New Hampshire

New Hampshire Wine Overview

Not many people immediately associate New Hampshire with agriculture. But, all it takes is one drive around the state to dispel that notion.

New Hampshire’s countryside is bursting with historic family farms and apple orchards. Vineyards also have a presence here, much to the surprise of those who believe New Hampshire is too far north to grow grapes. And while the growing season in New Hampshire is shorter than other states, local fruit and produce is a big part of the state’s appeal to visitors, especially those seeking a farm-to-table culinary experience.

Southeast New Hampshire is tucked along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, which tempers the typically harsh New Hampshire winters, at least in this part of the state. This is where much of New Hampshire’s grape-growing occurs, although there are vineyards scattered throughout the state. Cool climate hybrid variety grapes grow well in this environment. Common examples include Vidal, Vignoles, Marechal Foch and Niagara. It is also quite common to find local fruit wines in New Hampshire. Pear, blueberry and cranberry wines are just a few you’ll find.

One southern New Hampshire winery with an ongoing commitment to use New Hampshire-grown grapes and fruit in their wines is the Jewell Towne Vineyards. This winery, New Hampshire’s oldest, creates their wine from the more than twenty varieties of grapes grown in their New Hampshire vineyard adjacent to the winery. The wines are extremely popular and though they’re available in many retail locations in the northeast, many of the wines routinely sell out each year.

Just minutes away from Jewell Towne Vineyards is another New Hampshire winery with a commitment to local fruit and grapes. Sweet Baby Vineyard in Kensington is a small boutique winery that uses New Hampshire-grown fruit for their specialty fruit wines and many New Hampshire-grown grapes for their traditional styles. One particularly interesting fruit wine is their White Peach, which is actually semi-dry and not sweet as one might expect.

As of 2012, there were 25 members of the New Hampshire Winery Association. Most are producing wineries, along with a few hard cider makers and meaderies.

New Hampshire Wine Trails

Like neighboring Massachusetts, New Hampshire has instituted a series of wine and cheese trails. There are three separate trails, each covering a specific area of the state and combining wineries and dairy farms.

The three branches of the New Hampshire Wine and Cheese Trail are the Near Coast Trail, the Valley Vineyards, Orchards, and Dairy Trail and the Meandering the Merrimack and the Lakes Trail. Thirteen of New Hampshire’s 25 wineries/meaderies/hard cider producers are part of these three trail branches, and it’s expected some of New Hampshire’s newer wineries will be added in subsequent revisions. You can view the latest version of the New Hampshire Wine and Cheese Trails map.

In addition, the New Hampshire Winery Association is an organization promoting New Hampshire’s wineries, meaderies and hard cider producers. On their site, they list a New Hampshire Wine Trail, which is basically a map of all their member locations. Most are located in the southern half of New Hampshire, but there are a handful farther north in the state. Several more are clustered in central New Hampshire, known as The Lakes region. The Vineyard at Seven Birches, located in North Haverhill near the Vermont border, is New Hampshire’s northernmost winery.

As of 2012, there were 25 members of the New Hampshire Winery Association. Most are producing wineries, along with a few hard cider makers and meaderies.

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