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A Day in the Vineyard

If you turn down a side road a few miles from my house, you’ll find a hillside with grape vines growing in neat rows. At the top of the hill is a rustic farmhouse that has been there for a hundred years (almost new by Massachusetts standards), and behind that is a huge barn-like building, picnic grounds, an orchard, and a picture postcard view that includes a white New England church steeple. It’s called Nashoba Valley Winery, and the location was a big inspiration for Ray and Monica’s vineyard in Accidental Honeymoon.

When you’re writing about vineyards, it is, if course, necessary to do a lot of research to provide an authentic reading experience. By research, I mean drinking wine. And touring wineries. And buying bottles of wine to take home. But one of the most interesting experiences I had was participating in a harvest day and gourmet lunch at Nashoba Valley winery.

I showed up in the morning and was immediately offered coffee and homemade cider donuts, making it one of the best days ever. I was directed to find a pair of clippers, and to grab some bandages, presumably because they didn’t expect me to be good at handling those clippers.

I won’t lie. Snipping grapes off the vine is hard, and sticky. I have never seen so many grapes, and after a quick chat with the owner, it was clear that no matter how hard I thought I was working, I would never come close to hitting the pace of a professional harvester. The good news was I didn’t end up needing any bandages. What a relief!

After a couple hours among the grapes, all of us workers were invited back to the winery’s gorgeous garden for a socially distanced lunch. Given that the vineyard is known for their gourmet restaurant, it was no surprise the food was absolutely fantastic. Also, they were super generous when pouring the wine. Plus, there was dessert. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Sadly, the tasting room at Nashoba Valley Winery is currently closed because of pandemic restrictions, but when life gets back to normal, you can bet I will be back. If you find yourself in central MA, I highly recommend stopping in.

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