Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, Oakland, ME

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On a recent trip through Maine to the Bangor area, we stopped at Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, located in Oakland, ME. They have a nice little shop with a bar and stools for a tasting area.

 

Owner Bruce Olsen has been making wine since 1977. Around 2009 he began experimenting with distilling his wines to make Brandy and other spirits. In 2012 they expanded the business and their offerings.

 

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There were two tastings available, with and without Absinthe. Each tasting included 5 offerings of your choice.

Our tastings:

Pear Extra Dry
Sparkling wine, a little dry with a subtle pear taste.

Apple Picnic Wine
Light, crisp, not too dry but not too sweet. Perfect.

 

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Apple Extra Dry
Lots of fizz and sparkle. Sweet with apple taste, they say ‘delicious and crisp’, we agree! We went home with a bottle of this one.

Pom Sublime
Very sweet and juice like. Originally developed as a mixer, but some people liked it so much people do both with it, use it as a mixer and drink it straight. Definitely a fun summer drink mixer. We bought a bottle, will probably do both with it. Made with their Applejack, pomegranate juice, lime juice, ginger bitters.

 

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Maple Storm
Blend of their Maple Wine and Knotted Maple Spirits. Interesting maple flavor, Megan said sweet like syrup. Has a good taste, that sugary taste with a bite of booze, we both liked it, and bought 2 bottles.

 

Applejack
This is made as essentially a type of Brandy, though it can not be called Brandy because Brandy has to be distilled from grape wine. It was originally made it clear, but people didn’t want Brandy that was clear, they expected it to be brownish. They started barrel aging it for 2 months just to give it that color. We actually like the clear, unaged version better. Smelled and tasted a little bit more fruity.

 

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Maple Jack L- finished product, R- before being barrel aged

 

Knotty Maple – 80 proof
Strong alcohol taste with a light maple finish. It has a good taste, not too sweet which is good. It is basically a brandy, but not distilled from a grape made wine.

 

Absinthe Verte – 130 proof
The only asbinthe produced in New England, and one of only a few produced in the US.  They start with their Applejack and use organic herbs — anise, fennel, wormwood, petite wormwood, hyssop and lemon balm. Megan tasted this, very strong straight. It was then mixed  with sugar water for us and it was much tastier then.

 

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The owner was the one serving us, and was very welcoming and knowledgeable, of course. He told us a lot about the spirits and wines, the process and the story behind them. He was a good storyteller, which made the tasting not only tasty, but informative and fun.

 

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With their set up, it is easier to create more spirits than wines.

 

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Still in the back room.

 

 

Want to visit?
Hours
Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 5:30

As always, check Facebook or their website for updated hours. Hours may
be different during the winter

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Other Places Nearby:

Dragonfly Farm and Winery, Stetson, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewing Company, Hallowell, ME

 

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Wicked Wine Fest and Boston Craft Beer Fest, Spring 2015

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We were lucky enough to be asked to attend the Boston Event Guide‘s Wicked Wine Fest and Craft Beer Fest for Spring 2015.
On our way to the Wicked Wine Fest we got this cool picture of the Hancock tower in Boston.

 

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When we entered both the Wicked Wine Fest and the Craft Beer Fest, we were given a map and list of all the wines/beers, as well as a small plastic cup for sampling.

 

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La Perlina Mosacato
We both liked this wine, a good sweet Mosacto.

 

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Truvee – Red Blend
This sounded like an interesting blend, and we enjoyed it.

 

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Ripe Life – Clambake
A good white wine, despite not being sweet. Described as ‘light, crisp, citrusy, unoaked Chardonnay.’

 

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ERA Organic Wines
Syrah
We really liked this, despite not being huge red wine fans. The description was right on, saying it has ‘raspberry and mocha flavors are followed by sweet cigar tobacco and a lightly oaky finish.’

Montepulciano
This was good as well, a little more body to it with notes of ‘black cherry, plum fruits, sweet oak and peppery spice.’

 

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Enjoying the tasting!

 

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Spiked Seltzer
We tried this for the first time last fall at the beer fest. Good tasting seltzer with alcohol in it. They have Lemon Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, and Cranberry for flavors. We like this, a good summer drink, goes down like a Seltzer and not overly sweet like some other summer drinks. We have heard that you can purchase it in Market Basket, so we will be on the lookout.

 

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Probably Megan’s favorite ‘tasting’ of the day, Vino Gelato! This gelato is made from wine and was delicious!

