Jewell Towne Vineyards Review
Address: 183 Whitehall Rd. South Hampton,New Hampshire 03827.
Phone Number: 603-394-0600
Tasting Hours: Wed-Fri 11:00-4:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-5:00
Region: New Hampshire
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 6/18/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
To be the oldest winery in one of the original thirteen colonies is an impressive thing to be able to tout. It’s only after you’ve been in the area a while that it may don on you that New Hampshire’s wine industry is pretty young. Planted in 1982 and located in South Hampton, Jewell Towne Vineyards opened their doors in 1994 and is a charming stop from start to finish.
The exterior of the Jewell Towne Tasting room is reminiscent of an old school house while the inside is adorned with pine from floor to ceiling creating a rustic and inviting feel. The tasting bar is situated to the left of the entrance and to the right is an area filled with typical wine gift shop items. A few tables are scattered towards the back of the tasting room giving space to enjoy a bottle of wine or a wedge of cheese or two.
The wine list at Jewell Towne is extensive. The reds include classic favorites such as Old Vine Zinfandel, mixed in with local loves such as Foch and Leon Millot. The whites as well are diverse and intriguing, with a classic Chardonnay competing with the Seyval among our favorites. And when something goes, well, let’s say a bit awry, Jewell Towne makes the most of it. An accidental secondary fermentation on the Marechal Foch lead to “Sparkling Marechal Foch,” a wine we enjoyed immensely (though we appreciated the honest opinion of the staff, namely that it would probably explode under pressure in an airplane cargo hold). Regrettably, we took none home.
We found the staff at Jewel Towne to be both pleasant and knowledgeable. The young lady behind the tasting room bar was eager to please, and we were the only ones there at the time. When the owner and winemaker, Peter Oldak, walked in, she introduced us to him. Peter was pleased to talk about his craft, and appeared to be particularly proud of the wines he was making from hybrids and grapes that grow locally, such as the Petite Amie. Peter is currently the president of the state’s winery association, and he made good recommendations about other New Hampshire wineries we ought to visit on our trip.
We felt fortunate to have come across Jewell Towne, and fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and talk with Peter. If you find yourself driving the winding, hilly roads that lead to and from South Hampton, we hope you’ll have time to stop by Jewell Towne for a tasting. It’s definitely worth the stop.