View from a Vineyard
A visit to Cellardoor Winery
The celebrating of a birthday and one of us entering a new decade called for something off the usual list of places to go. I had heard from a co-worker and other folks in the community that Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine is a must-see gem in the state of Maine. So when the opportunity presented itself, we took an hour ride from home on a questionably overcast day. Prior to finding our way to the winery we stopped of at Fernald's Neck Preserve, about 5 minutes away from the winery. This gave us the chance to go on an hour long hike through a beautifully quiet peninsula situated in the middle of Megunticook Lake. It is striking that when exploring in Maine you can find a decent hike, lakeside views, and a vineyard all within 10 minutes. This peaceful hike allowed us to clear our minds, lungs, and palate before engaging in a diverse tasting of local ferments.
We got back to the car with accelerated respiration and pulled back onto the single lane dirt road. After a couple quick turns we had no sooner caught our breaths and found ourselves pulling into the parking lot of a transformed 200-year old barn that now operates as a state-of-the-art winery, tasting room, and vineyard. The view that overlooked the vineyard was exceptional but only got better when we went inside. We were kindly greeted by multiple staff members and took a seat at the modern wood bar top. A complimentary tasting offered us complex, well bodied, and often surprisingly elegant sips of wines made right on the property. Their selection ranges from the hard to find Viognier (one of my favorites) to the popular Pinot Noir (one of Caroline's favorites). Every taste was intricately different from the next. After having a sample of four varieties each we settled on a full glass each to enjoy on the balcony. This side of the building overlooked the vineyard, with hills and mountains stretching across the panorama.
Cellardoor Winery has been under it's current ownership for the past 10 years and is becoming something of a full-blown success. Their wines can be found throughout the state from specialty food stores to supermarkets. They also have a tasting and event room located on Thompson's Point in Portland, Maine. The winery produces over 30 varieties using several varieties of grapes from all across the country. They also produce a selection of estate wines made from grapes grown on site. Judging by our experience at the winery, it is essential to be careful when selecting a bottle of wine for dinner or a party. A certain appreciation for the history and craft is evident when drinking a glass of locally produced wine.
We feel this way about many things related to food and drink, but wine is surely better in moderation. That is, rather than having a glass of the cheapest wine you can find every night, try to invest slightly more in a bottle crafted in your area. Having smaller amounts of wine less frequently can be an easy way to not get carried away spending half of your food budget on local wine. You'll also start to notice the quality of well-made wines in your area. If you plan on spending part of your income wine, chose wisely and you'll soon be wondering what you've been doing drinking the same old stuff from the supermarket for so many years.
There are about 20 active wineries in Maine. That's not bad for a state that's thought to not have the right climate for such an endeavor. After having experienced what one of our local wine makers has come up with, we're surely going to be thinking a lot more about our wine choices, and we hope you also will. Search the web for interesting wineries in your area. You may be surprised to see what's bottled in your neck of the woods.