Winter is the best time to be in New Hampshire if you like fresh clean air and beautiful scenery. The Granite State offers many wide-open spaces where you can clearly see its fields, grape vineyards and apple orchards. The best views of the mountain ranges, lakes and ocean are during this time of year.
In the White Mountains region, with its rugged terrain and dramatic backdrop, you find world class ski resorts with both Alpine and Nordic ski trails, along with exceptional touring centers for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In addition, there is a network of over 7,000 miles of snow mobile trails, some of the finest in the East. Outdoor sports are plentiful helping to build a hearty appetite for delicious food and a thirst for local wine.
Many New Hampshire wineries are open in the winter months providing a wide variety of fun and interesting events to keep you busy while warming you up on the inside. The New Hampshire Winery Association (NHWA) has 21 members that are located in six distinct tourist regions all around the state. You will find member wineries and vineyards producing a large variety of wines made from cold hardy and cool climate grapes, as well as French-hybrid grapes. New Hampshire vineyards are recognized for growing diverse varietals that result in tasty and aromatic wines that are a perfect fit when sitting by a roaring fire – indoors or out.
There are no shortages of wonderful things to do in New Hampshire. Popular winter events held each year by New Hampshire wineries include: wine and cheese tastings, chocolate tours, art walks, musical concerts, ski races, an ice fishing derby, ice skating, pond hockey and more.
Take a peek at what’s going on at a number of New Hampshire wineries this winter:
WHITE MOUNTAINS REGION
Seven Birches Winery is perfectly placed by the lobby of the Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain. All wine making production happens on site with a nearby tasting room that has views of the White Mountains. Wines are made from traditional European grape varietals, as well as local fruits. Plan a “Meet the Winemakers Winery Tour” available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for small or large groups by reservation. In addition, the “Atrium Wine Bar” across the road in downtown Lincoln also serves wine and snacks. Open daily, check each location for hours.
White Mountain Winery sits in the heart of the stunning Mount Washington Valley, in North Conway, a family-owned and run business making wines from quality juice from all corners of the world. Each wine label features a unique picture of the region photographed by local artists. The winery supports local animal rescues by donating customer tips - $70,000 has already been raised to date. Open all year, Wednesday to Sunday 12-4pm.
If you’re heading up to the White Mountains, Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in North Woodstock. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and a brand-new “Polar Pub” serving alcoholic beverages. Loon Mountain hosts an annual fundraising dinner at Octagon at the Gondola Base on January 28. BodeFest features Bode Miller, four-time world skiing champion and Olympic medalist, on March 18 at Cannon Mountain. All New Hampshire ski resorts host many fun events on and off the slopes.
Crazy Cat Winery is close to Newfound Lake, one of the pristine lakes in New Hampshire, this cat-crazy boutique winery produces wines made on site from locally sourced fruit from all over the world. You can taste dry red and whites, semi-sweet and dessert wines in their historic carriage house attached to an 1880 Folk Victorian home. Open Fridays and Saturdays, noon-7pm, Sundays noon-5pm, throughout the winter.
Moonlight Meadery, an over the moon meadery experience at two locations (also in the Merrimack Valley region) for producing award-winning ultra-premium meads – also known as honey wine, a fermented beverage mostly made from honey, water and yeast. Wednesdays to Sundays from 3-8pm enjoy pizza and appetizers. Thursday evenings, Open Mic Night, Fridays 6:30-8pm Holy Cow Music Bingo, Saturdays 7-10pm dance to live entertainment, Sundays 5:30-8pm Trivia Night, and a special Valentine’s Day dinner on February 14.
Hermit Woods, perched above the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, crafts fine fruit wines, meads and ciders made in a large variety of traditional and non-traditional styles from locally sourced fruit. A busy winter schedule with Piano Nights in the Loft e Fridays and Saturdays from 6-9:00pm. Also Movie Nights in the Loft 6:30-8:30pm every other Tuesday. The Loft Wine Tasting Experience 11:30am-12:30pm held every Saturday. Watch a slide and video presentation together with a wine tasting that shows the history of Hermit Woods Winery. Other events include an annual Valentine's Day Wine and Chocolate tasting, and there’s a Farm to Table Vendor Showcase and Wine Tasting event in March.
