Published September 8th, 2011

With its snowy winters, coastal Maine may not jump to mind as a destination for top-notch wines. But within an hour’s drive of French’s Point, two wineries are crafting award-winning varietals — including a few made from the iconic Maine blueberry.

Just a half-hour drive south of us, Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville specializes in handcrafted batches of reds, whites and specialty Maine wines. The winery sources their blueberries locally, and while they operate a small vineyard on their 68-acre farm, most of their grapes come from premier vineyards across the country. Cellardoor offers complimentary wine tastings daily, as well as hosts food and wine pairings with artisanal food, chocolate and cheese makers every Sunday. At their new commercial kitchen, the winery also holds cooking classes with local star chefs.

If you’re in town this month, don’t miss Vinfest 2011, Cellardoor’s annual wine festival, featuring grape-stomping, a home wine-making competition, live music and food. The two-day event kicks off on Friday, September 30.

To the north of French’s Point, Bartlett Estate Winery in Gouldsboro has been crafting wines from Maine fruit for three decades.  Owners Bob and Kathe Bartlett, inspired in their early days by the rich flavors and tannins of blueberries, today offer more than 20 varieties. From dry blueberry reds to sweet blackberry dessert wines and pear-apple whites, all of their wines are made from naturally grown regional fruits.

This spring, Bartlett’s new pear eau-de-vie and apple brandy earned honors at a world spirits competition. Arrange to sample both, as well as the winery’s other offerings, at a private tasting. It’s a perfect way to top off a full day exploring the Schoodic Peninsula, the quieter, less crowded portion of Acadia National Park.