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Boyden Valley Winery's Offerings Warm the Senses Year-Round

By Pamela Sosnowski

With its multitude of ski resorts, Vermont is usually not the first state to come to mind when one thinks of wineries. But for 20 years now, Boyden Valley Winery of Cambridge has been proving that it is indeed possible to produce great tasting wine in a region known for its snowy winters. The farm itself where the winery is located is over a century old, but thanks to the innovative couple that owns it, David and Linda Boyden, it has been brought into the 21st century world of modern winemaking.

"David and Linda were pioneers in the wine industry using newly cultivated winter-hardy hybrid grapes from Minnesota and planting their first vines in 1996," Bridget Jones, the winery's general manager and event coordinator, said. "David, a Vermont native, and Linda, from Montreal, are well traveled and have always had an interest in wine. The newly hybridized grape varieties coming out of Cornell and the University of Minnesota encouraged their interest in grape cultivation and wine making, and their friends in Canada and Europe that own wineries helped refine David's winemaking and vinicultural knowledge."

The award-winning wines Boyden Valley produces are wowing wine enthusiasts with a wide variety of dry and semi-dry reds, crisp whites, and delicate rosés. Fruit based wines derive their seim-sweet flavors from cranberries and blueberries, and ciders and cream liquors round out the current offerings.

Boyden Valley even produces the traditional Swedish mulled wine known as glögg, teaming with fragrant spices and perfect for the holiday season and cooler months. Three hundred sugar maple trees on the property ensure that organic maple syrup is also a staple at the winery. It's still made the old-fashioned way, boiled over a wood-fired evaporator in a sugarhouse directly behind the winery.

Frederick and Phila Boyden purchased the farm in 1914, moving in with their nine children and 28 dairy cows. Today, in addition to grapes, the property raises beef cattle and grows soybeans, corn, and hay. The wine grapes are still harvested in mid-September the old fashioned way, by hand, and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks which hail from the farm's dairy production days. From there select wines are aged in oak barrels to give them their European quality.

Boyden Valley was one of Vermont's first licensed wineries, and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a free, weekend-long celebration filled with wine and cheese samples, live music, and food trucks. Throughout the year the winery hosts lively events such as its weekly cocktail series, sangria Saturdays, a February wine and chocolate weekend, holiday open house, and more. Special wine and food events are also organized for Mother's Day and other holidays throughout the year.

Being situated near Mt. Mansfield State Forest means the historic farm is surrounded by mountains and the state's natural beauty, making Boyden Valley a popular wedding destination. Up to 60 guests may be accommodated in the winery while the property's barn can seat over 200 guests.

"Brides have a unique opportunity to host their wedding onsite, offer wines that are cultivated and crafted right on the farm through their bar service, and delight their guests with wedding favors of Boyden maple syrup or Vermont ice wine minis made in traditional fashion directly from the Boyden forest and vineyards," Jones said. "Hosting a small event or wedding with us will delight guests and provide everlasting fond memories."

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