The 5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival

Although driving rain may have discouraged some visitors from coming out to the 5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival last Sunday, the Festival started off on Saturday, August 13, with blue skies and just a hint of autumn in the air. Upon entering the field at Bishop’s Orchards, host of the Festival, I was given a wine glass, a bracelet and a tasting ticket. The ticket listed the participating wineries and I was instructed to present it to each one I visited so that they could punch a hole next to their name. Guests were supposed to be limited to one visit per winery however, due to the absence of Jerram Winery, attendees were allowed two bonus visits to wineries of their choosing. Wineries were limited to serving five wines, with some opting to pour only four.

The wineries, vendors, and events were thoughtfully organized for easy traffic flow and accessibility. Two tents housed the wineries and most of the vendors, which included retailers, food vendors and charitable organizations. In honor of the day’s host, I began my tasting tour at Bishop’s Orchards Winery where a friendly staff member happily engaged in conversation about the wines being poured. Feeling comfortable and unhurried, a couple of fellow guests and I chatted amicably as we sipped through the samples. Bishop’s was pouring 5 wines, including one of my favorites, their Hard Cider. Made from their own apple cider, this wine has a delightful mild effervescence to it that just tickles my tongue. Mike and Mimi of Branford, Connecticut, my companions at the booth, were visiting the Festival for the second time since its inception. I convinced a skeptical Mike to try the Sachem’s Twilight, a sparkling wine made from Bishop’s own peaches. In addition to the misconception that fruit wines must be cloyingly sweet, I find that men are particularly resistant to trying wines that they perceive as just too pretty. My persistence was rewarded, somewhat. Mike agreed he enjoyed the bubbly beauty more than he had anticipated. Mimi and I, on the other hand, delighted in every last sip. (For more on Bishop’s Orchards Winery, visit

Mike & Mimi of Branford, CT

It is no secret that I enjoy the wines of Sunset Meadow Vineyards (SMV) and my experience at the Festival was no

Happy Tasters at Sunset Meadow Vineyards

exception. Their Cayuga White has been one of my favorite “go to” wines this summer with just the right balance of fruit and acid. Crisp, thirst-quenching and citrusy with a hint of stone fruits, it pairs well with light summer fare, seafood and poultry, or can be enjoyed on its own. The SMV Merlot was tasting very well with notes of cherries, a hint of anise on the midpalate and a soft, elegant finish. I was happy to see that SMV had brought out one of their big boys, Twisted Red, an award-winning blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, lemberger and chambourcin. White Silo Farm & Winery presented a nice selection of wines made from their organically grown fruits such as rhubarb and blackberry. The Upland Pastures White, which is currently made with Cayuga grapes from the Finger Lakes, will be made with White Silo’s own Cayuga grapes next year as they become ready to harvest. Jones Winery had several favorites on hand including Strawberry Serenade and Woodlands White, but I was especially excited to try their limited production Rosé of Cabernet Franc made with 100% estate grown grapes. I experienced a delicate and dry wine with the essence of cherries. A young woman behind the table dispensed pairing advice while I enjoyed a taste of Ripton Red. Her advice for this wine? “Anything with tomatoes.” (For more on Jones Winery, visit

Hopkins Vineyard

Chamard Vineyards was on site serving chardonnays and merlots, contrasting their estate wines with those made from grapes from Long Island and Suisun Valley, California. And although I enjoyed all four wines, what caught my attention was an offering on their full wine list that was not at the Festival – a 2002 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir. My interest was further piqued upon hearing about another new offering – a pinot noir and chardonnay sparkling wine produced in the traditional champagne method. It looks like I will be taking a trip to Chamard in the very near future. Whereas Chamard was pouring grapes from both coasts, Jonathan Edwards Winery was showcasing California. Sauvignon blance from Napa, merlot from Calistoga, pinot grigio from Russian River Valley. The Stone Table Red had a wonderful nose of dark red fruits and the wonderful spicy notes expected from petite syrah, which accounts for 25% of this cabernet sauvignon blend. The wines from DiGrazia Vineyards offered up tastes of honey, apples, raspberries and pumpkin pie. Yankee Frost, a white wine made with vignoles, was complexly layered with honey, apples, cider spices and floral notes. Hopkins Vineyard made a strong showing with the very popular Westwind, a semi-sweet wine made from Cayuga white grapes, as well as a very earthy cabernet franc with a distinct ashiness. Sachem’s Picnic, a blend of French hybrid grapes perfect for cold weather climates, provided a lovely low tannin semi-sweet red perfect for summer meals.

