Lakes Region’s Fourth Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend!

Lakes Region Barrel Tasting Poster Brochure Final.pdf-1Lakes Region Wineries to hold 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region wineries will be holding their fourth annual Barrel Tasting Weekend on October 4thand 5th. This year there will be six participating wineries: Coffin Cellars, Gilmanton Winery, Sap House Meadery, Haunting Whisper Vineyards, Newfound Lake Vineyards, and Hermit Woods Winery.

Building off the success of last year’s event, where nearly 700 people from throughout New England participated, the Lakes Region wineries are anticipating an even bigger and better event this year. Bob Manley from Hermit Woods Winery, the organizer of the event, had this to say: “Even with heavy rain almost the entire weekend last year, we still had an incredible turnout and everyone had a great time. Should the weather cooperate, we expect an even greater turnout this year.”

This is an exciting event whereby guests will have the opportunity to taste young wines directly from the oak and stainless steel barrels in which they are fermenting and aging. Not only will it be a unique opportunity to taste wine in the early stages of its development, visitors will be able to meet the winemakers, tour the winemaking facilities, and learn all about the winemaking process. In addition, many of the wineries will be hosting other local vendors during the event, and offering special foods and wine-related items to guests.

The Lakes Region Wineries again plan to partner with local businesses to make this event a community wide success. Many businesses participated in previous events, including Tomina’s Cookie Dough, Little Linda’s Embroidery, Red Fox Farm, Vinona Glen Farm, Blackwater Mustard, Still Seeking Farm, Mystic Eye Creations, Buconnoisseurble and Flame Soap and Candle, For Crumbs Sake, Jehu Hot Sauce, Laconia Village Bakery, Bread Peddler, Back Door Farm, Krebs Farm, Salisbury Bakery, Huntoon Farm, Forever Boards, 2 Sisters Wine Jelly, Mill Run Spices, Sugar Whisperers, Fen Ridge Farm, and Meadows Pond Homemade Soaps. We hope that these and many other Lakes Region Businesses will join in the festivities this year.

Once again, there will be wonderful prizes valued at over $3,000 for those guests who visit the most wineries during the course of the weekend. This year’s prizes included a three night package at Lake House at Ferry Point, a two-night stay at Mill Falls at the Lake, a two night stay at The Black Swan Inn in Tilton, a two-night stay at Steele Hill Resort, a night stay at the Coppertoppe Inn, a night stay at the Henry Whipple House in Bristol, dinner for two at Millstone at 74 Main, dinner for two at Gilmanton Winery’s restaurant, a $50 gift certificate to The Common Man Family of Restaurants, and a gift basket from participating wineries valued at over $150, $25 gift certificates at The Flying Goose Brew pub,. Door prizes and gifts will also be available at all the wineries during the event.

The event organizers really want this to be an event everyone can enjoy and participate in.  “We want to provide a unique opportunity for everyone to learn about and appreciate wine,” said Bob Manley of Hermit Woods Winery. “Whether you’re a novice who is just learning about wine or a seasoned wine connoisseur, there will be something here for everyone.”

All six Lakes Region wineries pride themselves on crafting quality New Hampshire traditional, fruit, and honey wines, many of which have received awards in national and international tastings. Most of the wineries grow their grapes in their own vineyards, and all of them utilize locally grown fruit and honey as much as possible, working closely with local farmers and pickers to find the best possible fruit with which to make their wine. Lakes Region wines are available in the wineries’ tasting rooms and restaurants, as well as at local wine shops and eateries.

Participants must purchase a Lakes Region Barrel Tasting Commemorative Wine Glass to participate.  Glasses will be available at all participating wineries and will cost $12.00. Click Here to learn more


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Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve appears on the Today Show

Hermit Woods Winery was invited by Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor for Food and Wine Magazine, to share our Petite Blue Reserve with Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today show on Wednesday July 9th.  Much to our delight, both Kathie Lee and Hoda liked our wine.

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Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda

Hermit Woods on The Today Show

While attending a panel discussion in March hosted by Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor at Food and Wine Magazine, we had a chance to share our Petite Blue Reserve with the panel and other guests of the event. Ray Isle liked the wine enough that last week he asked if we would mind if he shared it with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today Show.  Of course we were more than delighted and promptly delivered our wine to New York.

The show will be on Wednesday morning, July 9th from 10:00 to 11:00 and it is likely our wine will be on around 10:45 am.


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Fruit (non-grape) wine, understandably misunderstood in New England


New England can be a confusing place when it comes to wine. As wine regions go, we are like an infant taking their first steps or uttering their first words. We have a lot of growing up to do. In this confusion, fruit wine, or non-grape wine, takes center stage.

With wineries popping up throughout New England like wild flowers in Spring, a place not really known for their wine grapes, fruit wine is in abundance. If you have ever toured a New England wine trail, you have no doubt discovered many interesting concoctions, and if your experience is anything like mine, most of them have been sweet.

Don’t get me wrong, more traditional grape wines are to be found in New England (often sweet as well) and in greater numbers every year, but other fruits play a much bigger role in this part of the world than in other wine regions. And maybe this is as it should be; New England is home to an abundance of wonderful fruit that thrives in our climate with little assistance from us.

