Saturday, August 4, 2012

Inaugural Seacost Wine Tasting

I thought the best way to kick off a blog about New Hampshire wines and wineries would clearly be at the Inaugural Seacoast Wine Tasting event. I purchased my ticket early and with keen anticipation imagined how the entire event would play out. There were five representative vineyards offering their best wines with and energy an exuberance of a gala event. I must say the background of these and perhaps other wineries in NH are varied and fascinating, but that will be explored in future blogs.

On an (un)usual hot and humid August 3rd I awoke with a tickle in my throat and a sneezing fit that, with plague-like pace, took over my sinuses and eventually my entire head was to be my surprise curve ball for the day. Really! Of course, attend a wine tasting to be your own inaugural blog event with sinuses clogged like rush hour in Manhattan. Ugh!

Remain Calm. Carry On.
I don't even know whose slogan that is, but it fit.

Next thing to greet me, outside my apartment door was the Annual Huggins Hospital Street Fair. Yes, I live in Wolfeboro, NH (that in itself could be a blog topic). It is the annual garage sale extraordinaire. Where in two days, you can buy back all the yard sale fodder you so gleefully donated throughout the year. It lasts 2 days and promptly a 10 am on Friday morning, grannies in a dead heat descend upon the scene to lay claim on the first-fruits of this frenzied fair.

Again, Hakuna Matata. ( Lion King quote here)

I make my way to get my hair done (reference my photo-no explanation needed), and proceed on my merry way via, a less than known (to me that is), route towards Sandown. All is well until the temperature gauge in my car goes all redline. Swell. Being that temperature gauge outside the vehicle registers comfortably above 90 degrees, I blow out a sigh of resolution. I am going to this event.
I employ all my auto mechanical knowledge and intuition to this resolve.  My 2005 LaCrosse responds to my efforts with a fickle mood, not knowing whether it wants to overheat or not as the gauge dances between moderate and dangerously overheating.

Upon arrival I am greeted by one of the most beautifully landscaped properties, clearly catering to nuptial events. Stepping out of my car I am greeted by the thick heat saturated air that quickly puts my congested head in the same unfortunate state of my car. When I played this moment out in my head I expected to step elegantly out of my car with perfectly coiffed hair, feeling cool, confident and ready to drink in (pun attempted) an atmosphere for which I would easily grasp poetic prose. Instead, because I had shut off my air conditioner and rolled down the window, I stepped out of the car looking rather like a disheveled addict with a swollen nose.

Onward to the wine. As I stated at the beginning five wineries (and much needed air conditioning) awaited my arrival, along with more than 200 other neatly dressed, cheerful tasters. Upon arrival I traded my coveted ticket for a junior-sized wine glass and a raffle ticket. As I surveyed the room I again drew upon my vision of how this evening would go.

For this post I will limit my expressions to my overall impression of the wineries. In the future I will delve into, with greater detail, about tasting notes and history.

Zorvino Vineyards 
Besides being the host of this event had perhaps the most extensive wines available (for sampling anyway), 15 or more. From varying varietals and fruit blends, it's easy to see the appeal of both their wines and winery for more than just everyday quaffing. They bring a modest yet sound sophistication to both everyday wine taster, and the educated aficionado. They provide a list with a great deal of description that makes their presentation quite appealing.

WindRoc Vineyards
Down to Earth group of people,  is my first impression. For those who are just getting into wines these people present a very approachable manner. They are the new kids on the block but keep a close watch on them. They have a zeal for wines and no fear of experimentation. I expect good things for them in their future.

Flag Hill Winery
Clearly the busiest table of the evening. It would appear that they perhaps had the most widely recognized label in the Granite State. Located in Lee, they also offer a picturesque wedding location. I attended my husband's sister's wedding there. A beautiful venue for other events as well. Bold innovative company expanding into spirits and liquors as well. They have, become (at the very least) a business model for NH wineries.

Jewell Towne Vineyards
Claimed as "NH's Oldest Winery" Jewell Towne quietly leads the way in wine styles and blends. (Zorfino hot on their heels). With 22 wines and over 100 awards, this winery sets an example to be lauded. They have even received a rating of "Excellent" by Time Magazine. Impressive indeed! They border the state of Massachusetts but still claims NH as their rightful home.

Sweet Baby Vineyard
Here is my first admission of guilt. I fell in love with Lewis and Stacie's Malbec. Okay I said it.
This is the little vineyard that could. They bring a family warmth and love for wines that make them quite an approachable winery. Being in their own "infancy" this baby is beginning to walk. With plans to move to a larger facility and to update their quaint family image, this winery like all babies, makes you wonder what they will be when they grow up. I know I can't wait to see what's next.

One vineyard that wasn't represented that I hope to include in the future is Labelle Winery. Keep posting and I will too.      -Lauren


  1. Lauren,

    Welcome to the NH wine blogging community! Definitely a great event to cover for a first post. I couldn't make this one but have gone to the NH Live Free & Wine festival several times.

    NH's wine blogging community is a small one, but I think it represents our quirky little state pretty well. Because it is so small I have joined up with other New England wine bloggers (as well as beer, cocktail and food bloggers) to have a richer community to engage.

    I'm actually heading to Portland, OR tomorrow for the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference with a couple folks from that group. We have a new FB group to stay connected and frequently invite members of the group to participate in tastings and public events. Definitely let me know if you are interested.

    I write broadly about wine, being a winemaker myself, and have been sharing my adventures through the Ancient Fire Wine Blog since 2008. Most of the New Hampshire wineries, some newer ones I have yet to visit, have gotten blog love through tastings, events, product launches and harvest volunteer opportunities. I also write for WineMaker Magazine and contribute to other blogs and wine-related media. I'd invite you to check out what I am up to at You can contact me via email at



  2. Thank you Lauren for endeavoring to broaden the world of wine here in this great State of New Hampshire, I look forward to reading your future blog posts and hearing your insight!

    I also wanted to make you and your readers aware of another great New Hampshire wine event in the works. The Lakes Region Wineries have partnered to bring to NH the first ever Barrel Tasting Weekend on September 29th and 30th. This should prove to a very exciting event with lots of great wine, food, and fabulous prizes for participants. You can learn more about his event here:
    Hope you can join us.

    Very best,

    Bob Manley
    Hermit Woods Winery