Sharpe Hill Vineyard

The Grapes of Wrath of Khan
Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Pomfret

February 2, 2008

[December 2012 Update: This was my very first visit to a CT Winery. I've been back here multiple times, usually just to have a glass of wine and get a passport stamp. I've yet to eat here, but by all accounts from trusted sources, I - and you - really should. Sharpe Hill is the top rated winery for food according to me, here.]


wt1h.jpgCool title, huh? Too bad it makes no sense… But I’m keeping it. I came up with it prior to EdHill’s (that’s him over there on the right) and my trip out to the hinterlands of eastern Connecticut with a scheduled stop at the Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret and try… try as I did to come up with a way to shape our visit to work with the goofy title, I failed. Sort of…

I know nothing about wine and quite frankly, I don’t really care to know all that much either. I know what kinds I like; Dry rather than sweet, citrusy rather than floral and more often white rather than red. That would be your Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand – Delicious. Once in a while I can do a strong red or a legit Rose and I know I hate Reislings and dessert wines and “oakey” Chardonnays. Good enough for me.

I’m not sure how much more EdHill knows about wine than I do, but probably some. Heck, he did go out to Napa last year to “real” vineyards at least. (He made sure I knew that again and again as we wt1g.jpgdrove from a trout hatchery in Plainfield, through rural Brooklyn past all sorts of decrepit barns and weird villages we never knew existed, and then north up icy glorified goat paths to the middle of nowhere to find one of The Connecticut’s Wine Trail wineries.) There are 13 (24 now in 2012) wineries on the “trail” with a few other lesser ones thrown in for some reason. I think they simply didn’t pay for the advertising to be in the handsome Wine Trail brochure.

[UPDATE: I received the following from Linda at Taylor Brook Winery - one of the "lesser ones" in my parlance: "The CT Wine Trail brochure and map are a product of the CT Vineyard and Winery Association, a private association, having nothing to do with the State of CT. The reason why some wineries, ours included, are not represented in the brochure is not because we didn't pay enough, but because the association has criteria for membership which includes new wineries coming in as associate members which means they do not have a full page in the brochure."]

wt1c.jpgLinda invited CTMQ out to her corner of the Quiet Corner – and I promised we’ll be there someday. But back to Sharpe Hill which, for the record, is Connecticut’s largest and most award winning winery.

There are no signs for Sharpe Hill (at least the way we came up via a very tiny road from Route 6) and the roads leading to it definitely have a, “I’m taking you out here to chop off your limbs and scatter your remains in the deep, dark woods” feel to them. Or maybe that’s just me. Ed did look at me kind of askance when I mentioned that little tidbit to him. We bumbled down the teensy snow and ice pock-marked road and finally came to the winery. Wow. It’s housed in a rather beautiful brick-red building; surprise number one.

We parked in an empty lot (not a surprise) and I made the bold decision to leave the car unlocked. The place was deserted, but we forged ahead. The old barn door creaked open and we were suddenly in a pleasant, if slightly spartan, reception area.

wt1d.jpg“Hello?” An attractive woman immediately appeared from the back and gave us a look as if to say, “Wow, it’s February… And I have visitors! Who wants some wine?” It was weird; it felt like we were so isolated from the world for some reason… but whatever, let’s get to sampling.

I sampled: Dry Summer Rosé, Red Seraph, Cabernet Franc 2005, St. Croix 2005, and Select Late Harvest. I also had some Pontefract (which is terribly sweet to my taste) and some Ballet of Angels, their most-award winning wine. (Cool tidbit about the label’s artist here, in my visit to the American School for the Deaf Museum in West Hartford.) It was all pretty good, I suppose. To have them tell it:

wt1a.jpg“Although growing grapes in northeastern Connecticut provides us with the challenge of harsh winter weather, our vineyard (which is situated on a 700 foot slope) provides us with a microclimate that mimics many of the wine regions of Europe. In fact, our latitudinal location is comparable to that of Rome, Italy. Our vineyard’s microclimate affords us the luxury of growing such vinifera grapes as Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.

We planted our first grapevines in 1992. The vineyard has now expanded to 25 acres which include plantings of Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne and Vignoles for white wines; and Cabernet Franc, Carmine and St. Criox for red wine. We are continuing our vineyard expansion program with plantings of Riesling, Dornfelder, Gamay, and Landot Noir which will begin to produce crops with this years vintage.

To date our wines have been awarded over 230 medals in National & International Wine Competitions. In a recent issue The Wine Spectator gave our reserve Chardonnay 90 points, outscoring many famous Chardonnays from all over the world.”

wt1b.jpgThe woman at the counter serving us seemed slightly perplexed (but not off-putting in any way) that we were there – and taking pictures. But then she mentioned that she was currently reading “Lord of the Flies” (CTMQ Top 100 Modern Library Novels Reviews here) which propelled us into a discussion about classic literature.

She then allowed that she’d recently read “Anna Karenina” to which my only reply was, “My two-year old likes to thumb through that book which is sorta cute.” Ed mentioned that Hoang and I are reading all those books and therein lies the tenuous tie-in to my title. “The Grapes of Wrath” is # 10 on the list and EdHill is a HUGE Star Trek fan. So there you are… it works after all.

For 5 bucks we enjoyed several wine samples and good conversation. This place, I’m sure, is very nice come spring and summer as the restaurant is one of the best around. You can take a self-guided walk into the vineyard and enjoy the view at the top, which overlooks portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We chose not to do that though because, well, Ed’s not too keen on that uphill thing.



Sharpe Hill Vineyard

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3 responses to “Sharpe Hill Vineyard”

  1. honeybunny says:



  2. Lara says:

    Hold up–I just read this for the first time. How can you call a place spartan if it’s filled with antiques and wine bottles everywhere? I mean, there’s an antique coffee mill and yarn spinners! And I wasn’t perplexed that you came into the winery, it was a Sat early afternoon in February after all….;) I also wasn’t embarrassed to be reading LOTF…you were! Hey man, there’s no shame in getting to a classic later in life, maybe if you never heard of a major title before, then there’s cause to hide your face….

  3. Heather Taylor says:

    My husband and I like to take trips to the various CT wine vineyards around the state and we have noticed that there are no books that go into detail about the history behind these vineyards. WE would like to start writing and compiling a book together about all of the CT vineyards not just the ones that give enough money. Do you have any suggestions as to who we should contact in relation to this?

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