Having successfully completed the entire wine circuit, it was time to find something for lunch. There were several food vendors at the ready, including a barbeque truck and Guilford’s own Naples Pizza. Off to one side of the field, I was pleased to spot Little Sister’s Grilled Cheese truck. I had seen them for the first time at The Connecticut Wine Festival in Goshen last month (The Connecticut Wine Festival), but the throngs of people kept me

The Gang from Little Sister's Grilled Cheese Truck

from getting a taste. Seizing an opportunity to approach, I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich made with honey and goat cheese dubbed the “Honey Bear.” It was delicious. As I made my way back to the parking lot, I came upon a tent set up with several rows of chairs facing a table in anticipation of an introductory wine tasting class. In the barn, Bishop’s employees were selling bottles of the wines being offered at the Festival. As I approached my car, I spied a group of people following another Bishop’s employee into a building for a tour of the winery. All in all, the 5th Annual Shoreline Festival provided an excellent opportunity for wine drinkers to experience some of what Connecticut has to offer in a very enjoyable atmosphere.

First CT Farmer’s Market Wine Permit Issued!

In June 2011, AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE SALE OF CONNECTICUT WINE AT FARMERS’ MARKETS AND ESTABLISHING A FARMERS’ MARKET WINE PERMIT was signed into law. Keith Bishop of Bishop’s Orchards Winery, our June Connecticut Corker, was instrumental in bringing about this critical legislation. (For more about Keith’s involvement, click here: Therefore, it seems only fitting that Bishop’s Orchards Winery is the one to obtain the very first Connecticut Farmer’s Market Wine Permit. Following is the press release with the details of this exciting milestone:

Some of Bishop's Orchards Winery's Award-Winning Wines

Wine Sales Start at Milford Farmers Market

August 2, 2011

For Immediate Release:

Toast your local Farmers Market! Buy a bottle of CT Farm Wine and raise your glass.

Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market & Winery just obtained CT Farmer’s Market Wine Permit #1 to sell wine at the Woodmont Farmer’s Market every Wednesday afternoon. Now wine can be bought direct from the 140 year old family farm at the same time you get flowers, vegetables, fish, fresh baked goods, cheese and more at the weekly Farmers Market held at the Robert Treat Farm on New Haven Ave in Milford from 3.30-6.30 every Wednesday.

Winemaker Keith Bishop, Treasurer of the CVWA’s Wine Trail worked with the CT Legislature and Farm Bureau to put Connecticut on the same footing as NY and MA that allow their Farmer’s Markets to sell wine. The Governor signed PA 11-164 on July 13 and Bishop’s permit was issued July 27.

24 Wineries make up the CT Wine Trail and are showcased at Ct Farm Wineries typically sell direct at their farms, with few large enough to bear distribution costs to wholesale their products. Being able to sell at Farmers Markets will benefit wineries and consumers: opportunities for new customers, and less travel to repeatedly visit the winery and support local farms and keep land in viable production. Liquor regulations are still complex, and the wineries take their roles seriously for age verification and patron safety. Local regulations will prohibit some Farmers Markets from allowing Wineries to sell, as some zoning or local ordinances don’t allow alcohol on city property, such as New Haven.

Bishop’s Orchards Winery makes fruit wines and Hard Cider exclusively from fruits grown on their 313 acre farm. Apple Raspberry Blush, HAppley ImPeared, Celebration and Stone House White are among their selection of 18 wines made. Stone House White was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, and HAppley ImPeared was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2011 International Eastern Wine Competition. In all, Winemaker Keith Bishop earned 53 medals in 4, 2011 International Competitions, including 4 Silver Medals for Apple Raspberry Blush.

The 5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival will be hosted by Bishop’s Orchards on August 13 & 14 and feature top CT Wineries, food, seminars, entertainment, tours and sales of wine by the bottle and case. Tickets and information is at

Since 1871, six generations of Bishop’s have been serving Connecticut with the best possible farm products. Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market is open all-year round and is a destination for the area’s finest food and wholesome family fun. Every season The Bishop Family offers new and traditional foods and experiences. From the large retail farm market to their Pick Your Own Fruit program June thru October to their winery that has tastings available 7 days a week, Bishop’s is the perfect destination for people of all ages. Bishop’s Orchards, 1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT, 203-453-2338,

Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery:
Keith Bishop or Sarah Dellaventura 203-453-2338
Woodmont Farmers Market:
Mary Treat (203)878-4270

The 5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival

Bishop's and other Connecticut wines at Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery

Feeling left out because you didn’t make it to the Connecticut Wine Festival? Or maybe you had such a great time there you really want some more? Well, you’re in luck. Bishop’s Orchards Winery will be hosting the The 5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 13th-14th at Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery, 1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. 10 of Connecticut’s finest wineries will be participating. And, if you act now, you can purchase tickets for $25 per person. That’s a $5 savings off of the door price. Hope you can make it!
For more information on the Shoreline Wine Festival, visit this site: