The Vineyards and Wineries of New Hampshire

Real Estate Agent with Bean Group / Franklin

Ten years ago, there were only a handfull of licensed Vineyards in New Hampshire. Today, in 2010, there are twenty-four licensed Vineyards and Wineries in the State, and many more home vintners, or winemakers, that have been bitten by the grape, so to speak.

Marachel Foch grapes on the vine

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to check out two local Wineries in the Lakes Region, as we are beginning winemakers ourselves. We planted 45 vines last year, and as it takes 4 or 5 years to actually produce grapes that are good enough to make wine, we have a while to wait :-( In the meantime, our trip yielded lots of helpful information.

The first Vineyard on our adventure was Haunting Whisper Vineyard on Route 4 in Danbury.

Haunting Whisper Vineyard

 Haunting Whisper Winery

Owners, Eric and Erin Wiswall, began their vineyard with 500 plants back in 2005, They have 75 acres with views of Mt Kearsage and Ragged Mountain. Eric was tending the Winery that day, while Erin was showcasing their wine at the Annual Co-op Producer's Fair in Lebanon. Eric took us to the window in the wine-tasting room, where we could see the fermentation room down below. Forget oak barrels. Most of today's local vintners use stainless steel tanks. Easier to clean and they last longer.

We then began our wine tasting experience with Haunting Whisper's wine list. My husband and I don't fancy ourselves as white wine drinkers (many are too sweet for us), but surprise, surprise... we ended up purchasing the Edelweiss. which is a semi-dry white. I was cooking up some local trout that night and this seemed to be the perfect pairing for the trout. We didn't have time to tour the actual vineyard, but we will definitely be back for more as Danbury is only a half hour away from our home!

The second Vineyard on the tour, which we visited the next day, was Stone Gate Vineyard in Gilford. Owners, Peter and Jane Ellis, and their daughter Cory, were perfect hosts.

Stone Gate Winery in Gilford, New Hampshire 

When you first arrive at this 2 acre lot with 350 vines, you are driving into the Ellis' actual driveway. In fact, the fermentation is done right there where the photo looks like the garage door is open. Up to fifteen family members and friends fit into this small space to create 500 cases of product, just last year alone.

fermenting in the garage

Now, having done some home brewing ourselves, this was something we could relate too. Who needs a garage when you can use the space for something better, right?

We walked the rows of grapes with the owner, Peter, as he patiently explained about securing the vines...

Supporting the grape vines

What the different variety of grapes look like...

Marechal Foch Garpevines


Rows of White grapevines

and then the taste test :-) Talk about a wine-tasting room! This room was decorated in a style that truly enhanced the wine tasting experience.

 Trompe L'oeil Winery in Gilford New Hampshire

The art work was done by local artist, Cathy Friel....Distinctive Illusionary Finishes and Murals, in a style called, Trompe L"Oeil (pronounced, Tromp Loy). Trompe L"Oeil is French for 'deceive the eye'. It is an art technique which creates the optical illusion that the objects depicted are actually three dimensional when they are not. I can not tell you how realistic those 'exposed' brick walls looked.

Stone Gate Winery in Gilford, New Hampshire

And check out what she did to the plywood flooring...

Trompe L'Oeil Flooring

Sure enough, when we walked out of there, we walked out with another bottle of white wine. This time, it was the Seyval, also a dry white. So, maybe this experience changed our palates a little. There's nothing wrong with a little change now and then, right?

And my husband agrees with me when I say that as a result of Peter's fine tutelage, we are much more confident that the day will come when we can proudly share our stories of how to make a fine wine!

Be Sure to Check Out These Special Links of Interest:

Jewell Towne Vineyards, South Hampton, NH

Candia Vineyards in Candia, NH

Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH

Flaghill Winery in Lee, NH

Black Bear (or Black Dog?) Vineyard in Salisbury, NH

Walpole Mountain View Winery, Walpole, NH

LaBelle Winery LLC, Amherst, NH

New Hampshire Winery Association

For you Cider Lovers: Silver Mountain Farms, Lempster, NH and Farnum Hill Ciders, Lebanon, NH

New Hampshire Wine and Cheese Tour Brochure

Wicked Wine and Brew Fest: Saturday, September 11, 2010 at Mel's Funway Park in Litchfield NH.

