Martha’s Vineyard was so named by Bartholomew Gosnold back in the 1600’s because of the large number of wild vines that he found on the island. Clearly not an avid wine drinker himself he was unaware of the centuries of confusion that he was letting loose on the visitors and tourists to the island. The wild vines he saw can still be found here but their more interesting cousin – wine producing grapes – have never been a real part of the landscape.
One true vineyard, Chicama Vineyards, was established in 1971 but closed its doors after 30 years of operation in 2008. It was a 50 acre vineyard in Vineyard Haven that produced good Viognier and Shiraz wines but surviving the challenges of New England weather, local nature and soil makes MV far from an ideal location for a vineyard.
But all is not lost as Martha’s Vineyard is still a pretty awesome place to come to enjoy wine. There are two annual festivals that feature wine and several dinner events where the wine on offer is of the highest caliber. Add to that the wealth of excellent farm-to-table restaurants with lengthy and impressive wine lists and you can be sure to get your fill of Bacchus’s favourite tipple.
May is the annual MV Wine Fest, a four day extravaganza of internationally sourced top wines that are paired with food created by local Martha’s Vineyard chefs to produce excellent tastings. The festival was started by Marnely Murray and John Clift, both experts in the world of wine and food. The festival is recognized as one of the top wine events in New England.
In October as the season starts to draw down wine lovers flock to Martha’s Vineyard for the Food & Wine Festival. This is an event sponsored and hosted by Edgartown Board of Trade and showcases local chefs and premier wines. Proceeds go to support local island farm initiatives.
Throughout the summer Farm.Field.Sea host food tours for visitors and locals to learn more about local farming and fishing. One of highlights is the cheese and wine pairing offered at Grey Barn Farm in Chilmark. Locally produced cheeses paired with locally sourced wines.
If you’re a wine lover we hope to see you on this very special Vineyard sometime soon!