When you think of wine country, Connecticut and Rhode Island may not immediately jump to mind. But, surprisingly to some, both states have a flourishing wine industry, featuring a wide spectrum of vitis vinifera and hybrid grape varieties—especially Riesling, chardonnay, cabernet franc and vidal blanc. Some sweet wines are produced, but usually for local consumption.
Connecticut: The CT Wine Trail is one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the country. It features 26 vineyards and wineries, scattered throughout the state, in two designated American Viticultural Areas. Each winery has a tasting room (tours are free and most charge a tasting fee). Most are open year-round, with varying seasonal hours, and many have meeting and event facilities that can be booked for your group. Every July, Connecticut Summer Wine Festival takes place at Goshen Fairgrounds, and includes food and live music.
Rhode Island: The industry’s history has very early roots—dating to 1663, when King Charles II included winemaking as an approved use of the land when he established the royal charter that created Rhode Island as an English colony. Today, 16 wineries can be found spread throughout the Ocean State, and they have tasting rooms and event space.
It’s also important to note another wine trail—New England Coastal Wine Trail, which encompasses wineries in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Read more about the many highlights for groups meeting in Connecticut and Rhode Island in Carolyn Koenig’s story, “City, Countryside, Coast: Connecticut and Rhode Island Match Your Destination to Your Meeting” in the upcoming January issue of Smart Meetings.