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Hermit Woods Named Top Winery Nationwide
 
Published Tuesday, January 3, 2017

“What happens when you combine local ingredients - like berries, flowers and honey - with traditional wine making techniques like fermentation until dry, then give them extended barrel aging? If you are the three partners in this venture, you have a hit on your hands…” writes the Editor of Food & Wine Magazine.
 
Food & Wine has included Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith on its list of Best 500 Wineries in America in its 2017 Wine Guide. Hermit Woods is the only winery in NH, one of only two in New England, and one of only 20 wineries in all of the Northeast - including New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey - to be included on this list.

Hermit Woods is on the list alongside some of the country's most prestigious wineries, including Napa Valley’s Caymus Vineyards, who helped put California on the map in the early 70’s;  Harlan Estates; Opus One; Robert Mondavi; and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, famous for winning the “Judgement of Paris Tasting” in 1976 with their Cabernet Sauvignon. Also on the list are New York’s well-known Bedell Cellars, Dr. Konstantin Frank Cellars, and Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, arguably one of the Northeast’s most recognized brands.

But what is most notable about Hermit Woods Winery’s inclusion on the list is the fact that it may be the only winery on the list not producing wine from grapes. Hermit Woods has developed its reputation for crafting classically styled, often barrel aged wines from the fruit that is native to New England.

Hermit Woods first came to the attention of Food & Wine when its Wine Editor, Ray Isle, had a chance to sample the Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve, a wild blueberry wine crafted in the style of a Burgundy. Shortly thereafter, Ray asked Hermit Woods if it would mind if he shared its Petite Blue with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today show.

Winery co-owners Bob Manley, Chuck Lawrence, and Ken Hardcastle.Courtesy photo.

 
Since Hermit Woods was founded six years ago, many of its wines have won medals at some of the East’s most notable wine competitions, most recently taking home several medals, including a tie for “Best Mead”, at “Drink Outside the Grape,” a Virginia-based wine competition for fruit wine, cider and mead.

Founded in 2011, Hermit Woods Winery is a small boutique winery producing fruit wine, meads, and ciders. Hermit Woods sees over 8,000 visitors at its tasting room every year, and its wines are available throughout New Hampshire and direct to consumer in 37 states. It gained attention in NH recently when it raised wine prices in order to pay staff a living wage of $15, up from the $12 an hour some staff then made. Read Business NH Magazine's story about it here.

Hermit Woods is located at 72 Main Street in Meredith NH, just a stone's throw away from New Hampshire's famous Lake Winnipesaukee. Wine tastings are offered during all open hours, while tours are available on weekends or by appointment. Visit them at www.hermitwoods.com to learn more.

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