At Hermit Woods Winery, we have found that using old-school wine making techniques combined with some new approaches in wine making and blending, we can produce non-grape wines that satisfy even the most hardened grape wine enthusiasts.

By blending apples, peaches, pears, rosehips, and autumn berries (just to name just a few), we craft well-balanced, complex dry white wines made for sipping or pairing with a meal. Many of our red wines are crafted from blends of blueberries, blackberries, currents, and other dark fruits found growing wild across the northeast, and aged in oak for as long as two years. Again, offering the balance and complexity of a more traditional dry red and pairing well with a wide variety of food.

We have also found, contrary to what many fruit wine makers will tell you, well made fruit wine has the potential to improve with age. We are developing an ever-increasing library of wines that go back several years and are achieving outstanding results.

Sadly, the lack of understanding of non-grape wine is why so many of our wine-loving customers do an about face and make a beeline for the door when they see that our wine list is made up largely of fruit and honey wines. As someone who has had the pleasure of sampling and enjoying wines from many more famous wine regions of the world, I can’t say that I blame them. My only hope is that I get to the door before them and that they give me two minutes to help dispel their biases before they leave.

All of us at Hermit Woods Winery appreciate a great California or French wine as much as anyone. The bar has been set for what a great wine is for hundreds of years and it is our challenge to continue in that tradition using non-traditional fruit.

Gone are the days when the only fruit wines available are syrupy sweet and hearken back to the glory days of Boone’s Farm wines. However, we still have much work to do to change that mind set, it’s been around a long time!


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NH Magazine’s Editor’s pick for Best Fruit Wine!

hermit woods-2014 best of nh

Hermit Woods Winery would like to thank the editors of New Hampshire Magazine for recognizing our fruit wines by awarding us Editor’s Pick for best fruit wine in New Hampshire.

Hermit Woods Winery takes great pride in crafting wine from locally sourced, often organic fruit, in the style of the better known and more traditional grape wines.  We offer a wide variety of dry style red and white wines that offer the character and complexity of many of the wines we have come to love from California and France and other wine regions of the world.  Through his understanding of the art and science of making fine wine, and the use of both traditional wine making techniques as well as modern approaches, our Vintner, Ken Hardcastle has taken fruit wine to a whole new level.

Visit our tasting room at 72 Main Street in Meredith NH and discover what New Hampshire Magazine discovered.  We look forward to sharing our award winning wine with you.



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Mill Falls at the Lake Features Hermit Woods Winery in their In Room Magazine

Published by Hawthorn Creative
Written By: Michael Persson
May, 2014
Clck to view PDF Mill Falls Magazine Feature Story



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Hermit Woods featured in NH Magazine, May 2014

_ Hermit Woods Winery-NH Mag-sm

Hermit Woods Winery now has a gorgeous new tasting room

By Susan Laughlin


So happy to see a fledgling winery set roots and take flight. Hermit Woods Winery folks always had high passion for their process and products, but were limited by their backwoods tasting room carved out of owner Bob Manley’s gracious Sanbornton home.  With the new tasting room and winemaking facility on the real main street of Meredith, just a block west of Rte. 25, Manley and the other owners, Chuck Lawrence and winemaker Ken Hardcastle, have realized a dream. They now have significantly increased their capacity for making fruit based wines, many of which are balanced with local honey and indigenous to New England. Hardcastle is known to experiment with fermenting unfamiliar fruit, so you can find a Kiwi wine, a local fruit found on a shrub, and Knot Mead fermented with Japanese knot weed that grows unfettered along roadsides. New for the spring will be a Lake House White — peach-rhubarb wine fermented with rose hips in a Bordeaux style. A real standout is their Melange, a blend of blueberry, blackberries, elderberry and black currants designed as a complex sipping wine. Check their website for tasting room hours and locations for purchase, which include a few local farmers markets.


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Clark Smith, Postmodern Winemaking Symposium, Attended by Ken Hardcastle and Chuck Lawrence


Ken Hardcastle, Clark Smith, Bonnie Morrison, Chuck Lawrence

Ken Hardcastle, Clark Smith, Bonnie Morrison, Chuck Lawrence

Clark Smith, author of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 2013 Wine Book of the Year, Postmodern Winemaking hosted a postmodern winemaking symposium yesterday in New York.  Our winemaker, Ken Hardcastle, and partner Chuck Lawrence had the good fortune to be able to attend along with a small group of wine makers, winery owners, sommeliers, wine writers, and wine aficionados.

Over twenty wines were tasted during the event including Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve, the only fruit wine in the group.  Much to our delight, our Petite Blue was very well received by all in attendance, including a reputable wine writer and critic, Lisa Granik, as well as Clark Smith himself.   In one case, our blueberry wine was thought to be a Sarah, before being identified as a blueberry wine.

Needless to say, this was a very special opportunity for us.  It is not every day a small local New Hampshire winery has the opportunity to share their wine amongst some of the top producers in the northeast and with one of the most respected voices in the wine industry.   Even more important, to be the producer of the only fruit wine present, and have it be received as well, this was a real milestone for us.

