Wow–Has It Really Been 25 Years?
by Nancy Knowles Parker
(from the Spring 2013 edition of the New England Wine Gazette)
It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since my husband, Cortlandt Parker, and I first launched the New England Wine Gazette. As newcomers to the world of grape growing and wine making we felt others would like to learn with us all about the magic, the mystery and, yes, sometimes the misery of the world of wine. Frankly I would say there is more of the magic in this industry, and again yes, it has become an industry because the world of wine has truly exploded and in the United States it has grown to such an extent that every state in the Union now grows crops that either produce grape or fruit wines. And the east coast has been a great part of this expansion over these past 25 years.
When Cort and I started growing grapes, and almost simultaneously publishing this newspaper, there were 36 wineries in our six New England states.Today there are one hundred and five with more, most likely, waiting in the wings.
Of the 37 wineries that were operating in 1988 15 are still very much in business. They are, alphabetically, Bishop Farm, Chamard Vineyards, Di- Grazia Vineyards, Haight Vineyard (now Haight – Brown), Hamlet Hill Vineyards, Hopkins Vineyard, McLaughin Vineyards, Stonington Vineyards, Diamond Hill Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyards, Hopeland Vineyards (now Newport Vineyards), Sakonnet Vineyards (now Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards), Nashoba Valley Vineyards, Plymouth Colony Winery, West County Cider, Westport Rivers, Bartlett Estates Winery and The Sows Ear.
The year 1988 seems to have been a big year for big doings in the New England world of wine. Stonington Vineyards in Connecticut for example 25 years ago opened its doors and Earl and Susan Samson that year had just purchased Sakonnet Vineyard from Jim and Lolly Mitchell who had pioneered with the creation of the winery back in 1975. Coincidentally the winery has now, 25 years later, just been purchased by the co-owners of Alex and Ani and it will be known as Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard. We welcome them to our thriving world of wine.
In an interview concerning the new owners of that vineyard and their plans written by wine writer Donald Breed in our harvest 2012 edition of the New England Wine Gazette Earl Samson said of owner Carolyn Rafalean “I’m thrilled that Carolyn is committed to carrying on and going into bigger and better things” adding “She’s very creative – as the success of her company shows and she’s very land oriented”
When we started this paper it was under the auspices of the late lamented New England Wine Council which was made up of all the early founders of our industry. It has been replaced by the very successful Wine Trails that flourish now throughout the Northern, Interior and Coastal New England States
Looking back it is important to remember all the help and support we have received from our readers – most of them visitors to our ever-growing number of wineries: to you we say thank you. And thanks to our writers who bring our readers the winery news and to all those whose advertising makes this paper possible.
Here’s to another twenty-five with thanks and cheers!