WATERTOWN — Partners and longtime friends Vinny and Debra Giannetto, and Jack and Michele McHugh repurposed a farm at 28 Plungis Road in Watertown six years ago — and that was just the beginning. The working farm added four acres of grapevines to create the winery, named Hawk Ridge for the many red-tailed hawks that are visible on the highest branches of nearby trees and soaring above the meadows. The eight varietals of grapevines are now used in 11 of the 20-plus different wines made at Hawk Ridge Winery.
Opening in summer of 2017, the winery on 58 acres quickly welcomed patrons who may enjoy sitting at a table on the large deck, in an Adirondack chair on the expansive lawn or under a 120 by 45-foot sailcloth tent and listen to live music every Saturday and Sunday mid-April through November. Many people bring their own chairs and blankets. A charming gazebo on the lawn can be rented for $50 a day, and is already booked to October.
In addition to red and white wine choices, Hawk Ridge also offers specialty choices such as a sparkling rosé bublé reminiscent of pink Champagne, a summertime Sangria, sparkling canned wine and frozen wine slushies: Pineapple Mango & Firecracker is the slushie for the month of July. In a new bold move, on July 18, they began offering three different beer choices from the Woodbury Brewing Company.
Assistant Manager Jeff McHugh talked about even more exciting news for the popular winery. “Project plans include expansion that will double the size of our current 5,500-square-foot wine making and tasting room barn building. The addition will adjoin the current building.” He said the winery tasting room reopened on May 20, per the Gov. Ned Lamont’s phase 2, and anyone coming into the tasting room must wear a mask and socially distance. “We are all grateful that so many people supported us since the beginning, and the crowds continue to come here.”
In addition to the wines, and now beer, Hawk Ridge offers a large menu of food and appetizers with restaurant-worthy items such as a Jumbo Shrimp Stack with tomato, fresh mozzarella, chipotle sauce and crostini, truffle crispy waffle fries topped with shaved parmesan cheese and served with garlic aioli, and Smokin’ Turkey Lurkey, one of the huge sandwiches that features smoked turkey, apple slices, cheddar cheese, bacon, romaine and a delectable dijonaise spread. An impressive cheese plate from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield is also available.
In the afternoon, musician Chris Marolda recently presented an eclectic mix of rock, folk, funk and blues in the white tent, which accommodates 140 people. Upcoming live music happenings at Hawk Ridge include Bill Benson on Sunday, July 26 from 2-5 p.m., Keith Cooper & John Henry Langley on Saturday, August 1 from 3-6 p.m., and Brother Other on Sunday, August 2 from 2-5 p.m.
The winery is on the right side of a shared driveway on 28 Plungis Road (just off Rte. #63) in Watertown. They are currently open for outdoor seating in the tent, porch and on the lawn Wednesday through Saturday, 12-8 p.m., and Sunday through Tuesday, 12-6 p.m. For more information call 860-274-7440, eamil firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hawkridgewinery.com.