The wonderful land of wine: a trip to the Connecticut Wine Trail
There's no yellow brick road, but if you follow the little blue signs, they'll lead you to the close-by and wonderful land of oenophiles -- also known as the Connecticut Wine Trail (ctwine.com).
With 25 wineries dotting the landscape, palate-pleasing libations are just a short drive away. So hop in the car -- make sure you designate a driver -- and wind your way up the trail for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Western Connecticut has the highest concentration of wineries. A visit to the state's oldest winery, Haight-Brown Vineyard (haightvineyards.com), is a must. Located in bucolic Litchfield, the vineyard offers tastings of its entire selection for $9, with a custom glass to take home. Wine and chocolate tastings are $12, wine and cheese tastings are $14 and a tasting of all three is $16.
If you're spending the night, find a place listed with the Litchfield Hills Bed & Breakfast Association (litchfieldhillsbandb.com). Hungry? Try Da Capo (625 Torrington Rd., dacaporestaurant.com) for casual Italian fare. Get the Da Capo Chips to start -- trust us.
Next, head east to Wallingford and stop by Gouveia Vineyards (gouveiavineyards.com). Four pre-selected wines as well as one of your choice from the wine list are available to sample for just $8. When you're done tasting, check out the picturesque streets of the Historic Downtown area.
All the way to the east side of the (small) state is Jonathan Edwards Winery (jedwardswinery.com) in North Stonington. Get there by noon for a wine tour, often led by Edwards himself, and learn about the winemaking process, the vineyards and the wine offered. If you're lucky, you might even score a barrel tasting of future wines.
Then head south to Stonington for a meal at the Water Street Cafe (waterstcafe.com), known for its oyster bar and daily specials featuring the fisherman's catch of the day. If you have time, definitely check out the sights in nearby Mystic, including Mystic Seaport (mysticseaport.org).