 

Other wines we liked:

Chloe-Chardonnay
Chloe-Red 249

Terlato-Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon

Ruffino-Sparkling Rose

Anderra-Carmenere

 

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Both festivals are held in the Cyclorama. It is a cool atmosphere, and a large circular room, so it works well for a tasting.

 

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The real downfall to the wine event were the sample pours were very small. At most tables we got really just one sip, so it is kind of hard to judge the wine on just a sip. Then, because of the small pours, everyone would get right back in line. So there was a lot of waiting in line and not a lot of sampling.

 

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From the Craft Beer Fest, outside of the Cyclorama, waiting in line, moved pretty quickly.

 

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Down the Road Brewery – Pukwudgie Pale Ale
This is a new brewery in Newton, MA. They say that ‘we want our line of beers to recall the rich history of lagers and ales that is sometimes ignored or forgotten but never out of fashion.’

 

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Stella Artois – Cidre
Pretty good, very light and refreshing.

 

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Urban Farm Fermentory
Dry Cidah and Kombucha from Urban Farm. We like there stuff as well, fresh and mostly dryer ciders.

 

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Megan and Mark at the tasting.

 

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Downeast Cider House
This is our favorite cider we have had. It’s like real apple cider, not a sugary light version.

 

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Cape Ann Brewing Company was there as well!

 

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By Sam Adams, The Vixen and 26.2 were both beers we haven’t had before, they were both pretty good.

 

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Curious Traveler is one of Megan’s favorite summer beers, but we hadn’t tried all that the Travleler Beer Company had made. Now was our opportunity! We tried both Illusive (grapefruit) and Forbidden (apple). Megan liked the Illusive!

 

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Foolproof Brewing Company
We learned about Foolproof at the last tasting, we liked all their beers. They are in Rhode Island, so we can’t wait to visit.

 

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Taylor and Megan enjoying the tasting.

 

 

IMG_2782Iron Duke Brewing- also local! Can’t wait to try them out!

These we just some of the beers we tasted. This was a good event, not too crowded, the lines weren’t very long, a good variety of breweries and beers.

 

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Taylor came in second place in the dance contest. We got a free round of pictures in the photo booth.

 

Want to go next Fall or Spring? Check out Boston Event Guide’s site! They always have something fun going on, including tastings, booze cruises, trips and more! Check them out! Hope to see you there next time!

Dragonfly Farm & Winery, Stetson, ME

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We recently visited Dragonfly Farm and Winery in Stetson, ME on our way up north to visit our friend Amanda.

They have a small tasting room, although it is much larger than their original. When the winery opened, the owners completed tastings in the breezeway of their home! They haven’t moved though- they just have a nice visiting room next door!

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This was the bar they did the tastings at.

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Now they have a nice little tasting house.

Dragonfly Farm and Winery makes mostly fruit wines. The use their own fruit, but if they need more, they get it from Wyman’s.

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Fields out back where they grow grapes and fruit.

They also make grape wines, but those are on a rotating schedule due to the quickness the supply and quickness they run out.  They started making fruit wines to fill in the gaps and those became even more popular. They make 36 different types of wine.

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The owners were mentored in Germany. They both still work full time while they operate the winery, which is crazy! Imagine working 80+ hours a week, every week?!

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Our Tasting:

Berry Con2sion
Sweet and smooth up front. Made with 50% Blueberry and 50% Blackberry, fermented with French Oak.

Blackberry Bewitched
Blackberry flavor, not too sweet, a little too syrupy, maybe a touch too much blackberry for us.

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Raspberry Riot
Smells like raspberry jam, and tastes like raspberries.

Blueberry Bliss
Good blueberry flavor, a sweet desert wine.

Candle Waster
Cranberry wine, taste like cranberry juice.

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The woman who led our tasting was nice and gave us a fair amount of information about the winery. There was a large group that arrived just after us, so our tasting was quick, but still good. The winery had a nice feel to it, the hostesses were nice, and there were friendly people visiting as well.

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Want to visit?

Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10-6

Sunday: 12-4

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Other Places Nearby:

Tree Spirits Winery and Distillery, Oakland, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewery, Hallowell, ME

 

 

Mill River Winery, Rowley MA

 

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Mill River Winery is located in Rowley on the North Shore of Massachusetts. We had been meaning to stop in here for a while as we had heard many good things. We stopped on the way down into Boston for the Boston Wine Expo preview event.

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They renovated the Dodge’s Cider Mill from the 1890’s. The building has a rustic feel with a mix of original wood, reclaimed, and rustic wood that creates a cool environment for tasting wine.

