1602 Bartholomew Gosnold named Martha's Vineyard for the wild grapes he found growing there.
The Chicama Vineyards (photo, right) on the island of Martha's Vineyard became the first bonded winery in Massachusetts in 1971.
Although now closed, it marked the beginning of a big resurgence in home grown wines throughout the state and, by 1995 the number of wineries had grown to
12. Today, more than twenty wineries in the state produce over 100,000 gallons of wines annually.
With the resourcefulness for which New Englanders
are famous, Massachusetts grape growers and winemakers
have adapted to special conditions. The wide range of microclimates is a special challenge.
have to adapt their choices of grape varieties to accommodate different growing seasons, soil,
temperature, sun and water variables. Wineries in the Berkshire mountains, for example, have a
very different environment for wine grape growing than wineries around Boston and Cape Cod coastal areas .
The Southeast coastal region of Massachusetts
has climate and soil conditions ideal for the classic European vinifera grape varieties such as
Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Meanwhile. mountain regions tend to mix in more American hybrids
and fruit wines.
The most common grape wine varieties grown
in Massachusetts are the vinifera varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer,
Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, followed by the American Hybrids Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Seyval, Vidal,
and Marechal Foch.
And it's not just grapes that are being turned
Fruits such as apples, cranberries, blueberries and peaches, honey and flowers are all
used in making Massachusetts produced wines. What other region can offer a wine lover the choice
of a fine Riesling, an excellent sparkling wine or a true cranberry blush wine?
More information about Massachusetts wineries around the Web: