Guest Blog: Cara Helms Sawyer Preston Ridge Vineyard

05.31.2013

Categories: Uncategorized

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ATTC is excited about a new vineyard just down the road from the cookery in Preston. Not only do they have a beautiful tasting room with stunning views for weekend wine tasting and events like bridal showers or rehearsal dinners, they also host large tented events and weddings. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to open your own vineyard, keep reading about Cara and her family’s experience building Preston Ridge Vineyard from the ground up.

 

Established in 1988 with only five wineries, the CT Wine Trail has expanded over the past 25 years to include 25 different wineries across the state.  As interest in wine continues to increase, tasting at wineries has become not just a pastime for a few oenophiles, but a destination for new and experienced wine drinkers alike.  We know this because we used to be these traveling wine drinkers…

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From Napa to the Finger Lakes to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, we made our way around a number of different wineries enjoying the beautiful ambiance and relaxing atmosphere that so many of them offer.  In 2006 our travels took us up to the Southeastern part of CT where we first experienced the beauty of the CT wineries.  Our conversations began to drift from just enjoying the experience to becoming part of the experience and CT seemed like the perfect destination to make this dream a reality.

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In 2008 we bought the acreage at 100 Miller Road in Preston and we were ready to go…at least that’s what we thought.  We learned quickly, however, that there’s a lot more behind the winery business then just getting to chat with customers and enjoy some wine in the tasting room.  While perhaps different from the traditional definition of a farm, a vineyard truly encompasses all the qualities of farm life, from long days of tending the vines, nearly continuously during the growing season, to timing the harvest just right so the grapes are picked at the peak of their ripeness.  It is a non-stop process that doesn’t even produce a tangible product until the vines are at least three years old.  We were determined though and got to it, planning, digging, planting and picking and four and a half years later in October of 2012 we were finally ready to, literally, show the fruits of our labor to the public and opened up our brand new tasting room/production facility to be enjoyed by all.

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We currently taste nine different wines, all hand-crafted on site, ranging from a sweet table white to some very dry reds.  As of now we offer only one Estate vintage, a Cabernet Franc, but our first Estate Chardonnay will be released later this fall.  While it has been a huge learning curve for us, owning and operating our own vineyard has given us the opportunity to truly understand and respect the science and art behind making a bottle of wine.  Beyond that it has also allowed us to meet some amazing people, through conversations in our tasting room, who may have never otherwise crossed our paths.  We can’t say it all happened exactly as we planned or without some hiccups along the way, but we couldn’t have asked for a better end result and look forward to many years of enjoying wine with our patrons in our very own tasting room.  We hope we will see you there soon!

 

Preston Ridge Vineyard is open April-December, Saturdays 12-7 & Sundays 12-4 for tastings.  We also host indoor & outdoor weddings, private parties, corporate events or cocktail parties throughout the year.  For more information visit our website:  www.prestonridgevineyard.com.

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