Fruit of the Vine
Maine Wineries are sprouting up all over the state.
Photo courtesy of Cellardoor Vineyard
A few decades ago, no one would have ever put the words Maine and wine together. Things have changed since then. These days, the state has its fair share of vineyards and wineries producing quality Maine fruit and grape wines, plus all sorts of other liquid treats. And while it’s true that the wines are worth tasting, you’ll be equally impressed with a visit to the wineries themselves, most of which are run by welcoming Maine families and offer stunning views of the countryside. Whether you are touring, tasting, or both, you’ll see that Maine and wine has become the perfect pairing.
Note: For most wineries, tasting ends half an hour before closing time. Call ahead for hours during the off-season.
Bar Harbor Cellars at Sweet Pea’s Farm
Rte. 3, Bar Harbor
Come sample wines produced from a variety of grapes grown in small co-ops throughout Europe and North America. The vineyard plans to begin using its own grapes this fall, but it already sells eight different kinds of wine. Plus, Sweet Pea’s Farm continues to produce cut flowers, plants, and produce for local consumption. Bar Harbor Cellars is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at 207-288-3907. www.barharborcellars.com
Bartlett Maine Estate Winery
175 Chicken Mill Pond Rd., Gouldsboro
This winery, the oldest and one of the largest in the state, offers more than fifteen varieties of aperitifs, whites, reds, and dessert wines pressed on-site from native fruits. Beginning this fall it will also be offering a pear brandy from its new Spirits of Maine distillery. Bartlett Maine Estate Winery, located on the Schoodic peninsula, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 207-546-2408. www.bartlettwinery.com
967 Quaker Ridge Rd., South Casco
At Blacksmiths winery tastings, you can sample the classic blueberry wine as well as its carbonated, sparkling version, plus more than fifteen other wines from Merlots and Cabernets to elderberry, apple, and peach wines, sold only in Maine. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 207-655-3292. www.blacksmithswinery.com
367 Youngtown Rd., Lincolnville
Owned by Bettina Doulton and John Tynan, this winery and vineyard is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or check out its new retail store at the junction of Route 90 and Route 1 in Rockport. It is also the host of many events throughout the year including the second annual Harvest Festival on October 18. Cellardoor distributes in Maine, targeting natural foods stores, corporate gift buyers, supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and restaurants. Its wine list includes semisweet varieties — Amorosa and Sweetheart — as well as a unique blueberry wine named Blue Lobster Blue. 207-763-4478. www.mainewine.com
Oyster River Winegrowers
929 Oyster River Rd., Warren
Allie and Brian Smith own this small winery in Warren, which is currently producing just one white wine, the Village White, from grapes imported from New York. They plan to incorporate a red wine next year and have hopes to use grapes from their own vineyard by 2010. It is open to the public on weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 207-273-2998
Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery
174 Barrett Hill Rd., Union
Holly and Elmer Savage own and operate this vineyard and winery, open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their fourteen kinds of wine and dessert wine are produced from nine different varieties of hybrid wine grapes and blueberries grown on the farm. Cuts of beef and pork can also be purchased and a newly remodeled farm shop serves as a tasting room. 207-785-5261. www.savageoakes.com
Shalom Orchards Organic Winery
158 Eastbrook Rd., Franklin
This winery, organic orchard, and bed-and-breakfast features fruit and honey wines produced from its own and other locally grown organic produce. It specializes in apple, blueberry, and cranberry wines and has smaller productions of raspberry, kiwi, and honey mead wines. Shalom products are sold in selected wine shops and natural food stores in Maine. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 207-565-2312. www.shalomorchard.com
The Sow’s Ear Winery
Rte. 176, Brooksville
Owner Tom Hoey offers fruit wines and dry, English-style cider made from the juice of organically grown, unsprayed apples. The cider ferments naturally in oak barrels, a process that sometimes takes two years to complete. Fruit wines are made from summer rhubarb and chokecherries.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. 207-326-4649.
Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery
347 Carroll Rd., Union
Constance and Keith Bodine operate this unique winery and distillery, featuring Maine’s only remaining alembic still, which produces brandies and gin. They feature Maine-grown fruit wines and spirits from cranberry and apple wines to vermouth and rum. Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 207-785-3024. www.sweetgrasswinery.com
Vintner’s Cellar Winery of Portland
1037 Forest Ave., Portland
Heidi Mahoney runs this cellar winery in Portland, where you can create your very own batch of wine from the more than thirty varieties produced. Return six to eight weeks later to pick up the finished product. The winery even helps design your own custom label or plays host to a group wine-making party. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Evenings and Sundays by appointment. 207-878-1119. www.mainevintners.com
279 South Main St., Winterport
Michael and Joan Anderson operate this winery and tasting room with a selection of fruit wines. They even feature a schooner series — wines dedicated to the shipping industry that thrived in the town at the turn of the nineteenth century. Top off your shopping basket with a bottle of Berry Chocolate dessert wine. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 207-223-4500. www.winterportwinery.com