When it comes to wine country, Massachusetts rarely makes the top of the list. However from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, the Bay State is producing wine from a brilliant collection of locally grown grapes, apples, peaches and blueberries – as well as some artisanal cheeses to pair with it. Massachusetts hosts over 40 wine and cheese makers across the state. The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism has compiled Massachusetts Wine and Cheese Trail map so that travellers can sample the very best of what the state's wine and cheese producers have to offer.
Crystal Brook Farm
Crystal Brook Farm l in Sterling is a beautiful award-winning New England farmstead. The farm is especially beautiful in the spring months when all the surrounding apple trees are in blossom. Learn about unique cheese-making processes and try your hand at milking goats and making cheese. It's a treat to sample exciting cheese blends like garlic and basil, cranberry and orange, and lemon and lavender. And when you visit the nearby vineyards, you shouldn't be surprised when you spot Crystal Brook cheese served with the wine.
Turtle Creek Winery
Turtle Creek Winery is a small facility, but it produces around nine hundred cases of wine per year from Lincoln – a small suburb outside Boston. The vineyards at Turtle Creek grow Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Riesling grapes, but the winery also imports premium grapes from growers in California and Finger Lakes, New York. With these grapes they produce fantastic vintages of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling. Although this winery is located on the Massachusetts Wine and Cheese Trail, tasting is only available upon appointment.
Hardwick Vineyard And Winery
Hardwick Winery in Hardwick operates out of a wonderfully restored old house and barn that date back to 1795. The vineyard grows French-American hybrid grapes that are used in its award winning vintages like Quabbin Native or Hardwick Red. Visitors are invited to stop by anytime to try the Revolutionary War-themed wines. As the tasting room was built when George Washington was president, a wine tasting at Hardwick Winery is like sampling a piece of history. This vineyard is prized for mixing its hybrid grapes with locally grown cranberries in some of its vintages. The bitterness of the cranberries complements the unique qualities of the grapes, creating some truly amazing wine.
Chase Hill Farm Cheese
Chase Hill Farm Cheese, which is located outside of Warwick, has long been a local purveyor of 100 per cent grass fed dairy products. Its herd of Normande cows are bred for both beef and milk production. The farm prides itself on sustainable, low impact practices such as rotational grazing, seasonal calving and solar power. Guests can pay a visit to buy and sample beautifully marbled beef, as well as organic cow’s milk and cheese that is aged in a cheese cave. The cheese is made exclusively from raw milk from Chase Hill's own herd and aged for exactly 60 days in the cheese cave.
Mill River Winery
Mill River Winery in Rowley specializes in handcrafted wines from viniferous grapes. The wines are made in the brilliantly restored 19th century cider mill. The owners believe that great wine is made through the perfect combination of science, precision, passion and fun. With Rick being an accomplished amateur winemaker and Donna being a Ph.D. chemist, the wines are guaranteed to embrace the best possible combination of flavours in a complex blend. The prize of their cellar is the 2010 Naked Chardonnay, which was awarded the silver medal by the American Wine Society. With full-bodied aromas of lemon zest and pear, this cold-fermented white is a jewel among Chardonnay. However, while their Naked Chardonnay is crisp and zesty, the Malbec offers the deep and desirable flavour of blackberries, cherries and truffles to the seasoned red drinker.
Willow Springs Vineyard
Willow Springs Vineyard is run out of a restored 18th century New England barn in Haverhill. The estate hosts selections of Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot and Cabernet Franc grapes. Guests are invited to browse the beautiful landscape before sitting down to a tasting. The historic restored barn is a popular venue for local weddings and events, all catered with wine brewed on location. The rustic look and elegant setting have made this winery a jewel of the Haverhill community. It is also a popular stop on the Wine and Cheese Trail due to its in-depth classes on wine blending.
Nobscot Artisan Cheese
Owner of Nobscot Artisan Cheese Sue Rubel previously spent 30 years as an educator before she decided to learn the craft of cheese making. She attended Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese in Burlington where she learned the advance techniques of master cheese makers before attempting them at her farm in Framingham. Rubel obtains raw cow's milk from Jersey Girl cattle that are 100 per cent grass fed. The French-inspired fresh cheese is blended with a variety of herbs and spices such as olives, lavender and honey, chives and wasabi to create the most unique flavours. However, the two most popular cheese blends are the Herdsman Press and the Wheyside. The Herdsman Press is a raw cow's milk washed-rind alpine cheese that is aged for four months. It is great for melting or eating at room temperature. The Wheyside is pasteurized cow's milk aged for a month with a pale orange rind. The semi-soft Wheyside is gooey and flavourful, serving for a prized spreadable cheese.
Green River Ambrosia
At Green River Ambrosia in Greenfield, they do things a little bit differently. Instead of embracing the almighty grape, the team decided to brew the finest local mead. These beekeepers are really generating a buzz with their mead made with their locally-raised honey. They combine their liquid gold ambrosia with locally grown fruits to create a variety of diverse flavours, likes the apple-infused Cyzer, organic Chamomile, and the zesty Ginger Libation.
Grey Barn and Farm Cheese
Like the name suggests, Martha’s Vineyard hosts numerous vineyards with flavourful wine. Grey Barn and Farm Cheese provide much of the high quality organic cheeses that pair with the wines from this region. They are nationally renowned for their production of Prufrock cheese. This delicate, yet pungent washed-rind cheese has a wonderful soft yielding texture. It is a salty, savoury cheese but has a distinct nutty flavour with hints of tropical fruit. This complex cheese melts on the tongue and pairs well with a dry fruity red.
Boston Winery has won over 45 different awards for its premium wine. The fact that it opened its doors next to the historic and prestigious Venezia Restaurant has helped quite a bit. The grapes are crafted into some of the best wines in the state by the masterful Ralph Bruno. Today, the winery invites visitors to not just come and sample its great wines, but to learn how to make them as well. For those looking to get their hands a little dirty, the winery hosts a variety of different wine making and mixing classes regularly. Those who join the winery’s Wine Society get hefty discounts on products, classes and tastings.