Meet the Wine Maker: A Trip to Vermont’s Boyden Valley Winery
A few weeks ago, we traveled to the beautiful Boyden Valley Winery & Farm located in a restored 1875 carriage barn in Cambridge, Vermont. We got to tour their amazing facility, and also learn more about Boyden Valley Winery and all the delicious wines and ciders they produce on premise. It was a crisp, cold winter day when we arrived. When we entered their doors, we immediately felt welcomed and were greeted by a warm smile from Bridget Jones, the Wine Room Manager and Events Coordinator, who introduced herself and gave us some useful information on the four generation family farm, where they craft wines that feature only the finest locally grown fruit from the earthy soils of the Lamoille River Valley. Bridget also informed us that Boyden Valley was the first craft distillery company in the U.S. to specialize in cream liqueurs. In addition to their wines and liqueurs, they make two hard cider varietals as well as few ice cider varietals.
After learning all about the history of Boyden Valley Winery and Farm, we got the chance to meet Wine and Cider Maker Tom Lambert, who was very eager to let us tour the Winery & Cidery production facility. He brought us into where all the magic happens and we got to see first hand where the wine is processed, produced, distilled and then bottled. He very thoroughly explained how the grapes get pressed, or crushed, fermented in stainless steel tanks, filtered, then aged in French oak barrels. The red wine goes into the vat, with yeast, some nutrients, as well as other elements to help enhance the wine. It takes anywhere from three days to a month for the wine to ferment, depending on the type of wine their making. The higher sugar content wines typically take a lot longer to ferment, because they have more sugar to convert to alcohol. The yeast then eats the sugar, then alcohol is created. From there, they begin the aging process. White and red wines differ in their processes of aging. For example, white wines made this winter will be processed in late September, and bottled in early Spring. At the end of the tour, Tom took us to where they bottle and label their products and how that process works.
After Tom explained in great detail the process of making their wines, he led us to the tasting room, where Bridget was also present to share the details on other products they produce, including dessert specialty wines, ice ciders, hard ciders (one which is aged in double bourbon barrels) and also cream liqueurs.They talked about a process called cold soaking, which increases color extraction and flavor components, that help the liquids ferment in open-top maple tanks. They will also ferment cranberries and black currants in the next couple weeks and add these ingredients to new wines or liqueurs. Lastly, Tom mentioned that he has currently been spending his time pruning the vines at the vineyard until Spring arrives. He mentions that “pruning the vines is the single most important process in the vineyard because it determines your next year’s crop. You’re creating a balance between vegetative growth and fruit growth so that you have optimal fruit quality to help ripen the fruit to its fullest”.
We got to chat a bit more in depth with Bridget, and she filled us in on all the exciting and upcoming fun events they have planned. This weekend, which happens to be Valentine’s Day, the winery is involved with the Vermont Grape and Wine Council’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend taking place this Saturday and Sunday, February 14th & 15th, where they are participating with a local chocolate maker, and offering free chocolate fondue paired with a local wine tasting. There will also be offering horse-drawn sleigh rides along the vineyard for added fun. They also have an annual Maple Sugar Festival coming up, on March 28th & 29th where you can enjoy sugar on snow as well as demonstrations on how to make homemade VT maple syrup, which the family farm has been producing since 1914 using their wood-fired evaporator. In addition to the tastings at the winery, there also offer free tours. They have an event loft that can be rented out for special events as well.
We encourage you to take a trip to the Boyden Valley Winery & Farm and experience a tour, tasting or event for yourself and enjoy a true Vermont winery experience. Have you ever tried any Boyden Valley products? Which ones are your favorite? Share your comments with us on Facebook!