Passport to CT Farm Wineries is a seasonal program run by the CT Dept. of Agriculture to promote visits to 31 farm wineries and the CT Wine Festival. The Passport, as it’s aptly called, encourages wine lovers to obtain 16 of the potential 31 stamps to enter to win a number of prizes, the best being a two–week trip for two to Spain. No purchase is necessary to obtain a stamp at each winery or at the CT Wine Festival (in compliance with CT sweepstakes laws), but you must be 21 years of age or older to receive a passport. Only one Passport per person is allowed.
The Passport program began on May 1 and ends the first weekend in November, at which time a Passport can be returned to any CT farm winery to be entered in the prize drawing. The drawing is held in early December and prizes include:
- A two week trip for two, including airfare and lodging, to Benalmadena Costa, Spain; the first and second week of February.
- A two week trip for two, including airfare and lodging, to Costa, Spain; the third and fourth week of February.
- First Prize: A limousine wine tour for eight people to Connecticut wineries
- 15 Second Prizes: An overnight get away at the Courtyard by Marriott Norwich
- 30 Third Prizes: A certificate for two bottles of wine from a Connecticut winery
To get started simply visit a CT farm winery and ask for a little blue farm winery Passport.
Jones Winery in Shelton is a convenient first stop for Fairfield County residents to pick up a Passport and receive their first stamp. Jones Winery’s tasting room is conveniently open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5. The winery was the subject of a feature story on this site by Wine Institute of New England founder Renee B. Allen, in which she announced that “Jones Winery earned the honor of Best Wine in Connecticut in 2010 from Connecticut Magazine and in January 2011 was awarded first place in the Connecticut Specialty Food Association Competition in the white and fruit wine categories.” Click here to read the full article.
How to Plan Your Visits
Wineries are spread around the state so carefully planning your visits is recommended. Begin by downloading a CT Wine Trail brochure which lists 24 participating wineries and their amenities and special events, or access the same information online and take advantage of the interactive itinerary planner. B&Bs and hotels are also listed on the site for your convenience.
A number of wineries, including Sunset Meadow Vineyards, are planning special wine dinners and they are a fantastic way to relax at the vineyard and enjoy the wines with food prepared by guest chefs from local restaurants. I recommend visiting each vineyard’s website to learn about wine dinners, barrel tastings, and other special events when planning your itinerary. Read our post about Sunset Meadow’s Farm-to-Table Dinner on Friday, July 8.
Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30 at the Goshen Fairgrounds
5th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival
August 13 & 14, 2011