Connecticut is an easy picturesque escape-to-the-country-for-a-day trip from New York City. Bursting with New England charm and beautiful naturescapes, Connecticut has fewer crowds and less of a scene than The Hamptons. The Nutmeg State also happens to be home to The Connecticut Wine Trail, an incredible collection of wineries and vineyards that spans 26 destinations. Now one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the US, there’s plenty of award-winning new world reds, whites, and rosés, ready for the tasting. Enjoy our curated guide to the best wineries in Connecticut and if you do decide to make a night of it, our recommendations of the best hotels in the area.
How to Get to Connecticut from NYC
Many of the vineyards are accessible by Metro-North Railroad via Grand Central, however, nothing beats the freedom of hitting the open road. Or organize a chauffeur-driven tour to really do day-tripping in Connecticut in style (glass of vino in hand).
Connecticut’s first farm winery, Haight-Brown Vineyard is set in the romantic rolling hills of Litchfield. The 16-acre vineyard grows six grape varieties (Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Marechal Foch, De Chaunac, Marquette, Chardonelle) and has a gorgeous Tudor style winery and tasting room where you can taste their specialties. The vineyard also offers classes where you can indulge in wine and chocolate pairings and paint your own set of two wine glasses to commemorate your visit. The vineyard also hosts Dog Days of Summer every Sunday, May – November, so you can take your furry friend along with you for the tasting.
Hotels + Resorts: A short drive away from the vineyard (25 minutes to be exact) and well worth the drive is a country retreat that brings you the elegance of New England on a hilltop overlooking the pool and beautiful woodlands. The Mayflower Inn & Spa offers chic accommodations with canopy beds, private balconies, and deep soaking tubs to relax sore muscles.
Travel time: Litchfield is a 1.5 hour drive from NYC.
You’ll find the Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston on a heritage farm overlooking beautiful Lake Waramaug. The vineyard has been around since 1979 and has a reputation for consistently producing award-winning whites, reds, and sparkling wines. The spectacular setting is perfect year-round. Enjoy a picnic and dip in the lake in summer or cozy up in The Hayloft Wine Bar with one of their signature reds like the Red Barn Red to take in the views during fall and winter. The vineyard also hosts live music performances on most Friday and Saturday afternoons.
Eat + Drink: It’s hard to beat the vineyard’s sparkling like the Silver or Gold Label Estate Bottles, created with the mèthode champenoise which uses a blend of the same grapes used in French Champagne. The vineyard also has a great selection of cheese plates, infused with cheeses and produce from surrounding local farms.
Hotels + Resorts: A short stroll down the hill is the enchanting Hopkins Inn which has twelve guest rooms, two private apartments, its own private beach on the lake, and an Austrian restaurant where you have a panoramic view of Lake Waramaug.
Travel time: New Preston is a 2.5 hour drive from NYC.
Sunset Meadow Vineyards
This family-owned vineyard, named as one of the Best Wineries in America, is in Goshen in the beautiful Western Connecticut Highlands. Spanning 160 acres, Sunset Meadow is a sustainably farmed vineyard that is committed to a ‘ground to glass’ philosophy–vines are hand pruned, hand-harvested, and sustainably maintained. Take a seat on their spacious lawn and sit in awe of the sunset, as you sip one of their award-winning whites.
Eat + Drink: With 17 different varieties of wine, it’s almost impossible to pick one to take home so we recommend their Gold Medal Chardonnay and Merlot which hints at flavors of cherries, black pepper, and butter. On your visit, make sure to pair your glass with cheeses and chocolates made by local artisans.
Hotels + Resorts: Just 10 minutes down the road is the charming Litchfield Inn, where you can stay in one of twelve luxury themed rooms and enjoy a delicious dinner at their restaurant, Tavern Off the Green, after your long day of wine tasting (if those cheese plates weren’t enough).
Travel time: Goshen is a one hour and 45 minute drive from NYC.
Nestled in the serene White Hills of Shelton, Jones Winery is run by a 6th generation farmer who established the winery in 1999. Known for its whites, especially fruity blends, the winery’s diverse blends are infused with blueberries, strawberries, and pears. Part of Jones Family Farms, it’s possible for guests to pick their own berries, pumpkins, and trees depending on the time of year. The vineyard offers outdoor seating under a trellis with hanging vines and a panoramic view of the vineyard and hills.
Eat + Drink: Try Muscat Ottonel, a dry white with hints of honeysuckle and orange blossom that was crowned winner in the 2019 Los Angeles International Wine Competition. If you want to taste their fruity whites, go for First Blush made with apples, pears, and black currants or their sparkling Strawberry Serenade.
Hotels + Resorts: 30 minutes from the winery is DELAMAR Southport, a coastal refuge that exudes classic New England charm and is home to 44 intimate guest rooms and suites, a farm-to-table restaurant, and luxe spa.
Travel time: Shelton is a two hour drive from NYC.
Along Connecticut’s northern shore in Clinton is Chamard Vineyards, a traditional New England winery with a French-inspired intimate 35-seat bistro on property. Finely crafted stonework and wooden beams from stones and trees on the property are both part of the New England style of design. Take a walk through the sprawling grass lawn while sipping a glass of their signature Estate Riesling.
Eat + Drink: Farm-to-table, seasonal, and locally sourced products are what you’ll find at the vineyards petite French bistro. The Harvest Salad and classic Croque Madame are must-haves. A glass of red such as the Héritage Cabernet Sauvignon will pair nicely with the smokiness of your sandwich.
Hotels + Resorts: Nestled in the small beach town of Madison you’ll find The Homestead, a chic ’50s renovated beach home that has 10 guest rooms all decorated in calming ocean hues of blue and green. Hang by the beach and then enjoy a vino by the fire pit at sundown.
Travel time: Clinton is a two hour and 40 minute drive from NYC.