A New Way To Enjoy Winter: Wallingford Wineries

Though I technically made this trip at the end of December, since it was within 2 weeks of January 1, I’m going to count this as a winery on my 2013 Bucket List!  Kate and I decided to spend our Sunday down in Wallingford, CT at the two wineries there.  It was an amazing day!  Since it was a very cold and rainy day there wasn’t much else to do anyways except complain about how cold and rainy it was, so it was really the perfect way to spend out sunday.  We went to two vineyards:  Gouveia and Paradise HillsEach of them had their own separate strengths and weaknesses, but both were really fun!  Here’s my breakdown:

Paradise Hills

Location:  15 Wind Swept Hill Road  Wallingford, CT 06492, 203-284-0123

Cost of Tasting:  $5 (this includes 5 pre-seleceted wines only)

Hours: hours change, but the winter hours are Thurs 11-8, Fri 11-9, Sat 11-8, Sun 11-6

Rating:  5.5

This was the first stop on our Sunday wine tour.  This was actually my first time ever going to this specific vineyard and upon arrival I was pleased!  You walk in, and the atmosphere is incredible.  That is really the only reason I gave them a 5.5.  It was very small, which was nice.  On one side there was a couple of large tables, and on the other was a few small tables surrounding a cozy wood-burning stove.  The tasting itself was very informative!  Rich Ruggierio, one of the family members at this family owned and operated vineyard was our wine connoisseur and besides being incredible nice, he was also extremely knowledgeable.   We tried 5 wines, 3 whites and 2 reds.  Though none of the wines really stuck out to us as amazing, but we ended up getting a bottle of the Washington Trail White Wine anyways and having a glass there while we chatted by the fire.  Since this vineyard is so small, I assume the only reason they have such long winter hours is because they wanted to hold the same hours as Gouveia, which is only about a mile away.  It was really fun, but we were ready to get out of there and move on to Gouveia, where we knew the wine would be delicious.

Nothing like some cold wine, and a hot fire!!

Nothing like some cold wine, and a hot fire!!


Location:  1339 Whirlwind Hill Road  Wallingford, CT 06492, 203-265-5526

Cost of Tasting:  $8 (this includes 4 pre-seleceted wines and one of your own choice.  It also includes an etched keepsake glass to bring home with you.)

Hours: YEAR ROUND!  Thurs 11-8, Fri 11-9, Sat 11-8, Sun 11-6.

Rating:  7.5

This vineyard is one that people typically enjoy because it’s set atop a huge hill and gives gorgeous views.  I have been there twice and the first time I was in LOVE, but that was probably because it was in the middle of summer and I could sit outside and watch the sun set over the horizon.  Today, however, since its late December, very cold, not to mention raining, was different.  We were cooped up inside.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the inside of Gouveia is absolutely gorgeous.  There is 30 foot ceilings, a couple of fire places, exposed wood interior, tons of tables, and even some cute games on top of wine barrels.  But, I felt that the atmosphere was almost too loud.  Because its so big inside, and the tables are so long, many people use it almost as a party spot.  To me, wine tasting is a bit more intimate and I personally prefer to go with a small group of people so that we can sit and chat after our tasting.  Gouveia had so much going on that it was very loud inside.  I did, however, LOVE that there was games!  I love games and after about a half hour of begging I was finally able to get my sister to join in on a game of checkers…After I won and she didn’t even jump one of my men, I realized why she didn’t want to play! haha.

Our awesome checker board next to one of the fire places!

Our awesome checker board next to one of the fire places!

The wine at this vineyard was really good.  We ended up buying a bottle of the Cayuga White, pic below, and had a glass there before heading home for our private “pizza party” haha.

This bottle was totally worth the $20!  We had a glass at the vineyard, and then some more later with dinner! YUM!

This bottle was totally worth the $20! We had a glass at the vineyard, and then some more later with dinner! YUM!

These vineyards are literally 1 mile and 3 streets from each other, so if you aren’t from the immediate area, I definitely recommend knocking them both out in one shot if you’re trying to fill out your passport!  Both vineyards were fun, and now I can honestly say that I have found something that I truly like to do in the summer!  Yay!


About erinHasThoughts

I just started eHT in January of 2011, and I'm shocked and humbled that people read it! For some reason it seems like I am always in the most ridiculous situations and witness things only seen in movies, so I like to share my experiences with all of you. Thanks for reading! xo

Posted on December 23, 2012, in Bucket List, CT Wine Trail and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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