Wicked Wine & Brew Fest Logo

Trompe L'Oeil Crumbling Wall Video by Chris Westall


How to Make Cheap Wine (Can't vouch for this one personally, but worth a try to see if winemaking is for you or not.)

Comments (10)

Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Very nice presentation, and very interesting, too.    My area is relatively recent in vineyards/successful wines produced, too.    Like your enthusiasm for your area!

Aug 09, 2010 12:22 PM
Ross Therrien
Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Broker Associate

There's a lot of wineries and Vodak distilleries in NH.  Very cool.  Nice pictures.  Video on the mural was incredible.  He made it look so easy, thought it was a DIY video.  I was quickly wronged:)

Aug 09, 2010 12:31 PM
Elaine Seibel
Last Spring, Richard and I stopped in to Haunted Whisper Vineyard, but they weren't ready for handicapped access yet. I hope that changes, because we would like to go back when I get out of the hospital. Many years ago, I made lots of different kinds of wine.....I loved it. In NH I made elderberry and dandelion (very labor intensive). Hope to see you soon. Elaine
Aug 09, 2010 12:49 PM
Bill Somerset
Re/Max Realty Group - Dover, NH
ABR, e-PRO - Realtor - NH Real Estate Agent

If you ever get the chance, stop into Flag Hill winery in Lee.  Another great NH stop!

Aug 10, 2010 06:41 AM
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Thanks for all of your comments.

Li, Nice to hear from the Canadian section. Hildebrandt Vineyard in St Catherine is where my husband and I began our interest in making wine :-)

Ross and Bill, Flag Hill Winery is where my husband and I picked up our vine clippings. If you go in the Spring, right after they've pruned the vines, you can bring home clippings for free. (Or at least we were able to two Springs ago). They make the General Stark Vodka there, too.

And Elaine, you'll be happy to know that Haunting Whisper has a ramp up to the Winery now. By the way, I would love to learn how to make Elderberry and Dandelion wine. Would you care to share your recipe?

Aug 10, 2010 07:05 AM
Erika Sanderson

Nice job Momma. It made me very interested in going and checking out some vinyards. I will also do my best to help you continue with the vinyard at home.

Aug 10, 2010 08:14 AM
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Thank you Honey. I think you and Cory, the daughter of Peter and Jane Ellis (Stone Gate Vineyard), should talk about the possible drawbacks of being a Winemaker's daughter before volunteering to help your dear Mom and Dad :-)

Aug 10, 2010 08:27 AM
Cathy (Friel) Magnant

As the artist who created the plaster and stone effects at Stone Gate Vineyards, I would just like to say thank you so much for your kind words.  Peter and Jane Ellis are wonderful people and have such a passion for their craft...

My new contact information is listed as :

Distinctive Artistic Finishes

Cathy Magnant


Again - thank you , thank you , thank you!!!!


Nov 24, 2010 10:35 AM
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hi Cathy,

I won't go into why it took so long to respond to your comment, but you are very welcome. Please feel free to post some photos here of other work you have done or where you may be found this summer. Ok?


Jul 06, 2011 12:37 AM
Frances Sanderson

Wow. I had forgotten all about my blog here on ActiveRain. I just want to update this one as many things have happened since I wrote this. We sold our home with the 45 grapevine plants, but fortunately, the new owners are tryingto keep them going. I am hoping that this summer, we will be able to taste the fruits of our labor.

Also, I would like t add a vineyard to your must-visit list: Gilmanton Winery and Vineyard (Home of Peyton Place) in Gilmanton. Our daughter got married there last May (2012) and we would love to send you to these folks. It is a full service restaurant and the perfect venue for a wedding. There is an Alpaca Farm to view on the property, as well. Something for everyone. Check them out at

(The photo of the wedding couple on their site is of our youngest daughter. If you visit them, please tell Marshall and Sunny we sent you :-) Fran

Mar 04, 2013 07:39 AM