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They had 2 predesigned flights when we were there, so we both ordered a different one so we could try most of their wines.

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Naked Chardonnay:
aged in stainless steel. Lemon zest and pear aromas. Dry, but not as dry as you expect a Chardonnay to be. Full bodied.

Plum Island White:
Balanced in sweetness. Semi-sweet with pear, citrus and honey aromas. Smooth and easy to drink.

Riesling:
Off dry, slight citrus flavor with a vanilla finish

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay:
Oak aged. Very smooth. Dry. Megan liked the Naked Chardonnay better, but could understand what the draw was for the oaked flavor.

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Plum Island Red:
Berry and light. Tried this wine both chilled and room temperature. Chilled, it took on more white wine/fruit wine characteristics. This wine they tried to model after and Italian style Chianti, so you can drink it throughout the day. 30% white wine, 70% red.

Plum Island Red Dory:
Dry mouth feel. Nice fruit flavor, with the aromas of plums and blackberries, without being overly sweet. 5% white wine. More complex than Plum Island Red.

Plantation Red:
Light in oak flavor. Dry. Well balanced with the aroma of raspberry jam

Pinot Noir:
Light bodied, smooth at first with a bite at the end. Cherry flavor, but not sweet. Megan liked the flavor at the end

Select Cabernet Sauvignon:
Not as dry as we expected. Full bodied. Flavors of chocolate and deep, dark fruit

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Bucket of Fun:
Rose. We both liked this one. At their blending bash, people create different wines and the winner receives a case of wine and their wine is created. This was the winner!

 

It was not busy when we were there, and we received plenty of attention. The server was friendly and knowledgeable about the wine and the winery.

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Before the tasting…

 

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fun chandelier made from wine barrels

They had a cool chandelier made from wine staves. You can see the post and beam construction in the background as well.

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They have a gift shop with locally made jams and all kinds of wine accessories.

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Wine serving tray

 

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A table you can stand around if it is busy

 

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Want to Visit?

Winter hours:
Tasting room open Fri 11 – 7pm, Sat & Sun 11 – 6pm
Tours Sat & Sun at 2 & 4pm.

Hermit Woods Winery, Meredith, NH

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Hermit Woods Winery is a small boutique winery located in Meredith, New Hampshire. We visited with Megan’s sisters Heather and Sam; Sam’s boyfriend Dustin and our friend Bre. We had a good feeling when we entered the winery, as well as when we left. Sometimes when we visit wineries, due to us being fairly young, we are not taken seriously. We are often greeted with a feeling of “why are you here,” or no greeting. This is not across the board, but often. We often end up surprising them with our questions and comments…
At Hermit Woods they were nice right from the beginning, greeting us when we walked in. There were 6 of us (between ages 22-30) and they were truly excited to share their story and information with us.

 

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We had a choice of a large glass or a smaller glass, with a minor price difference. The larger glass enabled you to try the Premium wines. Between all of us, we were able to try each wine.  They make plenty of traditional wines but also have plenty of unique and non-traditional wines. They use locally grown fruits like peaches and Maine blueberries to make some of their more unique wines.

 

We were served by Ken at the bar, and he is also their head wine maker. He was obviously very knowledgeable, but also very friendly and willing to share his knowledge with us.

 

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2013 Lake House White
Listed as a dry wine, but still surprised Mark that it was dry because it is made from local, organic whole peaches, quince, and rosehips. No grapes are used at all.

 

2013 Kiwi
Heather thought it was a little sour. This wine is made from locally grown kiwi berries. These are not the type of kiwi’s you by at the store.

 

2013 Harvest Apple Wine
This wine is made from fresh pressed, local cider. Heather liked the smell.

 

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2013 Knot Mead
A varietal, dry, traditional mead made from raw, unfiltered, honey sourced from Japanese Knot Weed Flowers
Good flavor, not overly sweet like some meads are. The Japanese Knot Weed is an invasive flower, in case you were wondering, and bee’s love it.

 

2013 Three-Honey Wine
Three separate, raw, unfiltered, wildflower honeys are blended together to make this wine
All locally sourced honey, of course. The 2011 won Gold at the Colorado Mead Cup.

 

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2013 Petite Blue
There is an entire pound of blueberries in each bottle! They are wild Maine blueberries. It is a dry wine, but tasty. This was aged in different oak barrel’s for extra flavor. Recommended for people who don’t enjoy red wine. This was Megan’s 2nd favorite.

