52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Booze & Bravos

Massachusetts Finally Begins to Address Its Unconstitutional Blue Laws
Massachusetts Finally Begins to Address Its Unconstitutional Blue Laws

So I’m off to California next month for a wine country weekend getaway. A good friend of mine is getting married in Sonoma, and my girlfriend and I are taking the weekend off to celebrate with him and his bride. More than an oenological Mecca, a wine region is the perfect place to indulge all of the senses. Typically, with great wine comes great food, and where those two things abound, good company is never far behind. Napa and its less glamorous sister-Sonoma, are certainly wonderful places to fall in love – either with a person or with a wine, but it’s no longer necessary to fly cross-country to walk through a vineyard or to clink glasses in a winery tasting room. There are plenty of wineries to visit right here in our own backyard, and some of them even produce pretty good wines. Here’s a rundown of local wineries that are great to visit on your next weekend off.

Sakonnet Vineyards- Located in Little Compton, Rhode Island, Sakonnet’s claim to fame may be its ability to produce outstanding quality wines for not a lot of money. You may not recognize all the grape varietals. The winery’s Vidal Blanc is my favorite. It is a hybrid grape, similar to Sauvignon Blanc in crispness, citrus and green apple flavors, and with the ability to withstand New England’s often, fickle weather. It’s great with the region’s abundant seafood, or just on its own. The winery also makes a spectacular dessert wine, a late harvest botrytis-effected Gewurztraminer that tastes like honey and is redolent of rose petals and sweet nectar fruits like peach and apricot. Check out the online calendar to book reservations for one of the cooking events the proprietors host each month, celebrating local wine and local foods. You can get directions and read up on the wines at http://www.sakonnetwine.com

Westport Rivers- Famed for its sparkling wine and dry summer rosé of Pinot Noir, the winery features educational tours and tastings, and is great for couples as well as large groups. An hour south of Boston, Westport makes a great afternoon trip come summer. A small fee includes an etched wineglass as well as the tasting, but the winery and vineyard tours are free, and take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 3pm. For more information: 1 800-993-9695, or http://www.westportrivers.com/visit.html

Of all of the wineries a stone’s throw from Massachusetts, the best wines typically hail from Long Island’s North Fork, a sandy region that produces the East Coast’s best Merlot and Cabernet Franc. You can catch the ferry at several junctures along the Connecticut shore, and from there, the ride to oenological wisdom and Sideways-esque bravado is only a few minutes away. Long Island currently has over thirty bonded wineries, and like Napa, many of the tasting rooms are located in close proximity to one another. I call these strip mall wineries, but they’re a great way to get a lot of bang for your driving buck, especially with fuel prices as high as they are. The wines are delicious, and although rarely cheap, they also typically are not very expensive. Look for Pindar, Peconic Bay, Bedell Cellars and Channing Daughters for some great wine experiences.

Like any road trip that involves the consumption of alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver. Me? I get to taste close to five thousand wines each year, but it is rare that I actually swallow what I taste. The spit buckets proffered in tasting rooms are for your safety and the safety of other drivers. Responsible drinking is part of a heart-healthy life. Whether you’re in love, or just trying to lower your cholesterol, a wine country getaway may be the answer for you. Salut!