Nashoba Valley Winery
Bolton, MA

Nashoba Valley is located in north-central Massachusetts, in a region long known for its orchards and fruits. Nashoba has proven that a winery can flourish and thrive in this area - as they not only create wines, but also beer, vodka, and spirits in their rustic farmhouse.

First off, the site is lovely. The orchards stretch as far as the eye can see, the rooms are done up quite nicely, and they are currently expanding into a new restaurant. It was rainy, so we were the only two there and got a personalized tour with Martha, who was incredibly informative and helpful. She showed us the typical equipment - rinser, squeezer, fermenting tanks and aging barrels. She was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all aspects. Then we went back to the tasting area.

She explained how entire tour busses would drop off people for the day, for the tours! I was flabbergasted. I've gone on many tours in the area, and at most we would have four other people in the room with us, quietly sampling wines.

The tour busses made Nashoba in particular a "fun tourist attraction", compared to the other more sedate environments at other wineries.

I understood now why they had to charge $3 for a tour - apparently people would just loop through the tour time and time again to get the "free wine". Also, they were running literally three 40-person tours at once, sliding from room to room, and still there were people waiting.

What does bulk touring groups mean for wine tastings? I suppose in one case it means wineries can grow larger, have more funds to experiment. Maybe more wineries with more variety will be able to open. Maybe more people will find they truly do like wine, expanding the base of people interested. On the down side, though, what once was a quiet, peaceful activity is turning into a "Disney-World" style attraction. If we had happened to go to Nashoba on a sunny day, we might have had to wait an hour before we could go on the tour, never mind buy our wine!

Pondering aside, Martha brought out a series of wines for us to try. First was a Dry Blueberry. This was very tasty - a bit dry, but with a delicious berry taste. Next came an after dinner peach - I was amazed by its delightful smell! Very smooth tasting, very sweet.

Martha served a plum wine, a flavor I enjoy a lot, which was a little dryer than I'm used to but also quite good. Then "Maiden's Blush", named after one of the 80 antique apple varieties they have. This had a subtle and smooth flavour.

Finally, the best part - the azule, a port styled wine. It isn't fortified, but it's extremely smooth and has a delicious berry flavour. Truly amazing, and currently in short supply. We both gathered a case each and have plans to come back for more shortly. Indeed, we have returned to Nashoba many times over the years.

Part of me worries at the attraction-style quality the winery has. Martha spoke of 8-across, 20-deep lines during popular days, all waiting to buy their wines. This hardly seems the atmosphere one could properly taste the wine. This is hardly the winery's fault, though. Their wines are indeed delicious, their location beautiful, and it merely means those of us wishing to appreciate the quality in quiet need to wait for rainy days to do so.

Nashoba Valley Winery Website

The Wineries of Massachusetts

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