East Granby's Brignole Vineyards is one of the newer additions to Connecticut's farm winery scene, marking its first anniversary this June.
Winemaking started as a hobby for the Brignole family and evolved into a full-service operation, says owner Tim Brignole, whose four adult children are all involved in the business. Now visitors arrive to find a palatial, California-style tasting room featuring granite bar countertops, ample seating, a cozy fireplace and a large outdoor deck overlooking rows of vines.
FEATURED AND NOTEWORTHY WINES: The winery's top seller is Sunset, a special select red blend of Barbera and Vincent grapes, that Brignole describes as "very comparable to a big cabernet." He likens the White Tip Heron, made from 100 percent Cayuga grapes, to a pinot grigio-style dry white. Estate-grown wines include the Red Tail house red, the Red Dragon vintner's reserve, and Crossbred red blend.
This season, Brignole welcomes several new wines: White Birches; Sweet George moscato, 2017 Red Tail (made from 100 percent Chambourcin grapes); a Marquette Rose and two red and white zinfandels: Red Stone and Lady Lucy. Wine labels feature colorful, nature-themed photographs from the winery property.
Brignole has also made its mark with specialty sangrias, in rotating, seasonal flavors like peach strawberry, apple pear, cucumber watermelon and rosemary cran-apple. In the warm weather, Brignole turns on its slush machines, churning its wine and juice into frosty, refreshing coolers.
WINE PRICING: Wines by the glass are $7 to $9; bottles are $22 to $36. Tastings range from $10 for three whites and two rosés to $18 for all 10 wines. Sangria is $9 and wine slushes are $12. Pricing may be subject to change with the addition of new wines.
FOOD OPTIONS: Brignole offers a spread of wine-friendly snacks from its kitchen: charcuterie and cheese ($7 each or $25-35 for boards), panini ($9 to $13), flatbreads ($13 to $18) and quick bites ($9 to $15) like hummus, artichoke dip, prosciutto arugula wraps and pancetta-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. Guests are also welcome to bring their own food, but no outside beverages are allowed.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Brignole's second-floor event space with private entrance, private deck and pergola, is available for weddings, showers, birthday parties and fundraisers with room for 120 guests. There's live music on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.
TASTING ROOM HOURS: Closed Monday and Tuesday; open Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Summer hours may be extended.
This wine season, we're providing a guide to what you'll find at Connecticut's farm wineries: signature vintages and special releases, live entertainment, gourmet food options, and a few surprises (wine slushies, anyone?) We will feature a different winery every two weeks. Find the entire series here.