Oh yes, there is wine to taste in Vermont.
There’s wine in Vermont that’s starting to grab the attention of sommeliers and other wine enthusiasts. While the scene is a far cry from the Napa Valleys and Finger Lakes of the world, that’s part of the draw.
In Vermont, you get the feeling you’re setting foot in unexplored wine country—a region still very much on the up and up.
- Oh yes, there is wine to taste in Vermont.
- Exceptional Wineries in Vermont to Explore & Why They're Worth a Visit
- Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Vermont Wineries
The state is better known for its other exports, from award-winning cult beers like Heady Topper to groovy jam bands like Phish. This is, after all, the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and its many delectable concoctions, from Wavy Gravy to Bovinity Divinity. Increasingly, the place is getting noticed for its fermented grapes. And given the context of climate change, Vermont’s wine future is actually pretty bright.
Vermont has a few things going for it from a wine growing perspective. The harsh winters are an issue but fortunately there are an ever-increasing number of hybrid varietals available to weather the offseason. Additionally, cool-climate traditional varietals like Chardonnay and Riesling are showing real promise. Couple that with a growing season that’s trending warmer and a rich agricultural history and you have the makings of an industry.
Presently, there are about two dozen wineries in Vermont but that number will surely go up as the newest generation of producers reveal the potential here. Revered wine regions take time to grow up but it’s safe to say Vermont is off to a nice start. And again, if you prefer to enjoy wine away from the crowds and traffic, this is your domain.
If wine exploration is something you subscribe to, do not overlook The Green Mountain State. Better still, check it out in the fall when you get both the bustle of the wine harvest and the many shades of early autumn foliage.
Exceptional Wineries in Vermont to Explore & Why They’re Worth a Visit
6308 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482
The setting is hard to beat at Shelburne, home to a very bucolic, barn-inspired structure. It’s a popular hangout for those looking to unwind during a lazy afternoon. Like a lot of Vermont producers, Shelburne specializes in both cider and wine. Lookout for great offerings from the house label as well as their sibling natural wine label known as Iapetus (wild fermented).
Shelburne dabbles in refreshing white blends that combine grapes like Chardonnay and Cayuga and medium-bodied reds like Marquette. Check out the well-made Eden Ciders line while you’re at it, crafted from more than 50 heirloom apple varieties.
In addition to wines, the tasting room offers local snacks like cheeses and cured meats. The patio is not to be missed and Shelburne offers private educational tastings as well.
La Garagista Farm + Winery
1834 Mt Hunger Rd, Bethel, VT 05032
Located in Bethel, La Garagista has been at it for more than a decade. The pop-up estate tasting room features sprightly pet-nats, co-ferments involving wine grapes and other fruit, rancio sec wines, and sparkling red wines. The land has been part of a small homestead farming community for more than two decades and the wines are self-described as “alpine,” grown in the cool, hilly terrain.
La Garagista also makes aperitifs inspired by Old World classics like Campari and Chartreuse. Four vineyards are responsible for the fruit, all unique in terms of soil makeup and microclimate and the farming approach is biodynamic and regenerative.
Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits
Combining a winery and distillery, Boyden Valley operates out of a fourth-generation farm in Cambridge. The tasting room is set in an old carriage barn, where you can enjoy not only wine but crème liqueurs and maple bourbon. There are ice wines, fruit wines made from blueberries and cranberries, and more traditional wines made from varieties like Marquette. Grab a glass or get a signature milkshake. They even produce a spiced winter wine called Glogg for chilly evening sipping. The setting is certifiably storybook, with a stone patio overlooking the nearby mountains.
Ellison Estate Vineyard
69 E Shore N, Grand Isle, VT 05458
This Grand Isle outfit is quite new, having started in 2018. While the grapes are grown on the island in Lake Champlain, the winemaking happens at a small facility in Stowe. The seasonal tasting room is open during the day on the weekends. #Winetravelers can reserve indoor or outdoor seating or a place at the bar.
The wines are natural, featuring gorgeous labels and varietals like Marquette, Frontenac Noir, St. Croix, Prairie Star, La Crescent, and more. Here, you can feel the refreshing impact of the nearby lake and the many shades of green are as dazzling as the wines.
105 S Vermont 108, Jeffersonville, VT 05464 (Tasting Room)
Stella14 holds the distinction of being run by a Master Sommelier in David Keck. It’s just three years old, but the winery is already turning heads. The tasting room, located in Jefferson, pours airy and organic wines ideal for summer sipping. There, you can taste their work alongside beers, ciders, and wines from fellow producers. Winetravelers can enjoy the many great liquids while playing lawn games in the yard. It feels a bit like tasting at the winemaker’s home, which is very much a compliment.
Fable Farm Fermentory
22 Orchard Hill Rd, Barnard, VT 05031
This label encourages you to see cider as wine, making character-driven apple wines bursting with aromatics and complex flavors. The Barnard tasting room is set among the estate orchard and barn and features wine flights along with cheese boards, pizza, and other bites. You’ll leave with a greater respect for the history of apple farming in Vermont and the potential for great wines to be made out of sugar sources beyond just grapes.
What started as a local CSA produce venture is now making some of the most interesting aged ciders and herbal elixirs in the state.
Due North Vineyard
Skunks Misery Rd, Franklin, VT 05457
Located in Franklin, Due North lives up to its name, the northernmost winery in Vermont. The family-run operation touts estate fruit and makes a variety of white and reds from the likes of Frontenac, Louise, Crimson Pearl, Petite Pearl, and Marquette.
Now in its fifteenth year, the label has a tasting room open on Sundays during the summer. Winetravelers are encouraged to pack in their own picnics to enjoy with the estate wines. It’s a small operation so be sure to pop in as the supply is limited and you’re not likely to find their bottles in other retail locations. Plus, you might even get an impromptu tour of the facility while there.
Snow Farm Vineyard & Winery
190 W Shore Rd, South Hero, VT 05486
The state’s first commercial winery, Snow Farm Vineyard, launched in the mid-1990s. Set on the shore of Lake Champlain, the 140-acre farm features amazing views and a relaxed atmosphere. There’s a tasting room as well, well-stocked with pink wine, Marquette, and other styles.
The place is popular on summer weekends when Snow Farm tends to host outdoor concerts. Look out for session-able pet-nat wines, citrusy Vidal Blanc, off-dry Riesling, beery-driven Baco Noir, and even some dessert wines.
The beauty of the Champlain Islands is abundant here and the label likens the cool growing season to what you’d find in Burgundy. Winetravelers can even stay at the nearby Snow Farm Inn, a beautiful farmhouse with views of Mount Mansfield.
The wines at ZAFA are both playful and inventive, with no fining, filtering, or additives involved in the process. They tend to mix it up, combining wine grapes with orchard fruit for tasty hybrid wines, canned and ready for enjoyment. The place has a following and the releases sell fast, so order early and often.
While not yet visit-able, the plan is to have an onsite winery and tasting room in the near future. So for now, you’ll have to sniff around for wines in area eateries and shops. ZAFA sums up what so many Vermont producers are about, showcasing unique terroir in unique ways and honoring a past rich with growing your own food and drink.
Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Vermont Wineries
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