Meridian Industrial

LOST ACRES VINEYARD

7/28/2022 | KEITH O'CONNOR

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A visit to Lost Acres Vineyard is about much more than the pour or the fresh food onsite designed to compliment their wine.

“One of the things that differentiates us from other wineries is our strong connection and partnership with area theater groups and fine artists,” said Michelle Niedermeyer, who owns the North Granby, CT, vineyard along with her husband Kevin Riggott. The Lost Acres Vineyard calendar boasts a combination of theatrical events, art shows, and live music, which not only supports the arts community, but helps to further showcase their wines.

In August the Tasting Room at Lost Acres Vineyard will host Playland Productions’ “Wine with Winnie,” a six-character comedy about a fun-loving talk show host who broadcasts her show from a vineyard. The original play was written by playwright and producer Betsy Maguire.

“Betsy, who founded Playland Productions, approached us wanting to do something at the vineyard and this is our first venture with her,” Niedermeyer said.

“Wine with Winnie” will be held on Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m., Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance online at playlandproductionsct.com or for $20 at the door. Patrons may pack food and non-alcoholic drinks to bring to the event, however, wine by the glass and bottle will be sold, as well as cheese and antipasto plates from the Lost Acres Vineyard kitchen.

Also, The Theatre Guild of Simsbury now offers as part of their regular season what is called the Vineyard Series - two outdoor events staged at Lost Acres Vineyard each summer, one of which was a comedy double header in July.

“I’ve always wanted to do some kind of outdoor theater and when COVID began I thought the time was right for something outdoors. So, I met with members in 2020 to see if it would be something they would be interested in doing,” Niedermeyer said.

“We have tables and chairs set up and you can purchase wine by the glass or bottle along with our cheese or antipasto plates, and you are welcome to bring your own picnic basket foods,” she added.

The final show of the season, “Singing Broadway,” will be held on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. Priced at $20, tickets are available on lostacresvineyard.com.

Wine in hand, art lovers can peruse the latest works of area artists in solo and group exhibits in the vineyard’s Tasting Room six times a year.

“This is a great opportunity for artists to show their work in a different environment where it can be seen by a big audience who come to our vineyard. We also hold opening receptions for each show and ask the artists to invite their friends and customers to the vineyard to view the art they have set up. It is a good opportunity to meet the artists and learn more about them and their art,” Niedermeyer said, noting by the end of the year $15,000 to $20,000 worth of art has been sold.

Donald Leger, a self-taught landscape artist who has been painting New England scenes with an emphasis on Nantucket, will display his work at Lost Acres Vineyard from Aug. 12 to Sept. 5 with an opening reception on Aug. 13 from 4-6 p.m.

“Something that is also unique to us is our association with the Granby Artists Association. We hold several pop-up art and craft shows with them where we invite members to come over to the vineyard to set up tents and have their works available to sell,” Niedermeyer said.

She noted the pop-ups - which not only include paintings but pottery, jewelry, blown glass and more - are announced 10 days in advance on their website’s events page.

But if it were not for their handcrafted fine wines, there would be no special events calendar.

It all began when the couple went to visit friends in upstate New York.

“While with them we visited a winery in Armenia, New York. Kevin was a hobby winemaker who had been making a decent wine for 10 years and said, ‘We can do this.’ We thought if they could grow grapes in Duchess County, then we could grow them in Granby. So, we started looking for property and found what had been an old apple orchard in the 1970s. We were also fortunate that a friend of ours, Larry McCollough, a longtime Connecticut winemaker since 1979, became our advisor and helped Kevin to make the transition from a hobby to commercial winemaker,” Niedermeyer said.

Their vines were planted in 2010 - today they have some five acres of grape vines planted, approximately 3,000 vines - and their first harvest was in 2011. Their winemaking takes place in the basement under their tasting room, which provides a stable temperature all year. The juice is fermented, heated and cold stabilized and aged on site. Once the wine is ready, it is bottled and aged in the bottle an additional 2-6 months.