 

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2013 Chuck’s Peach Folly
Sweet, light taste. It smelled a little funny but everyone liked it. It was Heather’s favorite, and Megan’s 3rd favorite. Made from whole, locally sourced peaches.

 

Heirloom Crabapple
15% abv, made with 95% Adobgo? crabapples and 5% blueberries. Sweet and a little tart. This is their best selling wine and Megan’s favorite. In the 1800’s people used adobgo crabapples to make hard cider.

 

2013 Deep Blue
18% but still sweet, really good. It is made from a port base. Only a small, half bottle, with a pound of blueberries in this small bottle.

 

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Sammies favorite wines were Deep Blue, Peach Folly, Heirloom Crabapple, and Petite Blue. They were the somewhat sweeter wines here.

 

Dustin liked most of the wines because they weren’t overly sweet.

 

 

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Want to visit?
Visiting Hours:

Monday – Thursday 1:00 to 5:30
Friday 12:00 – 6:00
Saturday 11:00 – 6:00
Sunday 11:00 – 5:00

Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne VT

IMG_0745While visiting John & Lindsay, we went to Shelburne Vineyard, located in Shelburne, Vermont. The vineyard has 4 different sites where they grow grapes. 57% of the grapes they use grown by them; that will go up because they have acres of vines that are too young to be used right now. Shelburne Vineyard started with 3 acres of grapes planted in 1998 as a retirement hobby. In 1999, 3 more acres were planted, and in 2000, a partnership was founded. In 2001, the first vintage was released. In 2008, their tasting room opened, and is ready for you to visit today!     IMG_0746

IMG_0737Our tasting:

2012 Louise Swenson
Sweet but dry, “drier than most reds”

2012 Cayuga White
Blend of Cayuga, Riesling and chardonnay. Definitely drier than most Cayuga that we have tried. 30 Different local restaurants have this as their table wine. 15 of those restaurants have it on tap!

2012 Lakeview White
This is their top selling wine. Lindsay thought it was easily drinkable due to sweetness, it is almost like a juice. An off dry Cayuga with chardonnay and Riesling.

 

They have 2 Rieslings, a Vermont (comes out in April) and a New York (their current offering)

2012 Riesling Honey and melon flavors. It was sweeter than Mark expected it to be.

2012 Cabernet Franc This was bottled in December. Dry medium body aged in oak. It had a fruity, cherry and blackberry, and a peppery bold taste. This was our favorite of the 2 reds.

2012 Marquette This is the leading red grape grown in Vermont. It was aged 8 months in an oak barrel, then 1 year in the bottle. Seemed a little drier than the first red.

Dessert Styles

Artesano is a new meadery in Coulchester, which opened in January of 2014. Since they are fairly new, they are utilizing the ability to offer their meads at the Shelburne Vineyard.

Artesano’s Sparkling Cranberry Mead John liked the cranberry flavor. Mark thought it was different but good.

Artesano’s Traditional Cyder 80% Applewine, 20% Mead. Drier than expected. Ha the bright acidity of apples.

2012 Vidal Blanc Late Harvest semi-sweet dessert wine. Balanced, fresh ripe stone fruits, pears and honeysuckle. Both Mark and Megan thought it was very good.

2012 Rhapsody Ice Wine Harvested in December/January in the early morning. Much sweeter than Vidal Blanc. We enjoyed.

Eden Ice Ciders Heirloom blend of eleven different varieties of apples, without spices added. Very good, sweet

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 The store/tasting roomIMG_0738 IMG_0744 IMG_0740 IMG_0739

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shelburne 4Want to visit? They are open 7 days a week, year round. 11-6 May-October, 11-5 October-April
Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day

Free tours offered daily at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

Upcoming Beer and Wine Events through June

March 21-22: Beer Advocates Extreme Beer Fest, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston MA

250+ beers. The “Ultimate Throw-down of Craft Beer Creativity.”  http://beeradvocate.com/ebf/

April 5-6: Drink Craft Beer SpringFest- A Celebration of Hops. Boston, MA

April 19: Austin Liquors Annual Spring into Summer Beer Event, Shrewsbury MA

May 3: Luke’s Liquors Spring Wine Tasting, Rockland MA

May 30-31: American Craft Beer Fest, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston MA

June 28: 2nd Annual Cape Cod Food and Wine Festival, Falmouth MA
Cape Cod Fairgrounds, 21+ only

Are you going to any of these? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it!

Want your event added? Let us know!