With a unique retail space located the Basketville Store in Putney, the Putney Mountain Winery is a fantastic, artisinal winery that specializes in hand-crafted, fruit wines created from fruit locally grown on Vermont family farms.
The Putney Mountain Winery produces some 1,500 cases or roughly 18,000 bottles each year, including over a dozen varieties of sparkling and still wines that ensure pristine quality and excellence in every bottle produced.
Founded by Iowa-native Charles Dodge and his wife Kate in 1998, Charles is also a renowned composer and pioneer in classical electronic computer music, receiving his masters and doctorate degrees at Columbia University and teaching at several colleges and universities including Columbia, Brooklyn College and Dartmouth College.
Dodge also co-authored the renowned book Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance.
Dodge's impressive music resume continues, however, he recently retired from music to concentrate on the wine-creating endeavors, in which case the Putney Mountain Winery has experienced growth in every year of its' over 10 year existence.
"I moved east in the 60's and started coming to Vermont in the 70's," Dodge said in a recent interview. "My father's family is originally from Vermont, and we moved to Putney in 1989."
The Dodge's original winery was located in the basement of their Holland Hill Road home in Putney, then after 10 years of "experimenting and learning," opened the retail space at Basketville in 1999.
Finally in 2008 the winery was also moved to Basketville, a process that also took about six months to complete.
Charles and Kate create their own wine recipes, and learned their craft mostly through a lot of experimenting. "Just like with composing, it really took about 10 years to learn and understand the craft" Charles added.
A Putney Mountain Winery tasting experience is indeed "fruitful," which can include a Cranberry Wine, Simply Rubarb, Ruhbarb Blush, a very tart/sweet Apple-Maple, a dark Vermont Cassis and a dry, sparkling apple wine, made with locally grown MacIntosh apples.
"I believe one of the aspects that makes our winery unique is that we exclusively use Vermont food products in our wine," Dodge stated.
"Vermont fruit has a great reputation and we strive to use the best fruit from local farms. Our award-winning Cassis is made from unsprayed, black currants grown right in Springfield. It is the most popular with our customers."
The Ruhbarb Blush made with strawberries and a hint of raspberry, was named the 2008 North Eastern gold metal winner, a very prestigious New England winery award.
Their 2006 Rhubarb Blush also won a gold medal and received the 2008 award for best wine in the state of Vermont at the "Eastern States Exposition" in Holyoke, MA., which is New England's largest agricultural fair.
Three of Putney's wines are for sale year round, including the aforementioned Apple-Maple, a still wine of heirloom apples bottled with a touch of maple syrup, the Vermont Cassis, a sweet and tart dessert wine from local, black currants and a Heirloom Cuvee, a sparkling apple wine from a blend of heirloom apple varities.
Other fine Putney Mountain seasonal wines include two sparkling apple wines made from single apple varieties - a Northern Spy and a Green Mountain Mac.
"We are currently the only Vermont-based winery to produce sparkling fruit wines."
Organic single fruit wines include Simply Cranberry, Simply Pear and the aforementioned Simply Cranberry.
Two blushes also include Blueberry Blush and the aforementioned, award-winning Rhubarb Blush.
Putney Mountain is also now expanding to offer fortified wines in which distilled alchohol is added to the wine, including a new apple port wine bottled in 2005, as well as a blueberry port. Previously Putney Mountain had only offered furmented wines.
The retail space and winery is located on the ground floor of the unique Basketville store on Route 5 in Putney, with another tasting room and retail outlet located inside the Cabot Store in Quechee Gorge..
The Putney Mountain Winery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and visitors are always welcome to observe the winery operations through the viewing windows or with a tour.
For more information or to inquire about a tour, call 387-5925.