, the 2015 vintage of which won the Double Gold Medal at the 2016 International Cold Climate Wine Competition. It was also awarded the Gold Medal at both the 2016 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and the 2016 Eastern States Exposition. The 2018 vintage features aromas of floral aromas and a strong acidic finish.
Another award-winning white wine is the Louise Swenson. The 2015 vintage took home the Silver Medal at the International Cold Climate Wine Competition and the Bronze Medal at the 2016 Eastern States Exposition. The latest vintage has floral and citrus aromas as well as a slight gooseberry flavor.
While Shelburne Vineyard excels most at making white wines, it also produces several red wines, including the Marquette and the Marquette Reserve. The latter is a semi-sweet red blend. The 2013 vintage won the Bronze Medal at both the 2016 Eastern States Exposition and the 2016 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition.
Finally, Shelburne Vineyard offers an award-winning Rosé called Whimsey Meadow Rosé. The 2015 vintage was highly successful, winning Best in Category and taking home the Double Gold Medal at the International Cold Climate Wine Competition. It also received the Bronze Medal at both the 2016 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and the 2016 Eastern States Exposition.
Visitors can sample these and other wines during daily tastings, which come with a souvenir wine glass. Shelburne Vineyard also offers tours of its vineyard and winery and hosts a number of events, such as First Thursday Concerts and Wine & Story events. To learn more about Shelburne Vineyard, visit www.shelburnevineyard.com.
Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits
One of the first wineries to obtain a license in Vermont, Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits is located on land that has been farmed by the Boyden family for four generations. The family previously ran a dairy farm. In fact, many of the winery’s stainless-steel fermentation tanks were formerly used as milk tanks.
The winery continues the state’s rich dairy tradition as the first craft distillery in the country to specialize in cream liqueurs. In fact, one of Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits’ unique award-winning creations is its Vermont Ice Maple Cream Liqueur. It combines Vermont apple brandy, cream, Vermont Ice Cider, and maple syrup produced on-site with a traditional wood-fired evaporator.
Another truly local product is the Cranberry Wine, which the Boyden family began to produce years ago while waiting for its first grape harvest. Today, this wine is made with cranberries from The Vermont Cranberry Company, the state’s only cranberry bog.
Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits also makes the most of Vermont’s cool climate to make ice wines. Ice wines are made with hardy grapes that withstand temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
The winery allows the grapes to freeze on the vine and harvests them by hand when temperatures are in the 20s. The result is a selection of outstanding ice wines. These include the Vermont Ice Red, which features plum and blackberry flavors, and Vermont Ice, a white wine with green apple, pear, and apricot flavors.
The winery even produces a sparkling ice wine called Frontenac Brut Rosé. Made with Frontenac grapes and some Vermont Ice Red, this wine undergoes a second fermentation process via the Charmat process. This gives the wine its smooth bubbles.
Also a cider manufacturer, Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits produces the award-winning Vermont Ice Cider. In 2013, this wine took home the Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. In addition, it earned Silver Medals at both the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and the San Diego International Wine Competition.
The winery’s ciders include the Honey Hopper Cider, a dry-hopped cider with a bit of local honey. Its Cran-Bog Cider resembles a light Rosé and features apple and cranberry flavors.
Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits welcomes guests to visit and sample its excellent wines and ciders in its tasting room, which is housed in an old restored carriage barn dating back to 1875. Visitors can enjoy a variety of wines accompanied by a variety of Vermont chocolates and cheeses.
To finish the day, guests should order one of the winery’s most unique creations, the Vermont Ice Maple Cream Milk Shake. This delicacy is made with the Vermont Ice Maple Crème Liqueur and vanilla ice cream.
To learn more about Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits and its wines, products, and upcoming events, visit boydenvalley.com.