The boutique farm winery produces 13 handcrafted white, red and specialty wines including White Wines - Clemons Springs, Chardonnay, Dry Riesling, Wedge White and Riesling; Red Wines - Silkey Red, Firehouse Red, Merlot, and Rock Wall Red; and Specialty Wines - Salmon Brook Rose, Old Orchard Apple, Belden Brook Blue, and Enders Reserve.

“White Wedge is our most popular white wine. It is a blend, not too dry and not too sweet, and you can definitely taste the fruit in it. The wine appeals to a wide variety of people and really compliments any meal,” Niedermeyer said.

“We make four red wines and our Silkey Red is made from Marquette grapes which can actually be grown in this climate and right here on our vineyard. It is our lightest, fruitiest red with the others being more traditional and made with grapes we purchase from California,” she added.

Among their specialty wines, Old Orchard Apple is made 100% from apples from Lost Acres Orchard, while their Belden Brook Blue is made of 30% blueberries and 70% local Delaware grapes and is “a very popular summer wine, a little fruitier and just delicious,” Niedermeyer noted. They also offer a Salmon Brook Rose which is made from their own Seyvan Blanc juice, pressed through Merlot skins.

“We also make one sweet dessert wine that we describe as ‘decadent and divine’ which is a late harvest wine made from our Vidal grapes that are left on the vine until mid-October for harvest. We’ve only made our Enders Reserve three times since we have been open. The longer you leave the grapes on the vines, the greater the risk for damage to the grapes and the harder it is on the vines,” Niedermeyer said.

All of the white wines and rosés are made from grapes grown on the vineyard, including Cayuga White, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc. Their reds are made from grapes grown in California. Wine tastings are $9 and include your choice of any five wines along with a keepsake wine glass. Additional glasses of wine to enjoy afterwards with friends and family are $9 each and bottles range from $16-25. The Lost Acres Vineyard farm kitchen also offers winefriendly cheese plates - small are $13 and large $17 - and antipasto plates for $18.

In addition to an occasional food truck, there are other ways to pair your wine while at Lost Acres Vineyard.

Date Night Pizza - held during the warm weather months on Fridays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. - pairs a bottle of their Wedge White along with two pizzas and one garden salad for $50. It is available by preorder only online.

“Jeff Flemming is our pizza maker. He is a local favorite and we’ve worked together for a long time. It’s one of those ideas we came up with trying to find something fun to do during COVID that makes use of our huge outdoor space. There is live music, too, from 4 to 7 p.m.,” Niedermeyer said.

Sunday is Grill and Chill day at Lost Acres Vineyard when the culinary artists from Avon Prime Meats set up shop and grill grapeside from noon to 5 p.m. to accompany your wine selections. Their fresh food menu includes a variety of burgers including buffalo chicken, garlic lamb, black angus and cherry elk. There is also The Big Dog - a quarter pound Waygu dog and a steak or chicken melt, as well as a Farmers Harvest Melt of grilled veggies.

There is also live music from 1-4 p.m. every Sunday throughout the year, even though Grill and Chill is only during the warmer weather months. You can also “chill” another way while it is warm outdoors. Rachel Little began practicing yoga many years ago when motivated to address back pain. She shortly realized that yoga changed her life in many ways. Now she shares her gentle approach with others on Fridays from 5-6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon with classes held right inside the vineyard for $15.

Lost Acres Vineyard produces about 2000 cases of wine annually. While their wines are available at some liquor stores such as Village Cork and Keg in Granby, CT, and at some breweries including Broad Brook Brewing in Suffield, CT, Michelle said 95% of their sales come right from their tasting room.

Summer hours are Friday, 12-7 p.m., Saturday, 12-6 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. When the fall arrives, Lost Vineyard Acres remains busy holding the Granby Land Trust Juried Art Show in November, two Farmers Markets for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a Holiday Sip and Shop indoor market selling the works of artists and crafters.

They close their doors in January, February and March.

LOST ACRES VINEYARD IS LOCATED AT
80 LOST ACRES ROAD IN NORTH GRANBY, CT.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO VIEW THEIR CHANGING EVENTS
CALENDAR, VISIT LOSTACRESVINEYARD.COM, CALL 860-324-9481,
OR EMAIL INFO@LOSTACRESVINEYARD.COM.

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