By Janet Serra

Posted: 01/05/2018 14:19:46

The Winter Wine Trail was started in 2009 by a group of farm wineries to show off the beauty of the Litchfield Hills in the winter and to remind consumers that Connecticut wineries in the hills are open year-round. The customers are given a "Trail Card" that lists the six participating wineries and upon visiting each winery the card is then stamped. Once stamped by all six wineries, completed cards are then handed into the wineries and entered into a drawing for prizes. The drawing will take place early April 2018.

The participating wineries for this season are:

DiGrazia Vineyards located on 131 Tower Road in Brookfield was founded in 1978 with the planting of a forty-five acre vineyard. The winery was founded in 1984, with an initial release of four brands of wine. Over 15 wines are offered, ranging from dry to sweet, using estate grown grapes, local fruit and honey. DiGrazia Vineyards grows premium French Hybrid grape varieties exclusively.

Haight-Brown Vineyard is located on 29 Chestnut Hill Rd. in Litchfield. More than two decades ago, Haight Vineyard planted Chardonnay and Riesling on the slopes of the Litchfield Hills, near the historic town of Litchfield. In 1978, the State Legislature passed a Farm Winery Act and Haight Vineyard became Connecticut's first established winery.The Haight-Brown Vineyard and Winery is situated on ten pastoral acres, representative of a New England farm winery. The Tasting Room includes a custom built wine bar for tasting each of the nine vintages, guided by the knowledge of educated and friendly staff, an upstairs patio and downstairs terrace for sipping wine on lazy summer days, and two stone fireplaces for lingering during chilly ones.

Hopkins Vineyard is located on 25 Hopkins Rd. in New Preston and is set on the northern shore of Lake Waramaug. Hopkins Vineyard, is a family-owned Connecticut Century Farm, that proudly maintains a tradition of making fine wines of award-winning quality. In 1787 Elijah Hopkins, returning from the Revolutionary War, chose this rich and fertile site on Lake Waramaug to settle his family and start the Hopkins Farm. -The unique location of Hopkins Vineyard makes it the only vineyard in Connecticut with a microclimate influenced by an inland lake; this allows an extended growing season and successful growing of grape varieties, which ordinarily would not thrive, in our northeastern climate. Classic grape varieties are grown on 30 acres adjacent to the winery.

Jerram Winery is located on 535 Town Hill Rd. in New Hartford and is a small vineyard that was planted in 1982. The conversion of an old horse barn and an impossible dream led to the opening of the winery in 1998. Located in the historic Town Hill section of New Hartford at an elevation of 1000 feet, the vineyards enjoy a longer growing season that enables the vines to produce well-matured grapes and wines of complexity and enjoyment. The winery is situated among vineyards and gardens with patios and decks for guests to relax and enjoy a glass of wine with a picnic lunch. Tasting and tours are available. Currently, eleven wines are in production, both white and red ranging from very dry to sweet; pure varietals and a variety of blends.

Miranda Vineyard is located on 42 Ives Rd. in Goshen and was planted in 2001. Miranda was first opened to the public May of 2007. Its bright and airy tasting room and large exterior deck make an excellent place to sit, relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy the company of good friends. The Vineyard is two hours from New York City and only an hour from the Hartford area. A visit to the area with its famous autumn foliage, historic sights and many wineries makes a great day trip or romantic weekend getaway. Vintner, Manny Miranda, has taken Old World techniques passed down through his family for generations and perfected them by applying the latest modern technological advances. The results are handcrafted, small batch wines for the discerning connoisseur.

Sunset Meadow Vineyards is located on 599 Old Middle Street in Goshen several miles from the center of Litchfield. Originally a working farm purchased in 1996 by George and Judy Motel, Sunset Meadow Farm, as it was known, raised beef cattle and hay. In 2003 Sunset Meadow Vineyards was established. Overlooking the captivating sunsets of the Litchfield Hills, the vineyards lie on 50 acres of rich and fertile soil that has a long tradition of agriculture dating back to the 1800's. The vines here are hand pruned, hand harvested and maintained with extreme precision. Visitors can take a step into the past while enjoying the warm and friendly atmosphere of the historic tasting room. The winery is located inside a 1800s German Bank Barn that has been used to support the properties numerous agricultural operations over the years.

Check out the website for a list of prizes. There is no cost to participate in this program.