R Dee Winery, Enfield 's first winery, welcomed connoisseurs to the establishment's grand opening on Sept. 29.
The dream of Mark and Michele McAuliffe, the winery offers a generous selection of perfectly aged red, white, and rose wines, by the bottle or glass.
The winery's tasting room shares space with Powder Hollow Brewery, owned by Michele McAuliffe's brother, Michael McManus. The brewery opened four years back.
The winery honors the heritage of Richard D. Albright, Michele McAuliffe's grandfather who made wine, a skill passed onto the next generation.
She recalled her grandfather concocting white and sparkling wines, which would be open during family occasions.
The McAuliffe supplemented the family's winemaking knowledge with information drawn from the "World Wide Web." The couple attended Ithaca College, located in New York wine country.
"We would go to wineries all the time and ask questions," she said.
The tasting room introduced six wines: three whites, two reds, and a sweet rose. Patrons can sample by the glass or order a bottle. Filtering, aging, and bottling happen at a facility on Post Road, in Enfield.
While brewing beer requires daily attention, the wine process takes lots of patience - approximately 9-months' worth.
"It tries patience," she said. "You want to try different things with all your wines. If you let it sit and age, respect the process, then you're usually happy with what comes out."
The winery sources its white grapes from a family farm in New York and the red grapes from a family farm near Napa, California, the nation's wine Mecca.
Fellow winemakers guided the McAuliffes along the way.
The tasting room's ambiance is warm and rustic, clad mostly in a sweet-smelling pine. The bottles of wine rest in racks behind the long, granite topped bar.
Mark McAuliffe said the winery and brewery caters to different tastes.
"We have the people who say, 'I don't drink beer, what else do you have,'" he said. "We offered some wine in the past."
The couple moved to the area from New Jersey two years ago. After arriving, they "crunched the numbers" on whether a winery could be profitable in Enfield.
"So far, the community seems excited about it. It's going to bring in a different group of people," he said.
The tasting room's décor varies slightly from the brewery's, more in keeping with the sensibilities of wine drinkers.
"We are two separate companies, but we're all under one roof," said Mark McAuliffe.
R. Dee Winery, at 504 Hazard Ave., is open Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Patrons can still order wine by the bottle during the brewery's regular business hours.
Visit www.rdeewinery.com for more information.
Read More at source: Hartford Courant