Bubbling up through the fertile New England soil, like an artisanal spring, Mineral Hills Winery offers complex wines straight from the source. They ferment as much of their own harvest from the farm, multiple grape varieties as well as fruits and berries, blended with locally sourced grapes from across the region. Around forty percent of their fruit fermented annually is grown within New England, and at over fourteen hundred cases of wine that’s no small contribution to our local economy.
In 1984, Larry and Sue Godard hand marked off the acreage for their soon to be farm, breaking it out of a larger family plot. Aptly named Ren Hen Farm, as they did all the work themselves, they soon had the foundation for their future laid out. Back then the focus was a small apiary and some apple trees. Over the years the farm’s inhabitants expanded as their family grew, hosting an assortment of critters from laying hens to sheep garnered through the local 4-H youth programs. Many hands make light work, but inevitably the children grew up, and twelve years ago the farm refocused its efforts with a new inspiration. Now re-envisioned as a vineyard with multiple grape varieties, laden blueberry bushes, an already established orchard, and even more bees: Mineral Hills Winery was born!
Starting a winery together is no small feat, and who would have known how far they would get. Local stores have been picking them up at increasing rates, and their vintages even gaining acclaim with the American Wine Society Commercial Competition in 2020. They were excited to share that 2021 was their best season on the books, to date. And that is in no small part due to their tenacity through the pandemic, but also a tribute to the quality of their offerings.
Mineral Hills gathers grapes from all around the N.E. region. Sourcing from as close as Goshen, Williamsburg, and Easthampton. They also work with larger local vineyards such as UMass Amherst’s farm in Belchertown. Their search for excellence takes them as far as the Finger Lake regions of New York, going the effort of collecting varieties from Coastal Vineyards where the soil allows for different types of grapes as well as cultivating unique tasting notes.
The true worth of their efforts is proven in the depth of their wine’s flavor profile. They utilize fresh oak barrels to age specific wines, cycling them out on a five year basis as the oak flavors neutralize. They choose their grape varieties with a mind for traditional flavors, balanced by our climate, and have gone through multiple iterations on their own land. Experimenting with grapes coming out of the University of Minnesota including Itasca, Petite Pearl, and Marquette. Of course some varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, are already a complete package when it comes to factors like aging, acid levels, consistent results, and complexity and there can be no substitute.
But their offerings don’t stop with the grapes, the apple and berry wines produced from their own orchard are a must try, and they even offer home brewed mead. Mead is a honey wine, often called the ambrosia of the gods, fermented from their wildflower honey. Theirs is a dry mead, a step up from most commercial mead which has the reputation as a sugar bomb, with herbal notes and a light finish. Their own honey is also up for grabs, if you’d actually like the sweetness in its simplest form, as well as beeswax products displayed in their storefront.
And what a delightful storefront it is! You can do tastings there with them at the gorgeous wooden bar, all their vintages are on display making it easy to pick up those that pique your interest. But to imply Mineral Hills is simply a storefront and would ignore the beauty of their land, and the large pavilion they’ve constructed to host events ranging from concerts to private parties. Recently they hosted their annual cancer fundraiser for Cooley Dickinson’s relay, with 10% of all wine sales donated. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. They have a robust summer lineup, with outdoor concerts roughly every other weekend, and even some yoga Sundays (with wine tasting after!) planned out.
So come check out this wellspring of flavor and festivity, the secret is out, Mineral Hills Winery is worth the trip. Interested in what they have to offer? Stop into our little co-op and pick up a bottle!
Not sure where to start? Larry suggested the Seyval Blanc as a great choice, but he prefers dry reds such as Le Tre Sorelle. Sue, on the other hand, brought up one of their best selling wines May Wine! May wine is a white wine infused with Sweet Woodruff, they use a Reisling and I had to give it a taste. I very much enjoyed the subtle herbal undertones, almost spice-like, balanced by the sweet apple and peach of a riesling, but the floral notes are what fully caught my attention. Traditionally “Maiwein” is a German preparation soaking fresh strawberries, similar to sangria, and served in the spring around the May festivals. And I can’t think of a better summer drink! Refreshing and crisp, the floral notes pair perfectly with strawberry.
If you’d like to find them here’s their info or look for there vintages on our end cap in the store!
Mineral Hills Winery
Hours through the rest of June: Wed – Sun. 10am-5pm
Hours July – Nov. are: Mon – Sun. 10am-6pm
Find them Online here: Mineral Hills Winery