On a cold, snowy day in early winter 2000, we looked out the back window of a house we were considering purchasing, and remember thinking, “If this land was anywhere else in the world, it would be a vineyard.” The rolling hills and far views seemed to be the perfect setting. However, it is New Hampshire, after all – grape growing? How ridiculous! Grapes are grown in much milder climates, right?
As it turned out, the idea wasn’t that ridiculous! A few searches on our new internet connection, and low and behold – The Minnesota Grape Growers website popped into view. The University of Minnesota had and still has a very active cold-climate grape hybridizing program, with the help of an elderly fellow by the name of Elmer Swenson who dedicated his life to creating French-American hybrid vines that could handle 30 to 50 degrees below zero winter temperatures.
Well, if these grapevines could stand colder temperatures than you find here in NH, without the insulation of as much “white mulch” (snow) as we have here, hey, maybe the idea wasn’t so crazy! But then there was the question of what kind of wine would these grapes make, even if they did grow here…
After attending numerous seminars, workshops, and courses, reading a mountain of books on every aspect of grape growing and winemaking, and taking trips to grape growing areas of the country, tasting their wines, talking with winemakers, the possibilities became reality.
We did, indeed, buy that house on the hill with the breathtaking views. Ground was prepared, trellising was installed, and the first 250 vines were planted in the spring of 2004. The first harvest on those vines was 2006 which prompted the immediate need for lab and winemaking equipment.
We've made a wide variety of wines ever since with a delicious selection of 28 French-American hybrid and Cold-Climate grape varieties, and we also offer fresh seedless table grapes in season and make raisins with 4 additional varieties. Wine tasting at Walpole Mountain View Winery can be quite a learning experience, whether it's your first ever sipping or ever visiting a winery, or whether you've traveled the world of wines for many years. The varieties that have become available for cold-climate areas have just begun their voyage, and you can be on the cutting edge of the many new wines that are now possible in one of the places that was formerly deemed too cold and harsh for such activity.
For us, it all starts with the grape. We are exceptionally proud and quite unique in that our wines are made 100% from grapes we grow in our own vineyard. It doesn't say just "American Table Wine" on our label -- when you see "New Hampshire" on our label, it means that the grapes are grown here as well. We are a fully "estate" winery. If you want a taste of New Hampshire "terroir," you will find it here.
Our ever-present wind and sunny location high up in the hills flanking the Connecticut River Valley, contributes significantly in our efforts to grow delicious grapes that translate into fine wines. Gravelly, mineral-rich soil provides perfect drainage, as vines don't like their feet being continuously wet. Continuous breezes dry the vines quickly after each rainfall, helping our organic efforts in disease and pest control.
Our wines are grounded in their sense of place, just as they are in the best vineyards throughout the world. Each variety here has been chosen because of its special flavor, function, time of ripeness, disease resistance, and winter heartiness. Each vine is tended and nurtured individually. Every growing and wine making decision is made in careful steps, not broad strokes.
Since the grape-grower is also the winemaker here, vines are carefully pruned always keeping in mind the production of the most flavorful fruit, not just the "most" fruit. And harvest dates are determined by when each variety is at its peak, not when it's most convenient. Those conscious, difficult decisions, forming our mission and directives, dictates how we bring out the best that our grapes have to offer when being transformed into wine.
For our current tasting list of wines and/or our extensive list of the 32 varieties of grapes we grow, please e-mail: vineyard @sover.net.
A prime mission with each vintage is to create a wide variety of wine styles from our unique grapes in order to appeal to the novice wine drinker as well as the most sophisticated palate. We have varietals and blends, reds, whites, blushes, and roses, ranging from the driest of dry wines through dessert "late harvest" sweet.
Every autumn brings us a new vintage. Please visit often to try our wines, along with your family, friends, and visitors. We enjoy sharing what our unique place on this earth gives us in the way of fruit and mountain vistas.