Happy Wine Wednesday Everybody!
I wanted to get this post out to all of you before I leave for Virginia tonight! I am heading down for a family event through Sunday morning and am looking forward to some time away. John and I are heading down a day before everyone else as Virginia has a beautiful wine country and I really wanted to spend a day checking out a few vineyards! Keep an eye on my Instagram over the next few days as I’ll share some pictures from the trip on my story (we'll be heading to this beautiful vineyard shown below, Stone Tower Winery first!)
So, given that I am heading down to wine country this week, it seemed appropriate for this post to be all about wine and weddings. I absolutely love wine – everything from trying new varietals, visiting vineyards and learning about the wine making process. I am by no means a wine connoisseur but I find everything about it very interesting! There’s always something new to learn and due to the nature of wine – you never taste the same wine twice. The varietals are always different depending on how the weather was that year, the winemaker’s process, when the grapes were harvested, etc.
You can guess my excitement when I was recently invited to be a guest on a local West Hartford TV show all about wine! The show is called Two Guys and a Lotta Wine and airs every Thursday at 9pm on the West Hartford Community Television channel. All episodes are also available on YouTube! The link to check out my episode is here - Two Guys and a Lotta Wine!
In this show, I talk about ways to incorporate wine into your wedding, how much wine you can expect to serve, and other ways to manage your bar at your wedding! I also got the pleasure of tasting four wines I had never had before including two new favorites: a bubbly Sauvignon Blanc by Villa Maria and a sparkling Shiraz (seriously I didn’t even know this existed) by The Chook. If you guys like red wine like I do but tend to avoid it in the summer (I mean who wants a warm glass of Cab when it’s 90 degrees out), then check out the sparkling Shiraz. It was super refreshing, tastes great when it’s chilled, and would be a great addition to any barbecue.
Since I love wine and weddings so much, it’s only natural that in this week’s post I feature a few of my favorite Connecticut vineyards that host weddings! I am a huge fan of the Connecticut Wine Trail and always have my passport book in my purse (I am determined to get at least 16 stamps this year, last year I think I got around 11). Connecticut has 41 vineyards participating in this year’s passport, but I know there are several others that choose not to participate. For such a small state, that gives us a lot of options really close to home! What better way to incorporate wine into your wedding than hosting it directly at the source.
Here are my top 5 choices for a vineyard wedding in Connecticut!
1. Jonathan Edwards Winery
Location: North Stonington, CT
Named by New Yorker Magazine as one of the “Top 16 Outdoor Venues to get Married in New England” – Jonathan Edwards does not disappoint! They host only wedding per weekend and their dates book up quickly. They do have a small indoor space for groups of up to 65 guests but the majority of weddings utilize their outdoor space for a tented affair of up to 200 guests. Rental fees come in around $8,000 which includes the ceremony fee, tent set-up and private use of the indoor and outdoor space. Ceremonies begin at 5:30pm after the winery has closed to the public. Cocktail hour is hosted within the tasting room, deck, and stone patio with guests then moving under the tent for the reception.
Catering is handled by one of their three preferred vendors: Gourmet Galley, A Thyme to Cook or Russell Morin Fine Catering. All wine for the wedding is to be provided by Jonathan Edwards and they do extend a 10% discount on all bottles consumed.
2. Priam Vineyards
Location: Colchester, CT
Priam Vineyards is one I have frequented as a guest several times now. I always enjoy coming to this winery. Fun fact about Priam – they were actually the first winery in New England to operate completely on solar power. They were also named Connecticut Winery of the Year in 2016 by the New York International Wine Competition where their Riesling and Salmon River Red also took home silver medals! The vineyard sits on 40 lush acres and has also been
The vineyard partners with well-known catering company, Gourmet Galley, for all wedding events. There is a guest minimum of 75 people for weddings (125 for Saturdays) but can accommodate groups of up to 500! They have a tent on-site in their Bluebird Pasture which most couples opt to use. The tent is situated at the top of the hillside and guests are treated to jaw-dropping views of the Connecticut countryside while enjoying a glass of their award-winning wines!
3. Brignole Vineyards
Location: East Granby
Brignole Vineyards is one of the newer vineyards in Connecticut. It’s convenient location (about 25 minutes from Hartford) makes it a great choice for couples looking for something with country charm near the capitol city and airport accessibility (Bradley International is about 10 minutes away). It is a smaller vineyard with about 15 acres of vines but is also one of the more affordable wineries for a wedding with rental fees coming in around $5,000.
Brignole boats a beautiful two-story winery with the first floor housing the tasting room and the second floor for weddings and events. The second floor has its own private entrance with a gorgeous deck and pergola so guests can watch the sunset over the vines. Their space can host up to 120 guests so it is a great choice for small to mid-size weddings.
4. Saltwater Farm Vineyard
Location: Stonington, CT
Saltwater Farm Vineyard is located in Stonington, CT. They also are one of the few wineries with a large indoor space versus a tent (though they do allow tents on the grounds). Couples can choose to host their ceremony on-site nestled in the vines. The winery hosts one wedding per day and can hold up to 180 guests and does offer weddings year-round. They even offer a gas fireplace for winter weddings – I mean, how much better does it get?! Oh wait, they were also voted one of the Top 50 Most Romantic Venues in the United States by Brides Magazine.
The vineyard sits on 108 acres filled with history. The vineyard was once a small community airport back in the 1930’s. The hangar has since been reimagined and redesigned as a winery – they actually preserved the 1,800 ft. grassy landing strip! Guests are treated to sweeping views of the grape vines and also water views of the picturesque Long Island sound. If you’re looking for a romantic venue with stunning photo opportunities and great wine – this is the venue for you!
5. Rosedale Vineyards
Location: Simsbury, CT
Maybe I’m biased to this one as it’s 10 minutes from my house but it has so much to offer! Rosedale is a working farm and vineyard located in Simsbury, CT – about 20 minutes from Hartford. The farm grows all sorts of local vegetables and has the cutest farm stand where you can purchase bottles of their wine, freshly baked pies and cookies, and all local, fresh vegetables! It doesn’t get any more farm to table than that!
The vineyard only offers tented weddings and is seasonal with weddings permitted from May-October. They provide the tent for you and also only offer ONE wedding per weekend! You get the tent beginning on Friday to start any set-up all the way through Sunday to take care of any clean-up. Their rental fee is $6,500 which includes the tent, tables, chairs, catering prep tent, bistro lighting, fire pits (which they man for you the whole night!), the vineyard for an on-site ceremony, and more! Although they do require any alcohol to be served by a licensed bartender or your caterer, they do permit you to bring in your own beer and liquor! With Rosedale being a vineyard, it’s only natural they do request that you serve their wine – and it gives your guests a true vineyard experience!
Thanks for stopping by to check out this week’s post all about my love of wine, how to incorporate wine into weddings and some of my favorite Connecticut vineyards to host your wedding at! If you haven’t already, make sure to pick up your 2018 Passport to Connecticut Wineries which are available at any participating vineyard. If you get enough stamps (which I fully intend to do this year!) – you can be entered into winning all sorts of prizes including a two-week trip to Spain!
You guys know I love to hear from you so please share your feedback! Feel free to share if you got married at a Connecticut vineyard and what you loved about it! As always, Happy Planning!