THIS is Wallingford?!
Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford
July 19, 2008
[December 2012 Update: We’ve been back here 3 or 4 more times after this initial visit, my 5th overall. It really is quite pretty – It made my list of top 3 “Views while Drinking” AND they also donated to our Dream for Damian fundraisers.]
Our little family spent the late morning at the Lyman Orchards “Berry Festival” which more or less consisted of us eating a delicious fresh blueberry funnel cake and walking around the grounds. Oh, and Damian kept picking up random trash on the deck eating area and dropping it into a shopping cart.
Afterwards, since we were in the area and I just so happened to have our Connecticut Wine Trail Passports with me, we drove south to the vineyard. I had just become familiar with this area on my most recent section hike of the Mattabesett Trail, but after driving past the Wallingford Rod and Gun Club, and the Blue Trail Shooting Range, we were surprised at just how rural the area was.
Off to our left was the ridge that the trail follows but ahead and to the right was open farmland. This is east east EAST Wallingford and certainly not what one thinks of when one conjures up the image of the town in one’s head. Not by a long shot. Once we reached the road to the vineyards, some graffiti on a stop sign refocused our efforts:
Yes, we had to keep plugging along picking off these wineries this summer (whiny toddler be darned) if we are to win the trip to Spain in February. And so, with Journey songs blasting in our brains, we hit the tasting room. This place is beautiful: On a hilltop far away from I-91 and downtown Walli-World, the vineyard welcomes visitors amidst 140 acres of grapes.
We were greeted warmly and offered a tasting. In the large back room, a bridal shower held court but they were not a bother. There are tables at which to eat your own food, a second dining room, a large patio off the side, and a nice bar for the tasting. Outside, a small lake with a dock beckons as do the acres for a lazy stroll (the searing heat and high humidity sort of limited that for us).
As their website puts it, truthfully, “Our winery, mostly through word of mouth, has been growing by leaps and bounds, because of this we had to expand our facility. We completed this expansion, to the western side of our winery, in May 2007 and have been able to accommodate many more visitors. This added space has allowed us to expand our wine cellar, but more importantly it has opened up the winery building to allow people to sit inside and enjoy the spectacular sunset views. It is truly a bucolic masterpiece that waits just outside the windows of the entire winery.
From this high of a vantage point you are able to see the growing vines, the changing leaves, and horses grazing in the pasture next door. From the front of the building you are able to look over rolling hills covered in vines and a pond with an inviting dock. Just imagine yourself sitting on the edge of the dock and your bare feet swinging back and forth over the side while you read a novel and enjoy your favorite glass of wine.”
They go on to say much, much more (if you’re so inclined, click on their site below). While we were tasting the six wines (Seyval Blanc -eh, Chardonnay Oak – we don’t like oakey chards at all, Whirlwind Rose – eh, Stonehouse Red – ok, Merlot – good, and Cabernet Franc -eh) another youngish couple came in pretty much just to get their passports stamped.
I gave them a very dirty, “I hope you punks don’t think you’re going to win our trip to Spain” look, Damian yelled in their ears, and we left without buying a bottle. Nothing really floated Hoang’s boat nor mine. (2013 – this was back when I felt I had to buy something everytime we visited a winery. This may have been the first time we didn’t beyond the tasting. Oh well.)
I just realized I don’t have a single picture of Hoang tasting wine. I feel like I have failed. But I do have this:
What looks like Hoang pushing Damian into the lake. Which, of course, she’s not. That’s not even funny. How dare I.