Land of the Lost
Lost Acres Vineyard, Granby
September 25, 2011
[December 2012 Update: We visited this place right when it opened – before it was even part of the CT Wine Trail. As you’ll read, the first fundraiser we put together was foremost on my mind… So if those links die someday, sorry. this was the 28th CT winery we’d ever visited.]
Annnnnd we’re back! The CTMQ family traveling to inappropriate places with small children is on the road again! After a pregnant winter and the birth of our second son Calvin in April 2011 and his infant summer, we’re back on the road on the weekends popping up at wineries and tiny Cowboy Museums – Say what? (Keep reading…) So what if we have a baby and a special needs child, we’re getting back out there and doing our thing.
And so it was, our Sunday adventure this time took us up to Granby and the brand new winery that had just opened the day before our visit. Fortuitously, the only reason I knew Lost Acres was open was because when Damian appeared in the Granby News (in an article about our Dream for Damian fundraiser), the other front page news was about Lost Acres. (Here are some other articles about Damian, by the way.)
North Granby is a beautiful part of the state, especially the western part of it. It has a very “remote” quality to it, at least in bits and spurts. This is precisely the area of Connecticut where one might find Sleestaks and living dinosaurs after all, we were very near Hartland for Christ’s sake. “Land of the Lost” (Acres) indeed. I guess we should be happy that North Granby is part of Connecticut, as it abuts the historical and geographical intrusion known as the Southwick Jog (CTMQ visit here). Actually, I learned through this excellent series of articles about Granby that in these parts, they call it the Granby Wedge. I like that. I like that a lot.
Just west of the Granby Wedge is the Lost Acres Vineyard. For a place that just opened the day prior, they had done an incredible job of preparing. I’m sure they’ll add a sign out front soon and signs on the bathrooms after I asked what the “mystery doors” led to, but their building is huge and really quite beautiful.
It seems like as new wineries open, they really are emphasizing their tasting rooms. In reality, the large majority of these places are really quite nice, but it’s impressive that new guys Lost Acres and Cassidy Hill in Coventry have invested so much in their buildings. To their credit, Lost Acres has also invested a lot in hospitality.
I went in alone at first because Damian wasn’t initially liking the idea. Plates of crackers, cheese, salami, chocolates, and other goodies were splayed out on the bar and the folks working there were wonderful hosts. I figured I’d just buy a bottle and scoot, but she insisted I try the wine first which I appreciated.
Upon returning to the car, I mentioned cheese and crackers and suddenly Hoang wanted to try to get Damian to be more compliant. She worked her maternal magic (aka bribes) and the next thing I knew, all four of us were trudging back up the zig-zagging walkway into the tasting room.
I can’t really explain it, but I was so happy that the four of us were all there, doing our thing. Damian immediately snapped out of his funk, thanks to an iPod Touch and Calvin who is a generally happy 5 month old, so he’ll get anyone to smile and finally, we were set to taste some young wine.
Now, I make no secret about my wine-ignorance – though I am getting a bit more savvy. I know that vines that were planted a year ago aren’t supposed to yield good wine. And I’m very sure that Lost Acres used grapes from other outlets for this inaugural batch of wine. Oh yes, they did – and I applaud them for noting that on their website: We are planting vines in the spring of 2010 and these vines will produce fruit in 2012 that will be used for wine. Wine from our grapes will be available in the fall of 2013. In the meantime, we are making wine from NY and Connecticut grapes and fruit from local Granby farms.
What’s funny about that is that I know that several other CT wineries use grapes from other growers besides themselves. What’s funnier is that in order to be a farm winery (and sell on Sundays), wineries have to grow I think 51% of the grapes themselves. So here’s Lost Acres somehow circumventing this law – and I say good for them. Regardless, I applaud their efforts and from what I tasted, they are well on their way to being one of the state’s better wineries.
[2012: Actually, it’s only 25% and they have many years to comply and we have Sunday liquor sales now finally, after 300 years of it being illegal.]
More from the fine folks in Granby:
Lost Acres Vineyard has 5 acres of grape vine currently planted, and they have entered their 3rd growing year! Growth has been so vigorous that we will have a small crop to harvest this year and with a more robust harvest from these vines fall of 2012.
Lost Acres Vineyard had five varieties on offer during our visit: Chardonnay, Riesling, Wedge White, Merlot and something called Rock Wall Red.
The Rock Wall Red and Wedge White are proprietary blends made from the same type of grapes that are currently growing at the vineyard. Oh, you want more details? I bought a bottle of the Wedge White which was a blend of the usual white grape suspects in these parts: Seyval Blanc, Traminette and Cayuga White. They’ve thrown in some chard too – it was pretty good; citrusy and clean. The Rock Wall Red is spicy and fruity – and a mix of both CA and Long Island grapes.
And bless Lost Acres! Their Chardonnay is un-oaked! Hallelujah! I’ve yet to meet the person who likes oaky wines. Why, oh why, are they so prevalent? The Riesling was, as reislings always are, way too sweet for my palate, but Hoang liked it a lot. I thought the Merlot was a little too earthy or tanniny or something, but again, Hoang liked it.
I must make mention of their excellent wine glasses. (You can see almost all of Connecticut’s wine glasses artfully posed in my backyard here.) Lost Acres’ design is clean AND incorporates the incredible Granby Oak (CT’s Coolest Tree here) in an artistic and attractive way. Props to them.
The boys were great for the visit and Hoang really enjoyed being able to relax and chat up the owners. I left feeling very satisfied and happy we made the effort to get up there. But we weren’t done – It was on to the Cowboy Museum…
You only wish I was kidding – Check out our visit here.