1. No Martha’s Vineyard
Since 1985, Martha’s Vineyard has been included in the American Viticultural Area. Wines produced from grapes grown on the islands are sold with labels that carry the Martha’s Vineyard AVA designation. Martha’s Vineyard was the home to the winemaker Chicama Vineyards in West Tisbury for 37 years until it closed in 2008. It was the first winery to open in the state. Currently though, no actual commercial vineyards exist on Martha’s Vineyard.
2. Concord Grapes
Wild grapes grow all over the state, but it was Ephraim Wales Bull of Concord who developed the Concord grape in 1849. In addition to jelly, the juice is used in some churches as a non-alcoholic alternative to wine. Concord grapes have been used to make Kosher and Sacramental wine.
But don’t think the grape juice you get in the grocery store will eventually turn to wine – there aren’t enough sulfites in the juice to start the fermentation process. The only way to make a drinkable wine would be to add wine making yeast and enough sugar to achieve fermentation.
3. Growing Market
More wineries are popping up in Massachusetts each year. In 2010, 36 wineries produced 134,724 gallons of wine and generated $9.3 million in sales. That was up from 2007 when 29 wineries produced 111,446 gallons of wine and generated $7.3 million in sales. Overall, the state’s wineries are very small – with only four wineries producing more than 10,000 gallons a year.
4. Presidential Wines
The 2006 Westport Brut RJR has been served three times at the White House and is well-known internationally. The sparkling wines were also featured on the television series “The West Wing.” In the show, the fictional president Josiah Bartlet, is from New Hampshire. Producers on the show used to like to use New England products in the show.
5. Alternative Wines
The most common grape wine varieties grown in Massachusetts are the vinifera varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris followed by the American Hybrids Vidal Blanc and Cayuga. The New England climate is not ideal for grape growing, so several wineries in Massachusetts rely on other fresh local produce to make their wines. Peach, blueberry and cranberry wines are produced at many local wineries. Nashoba Valley produces an award-winning peach wine. A honey wine is produced by Isaaks of Salem. Blackberry and blueberry wines are full of antioxidants and some say they may actually be healthier for you than grape wines.