“That Being Said, It’s Too Siloed”
White Silo Winery, Sherman
September 15, 2012
The title on this page, if you didn’t get it, is an homage of sorts to corporate-speak. It’s a crime that locally owned farms with operational silos are disappearing, but middle managers complaining about a work group being too “siloed” is epidemic.
One thing I’ve always loved about writing CTMQ is that I’m in complete control. I can wait a month or a year to write about something. I can skip out on a place if my son is not cooperating and come back another day. This site is as far from “corporate” as you can get, really.
I wanted to make the point that writing CTMQ does not feel like a job at all. It feels wonderful. Really and truly; list-completion is my drug.
And so, with that in mind, I threw the whole family in the car to head out to the farthest away winery in the state – aha! I had always thought this was the case, but the researcher in me just decided to check. Using the most efficient routes to each (that is, highway miles vs. more direct 2-lane roads), from our West Hartford compound, Saltwater Farm in Stonington is 69.5 miles and an hour and 20 minutes away according to Google Maps. White Silo clocks in at 69.3 miles away and 1 hour and 19 minutes away.
So let me start over… I threw the whole family in the car to head out to the second farthest winery – by one minute – in the state out in Sherman. I can’t tell you how many times I semi-planned to make it out here over the years… suffice it to say that number is pretty high.
I don’t know why, but I had built this place up in my head as being a special place over the years. Sure, I have an affinity of our lesser-known towns like Sherman, but that’s about it. Our family visit would be during their “Raspberry Festival” which, again for inexplicable reasons, got us way more excited than it should have.
Here’s what the winery’s promo told us:
We will be serving 6 small plates of food and desserts prepared with our farm grown raspberries. Raspberry S’mores, Brie Quesadillas with Jalapeno Rasberry Sauce, Raspberry Sorbet with Raspberry Scones, Grilled Chicken with Raspberries, Mixed Greens Raspberry Salad, and Raspberry Crisp are scheduled. $5 per plate of food. Live music, free farm museum, winery and field tours throughout the day. This is a family event. Admission is free.
Sounds exciting! And a farm museum to boot!
Any excitement was quashed as we entered the tasting room. Don’t get me wrong: the farm and the winery itself are absolutely beautiful. The rolling hills along the border with New York are always pretty, especially so in the fall. But the “Raspberry Festival” consisted of a kid at a table in the back selling a few overpriced food items containing raspberries from the While Silo Farm. We were there early before the music and frivolity I guess.
But we were there for the wine, not the $5 raspberry squares. Other visitors were at the wine bar, but they were enjoying themselves as I stood there for an eternity waiting for some assistance. I’m 6’3”. I was the only person standing in front of the bar without a glass of wine. It was the craziest thing.
Again, it was early and it seemed like the “real” staff hadn’t arrived yet maybe? I have no idea. When I was finally helped, the woman seemed shocked that I – the guy standing in front of the place where you order the wine, with cash in hand – wanted to order some wine and exchange her the cash in my hand to do so. Really, it was baffling. There were other strange details of those first few minutes, but there’s no need to pick on this quaint little place.
We are a family operated boutique winery specializing in small batch fruit and grape wine production. In addition to our wine we make gourmet farm products and grow a variety of berries, fruits and vegetables.
Twenty-six years ago our family purchased a portion the spectacular Upland Pastures dairy farm. Our intention was to continue the farming tradition and preserve the land for generations to come. We planted our first crop of raspberries, then blackberries and rhubarb. For the next fifteen years we operated as a pick your own berry farm. In 1990 we opened our winery. The 1800?s dairy barn was renovated and converted to our wine tasting room and production area. In 2010 we planted our first acre of grape vines. We expect to harvest our first small crop of grapes in the fall of 2012.
In other words, all the wines available to us were non-grape fruit wines. Not usually my favorite thing in the world, but I’ve learned they can be done pretty well. Hoang likes all this type of stuff, so no issues there. While the boys were content eating their snacks, I had a glass of their Black Current wine and Hoang went with the Red Raspberry.
2018: They now offer a few grape wines.
We usually get a winery’s tasting during our first visit, but I decided against it because a) sweet fruit wines just ain’t my thing and b) the whole staff confusion thing really scared me. I was happy with my decision because it allowed us to stay focused on our sons and to enjoy a five dollar raspberry crisp. All 2 bites of it.
They have a ton of different wines according to their website. Lots of different varieties of strawberry and blackberry and even rhubarb wines.
White Silo does do cool little afternoons on their property where you can bring or buy a picnic lunch and have a nice romantic time of it. They have some tables and benches scattered outside as well. The tasting room is adorned with local artists’ work, which is always a nice touch. Well, usually anyway.
From what I gather, White Silo is as much a berry farm as it is a winery. And they’ve even expanded beyond that with a new line of mustards: “We make Quince, Black Currant and Rhubarb mustard using fresh farm fruit and a spicy homemade Dijon style mustard base.” So that’s interesting.
When I find myself out in Sherman again, I will definitely stop by White Silo again to see if they really have a farm museum. And I’ll try their grape wines should they have them by then. But, and this isn’t a knock on White Silo, I think I’ll wait until then.
“Many of the winery’s visitors describe our farm and winery as a magical place. We think it is too!” Well, both Damian and Calvin were on exemplary behavior so yeah, maybe there’s something to this. Afterwards, we went up Route 7 to Sculpturedale. You should do that too.