Better Know an AVA – Southeastern New England


southeastern-new-england-ava2Marguerite Barrett 
Contributing Writer   

Having left the Western Trail behind, it’s time to look east to Connecticut’s portion of the Southeastern New England AVA.  

The AVA begins just south of Boston in the North, and runs along the coast south through Massachusetts, along Rhode Island’s southern coast and finally into Connecticut, ending roughly at New London, CT.  Similar to the Long Island AVAs, the coastal waters of Long Island Sound, Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bay help temper the climate and stabilize average daily temperatures, which provide conditions which can sustain vineyards.  That being said, it is still a cold-weather climate, and most vineyards in this region grow “cold-hardy vinifera” such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Seyval and Vidal grapes.   

Connecticut is the only one of the three states within this AVA to have established a formal wine trail, the Eastern Wine Trail.  There are 9 vineyards within the Eastern Wine Trail, all but one of which fall within the AVA.  Sharpe Hill in Pomfret, producer of Ballet of Angels, possibly Connecticut’s most recognized wine,  technically falls outside of the AVA as it does not lie within 15 miles of the coast.

Rhode Island has six wineries on the mainland, three in Newport county, two in South County and one in Blackstone Valley.  Block Island also has a winery, the Block Island Vineyards.  Massachusetts has twenty wineries scattered across the state, with roughly eight of those falling within the Southeastern New England AVA.  

Spring and Summer in New England is glorious – bright, sunny days; cool, peaceful nights, flowers and trees in bloom, and the wonderful scents of earth and ocean – a perfect backdrop as we hit the “win(e)ding roads” and explore the Southeastern New England AVA!

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