And to top it off, Hermit Woods got a mention in a write up by the popular British Wine Writer, Stuart Pigott:  More extraordinary still was the 2012 Petit Blue from Hermit Woods in Meredith/New Hampshire, which provoked a lot of discussion when served blind. However, nobody got the reason for the great berry aromas: It had actually been made from wild blueberries. “I heavily manipulated it!” winemaker Ken Hardcastle with a wry smile. However, it did not taste one dimensionally fruity (there were some discrete tannins) and it had great balance. Maybe I’m amazed!”

You can read the whole story here:

Wines from Clark Smith symposium-web


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Hermit Woods is on the move… and we need your support!

Hermit Woods Kickstarter Campaign

Watch our Zany Video Here!

As many of you may know, Hermit Woods Winery has grown out of our current location.  In order to continue to produce the finest quality wine and serve you in the manner you have become accustomed to, and do so year round, we have had to find a new home.

Through the generous support of Meredith Village Savings Bank and Belknap County Economic Development Council, we have purchased a new building on Main Street in Meredith, NH and have spent the last six months remodeling it, setting up our wine making area, and building our tasting room to provide an even better experience than we do now.  As is often the case with large re-model projects, we have had lots of unforeseen problems and things are taking longer than we hoped.  However, we are now in the home stretch and the end is in sight.  But sadly, we are rapidly running out of funds to see the project through.

This is where we need your help.  We have started a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the final dollars required for us to put the finishing touches on our project and get our new winery open just as soon as possible.   We are asking you for any help you can offer us in raising the necessary capital to open our new winery.  Whether it’s by donating to our campaign or simply sharing it amongst your friends, family, and social media pages, anything you can do to help will be much appreciated.

Please click on Kickstarter below to watch our ZANY video (we had a lot of fun making it) and learn all about our campaign and how you can help.


We have only 29 days to meet our fundraising goals, should we not meet our goal in that 30 days, our project will not be funded and any money that has been donated, will not be collected.  Contributions will only be excepted if we raise all the funds necessary to see our project through. With your support and a little luck, we hope to be open by the end of January!

It is through the generous support of people like yourselves and the many wonderful people who have visited our winery over the past three years that we have come this far.  We cannot put into words how much we have appreciated it and thank you for your continued support.

Thank you!


Bob Manley, Ken Hardcastle, Chuck Lawrence, Jerilyn Dolan, and Maya Hardcastle.

PS: If you are in the Meredith area come on by and see the progress of our new winery, if we are there, stop in and say hi, if we have the time, we would be happy to give you a tour.

72 Main Street

Meredith, NH 


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Honoring the heirloomPresentations by Heirloom Experts Ben Watson & Rich Stadnik & Local Foods Tastings

On Sunday, October 27th, Alyson’s Orchard will host “Honoring the Heirloom: A Culinary Celebration of Quince & Apples” from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Guests will learn about heirloom apples and quince by tasting them plain, in cider, and paired with local cheeses and specialty food products.

Activities include:

  • Cider – Hard & Sweet – book signing and discussion with author Ben Watson
  • “Intro to Heirloom Apples” by Rich Stadnik of Pup’s Cider Co.
  •  “Cooking with Quince” – tips & treats by Vermont Quince Co.
  • Heirloom apple cider pressing
  • Tastings of heirloom fruit, wine, cheese & specialty products

“Alyson’s wonderful selection of heirloom apples represents a treasure trove for those who enjoy making their own cider and cooking with fruit,” notes Cider, Hard and Sweet author Ben Watson. “We invite everyone to come and join the cider and quince revival.”

A local and national food and farm activist and consultant, Watson is co-leader of the Slow Food Monadnock Region chapter and is a member of Slow Food USA’s regional New England Ark of Taste Committee. He is developing a Heritage Orchard project to identify, conserve, and propagate heritage apple trees from America and Europe. In addition to Cider, Hard and Sweet, Watson’s books include The Slow Food Guide to New York City (with Patrick Martins and Slow Food USA) and Taylor’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables.

Rich Stadnik will be manning the cider press and introducing guests to the large variety of heirloom apples grown at Alyson’s Orchard. Nan Stefanik of Vermont Quince Company will be sharing tips about cooking with quince and offering tastes of a variety of hot and cold quince dishes in addition to Vermont Quince’s quince products.

Guests will enjoy wines by Hermit Woods and LaBelle Wineries, cheeses made by Grafton Village Cheese, Woodcock Farm, Hollyhock Farm, and Sawyer Artisanal Cheese paired with chutneys produced by Blake Hill Preserves and dulce de membrillo & preserves crafted by Vermont Quince Company, and caramel products made by award-winning Big Picture Farm and AlpineGlo.

Admission for “Honoring the Heirloom” is $10 and includes all activities and tastings. The first 50 guests will receive a small jar of Vermont Quince preserves and all will have the opportunity to purchase many of the local products.  For more info, please contact 802-365-1056 or or visit the webpages of Alyson’s Orchard and Vermont Quince.


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