|The Chester Hill Winery opened in August 1999. This was the fulfilment of a dream for its owners Joe and Mary Ann Sullivan, who had always fantasized about having a winery in Chester.|
Run in the lower floor of their home, it's often an adventure as bears come to sniff at the fermenting berries, and corks are pressed into each bottle by hand. Chester Hill currently offers three blueberry wines, a Seyval/Vidal blend, and a Delaware wine.
We began with 'New Blue', a semi-dry blueberry wine ($11). This was smooth and light in flavor, with 12% alcohol. A good picnic wine for fun drinking. 'Best Blue' ($12) is aged in oak, giving it vanilla and caramel flavors. It's also 12% alcohol and is another good wine for drinking with friends.
The 'Blue Port' ($10/half) is aged in oak, then fortified with brandy. This had a light alcohol flavor to it, but was relatively smooth and would be good with chocolate.
For whites, Chester Hill offers a Seyval/Vidal ($9) blend. Both are French hybrid grapes, and the blend was fruity and light. The grapes come from the Cayuga Finger Lake area. From a Granby vineyard comes Delaware ($9), which is a native grape with a very interesting flavor. This was light and tangy, very gentle. If you've never tried a Delaware wine, give this one a try!
|The Sullivans were on vacation when we visited, but their brother, Otto Gindele, was a wonderful host, showing us all around the winemaking area and describing the history of the operation. He explained how the bottles are hand corked and hand labelled, making this truly a labor of love.|
Otto even showed us his collection of home made wines - he creates wines from fig, coconut and tomato! Definitely an inspiration to home winemakers everywhere.
The landscape around Chester Hill is gorgeous - we rode our motorcycle out to this winery and loved the travel immensely. If you find yourself out in the Springfield, Mass area, definitely keep this winery in mind! The trip is great, and the wines are full of promise.
Chester Hill Winery Website
The Wineries of Massachusetts
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