Whippletree Winery is located in Tamworth, a quintessential New England town between the Seacoast and White Mountains. It’s a lovely spot with good wine and mountain views. A wide range of award winning, premium wines are available to taste with cheese and crackers. The wines are handcrafted with minimal processing for maximum flavor, made the old country way. The winery is getting ready to launch a special release wine for their big event on February 18 & 19, “Cupcake with Wine” – a collaboration between the winery and White Mountain Cupcakery, who’s creating a unique cupcake made with this wine as an ingredient. Winter hours are Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5.
Cabana Falls, placed in a very charming part of the state, between Peterborough and Jaffrey, an area filled with fun and artsy winter activities. Cabana Falls makes handcrafted wines in small batches. Wine tastings are free. Art classes are scheduled through the winter. Open Fridays 3-7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11-6pm.
The Summit Winery, close to Keene, is a down to earth family business with their own vineyard started by passion and perseverance. The winery setting is warm and rustic. There are around two dozen selections of red and white wines made from grape varietals sourced from other regions in the country and abroad. Open Thursdays 4:30-7pm, Fridays -Sundays 12-5pm. Monthly art classes are held by local artisans all year long.
MERRIMACK VALLEY REGION
Averill House Vineyard is located in the historic ice district of Brookline. This family run winery presents traditional wines and fruit wines in their 1830's tasting room. Open select hours Wednesdays-Sundays. Bring your snowshoes for the Fire Tower Winter Wonderland wine tasting experience. Taste, tour and bottle wine with the winemaker – cork and bring a bottle home. Several interesting Valentine’s Day celebrations including a four-course dinner and wine pairing. Get lucky during the St. Patrick’s Day mystery dinner and wine pairing.
LaBelle Winery is a destination winery close to the State’s Queen City with two locations (both in the Merrimack Valley region) specializing in transforming local fruit into award winning wines. Grapes are picked at their peak, then pressed and fermented the same day, producing delicious fresh and balanced wines. A restaurant, outdoor patio with a custom-built fire pit and live music makes this a popular place to visit in the winter. Winery open Wednesdays-Sundays.
Flag Hill Winery, located in a rural setting in Lee, features still and sparkling wines, port and premium spirits that reflect the true characters of this area. Situated on beautiful grounds for a day of snowshoeing (rentals available). Enjoy one of their warm winter cocktails afterwards. There are Chef’s table dinners every month and a special Valentine’s Day dinner on February 10. Learn more about New Hampshire wines - the NHWA will host s a wine and viticulture education program on February 15.
Squamscott Vineyard and Winery produces handcrafted wines made sustainably from grapes grown at their own vineyards on the banks of the scenic Squamscott River, a stone’s throw from the tasting room in a restored historic colonial style home. They offer aromatic whites, rose, and dry red wines, along with cheeses, charcuterie and flatbreads. Open weekends with special events – January 21 Charcuterie and Cheese pairings alongside Blue Heron, dry, red, white and rose wines with local cheese and local dry salami. February 11 - Chocolate and wine pairings - pairing Lindt, locally made chocolate, with Blue Heron, dry, red, white and rose wines. March 11 - Wine Blending - discover the art of blending single varietals into blends that might contain two or three varietals. Take your personal blend home.
Zorvino Vineyards, tucked in by Massachusetts, is a beautiful Tuscan style winery offering a long menu of interesting wines and great events. Wines are made from grapes grown on 80 acres of land in the center of a hardwood forest, as well as grapes sourced from California, Italy, Chile and other regions throughout the world. Open daily 11-5pm. Special events include a reserve tasting on January 19, a Winter Wonderland Wine Pairing Dinner January 27, Chocolate Madness on February 2. Dance the night away at the “Back to the 80’s” party on March 31.
Whether you do a day trip or stay overnight, New Hampshire is home to many world class restaurants to wine & dine and enjoy a variety of mouth-watering seasonal local products. Stay at a unique B& B or a renowned Inn, resting up for a new day of winter activities.