BY KENDRA MURRAY
When one thinks of New Bedford, often times there will be associations of the whaling history, or its current status as the top fishing port in America. Not often do we think of the Whaling City as a home to great, local wines. It is!
After spending the day exploring an oyster farm for our December Farm Spotlight, Karen and I found ourselves in Downtown New Bedford at Travessia, an urban winery located on Purchase Street. Urban winery? Yes, wine is made in New Bedford and it is delicious.
Travessia has an upscale feel to it, with dark burgundy walls and beautiful dark shelves full of local wines. Alongside the bottles, there is also “The Wall” filled with local art, as well as t-shirts with NB themed designs for sale. Marco Montez offered a warm welcome and gave us a tasting of several great wines. My personal favorite was a dry Riesling. You read that right; Rieslings don’t always have to be sweet (though that’s an option at Travessia, as well). The full offerings right now are Chardonnay, a dry Riesling, Riesling, Vidal Blanc, and the Jester (a dry red).
Marco told us that 90% of the grapes are grown locally, sourced from Westport Rivers, Running Brook, and Coastal Vineyards, among others. With the harsh weather this past winter, many local growers lost a significant number of vines and Marco did have to expand the area where he sourced from, including grapes from Rhode Island as well as the Finger Lakes in Central New York. The 10% of grapes not sourced from New England are red grapes, grown in California. Marco said in the 7 years that he has been at Travessia, he’s only made 2 varieties of reds with local grapes. Many local growers focus on white grapes, which grow best in this cooler, coastal climate.
A new “Fresh” variety of wine was released this past weekend. Fresh is an unfiltered, cloudy wine, with no sulfites added. More of the true character of the wine comes through. Since sulfites are added to preserve wine, this will be only available for a short time. It is truly fresh. Guests will be able come in and sample this new wine before purchasing a refillable growler full. As new Fresh offerings are available, folks can come in with their growlers and get them refilled.
Travessia also offers a wine club. It’s free to join; you just commit to buying 12 bottles (3 bottles, 4 times) a year. Unlike traditional wine clubs, you choose the wines that you want to buy; you won’t get stuck with bottles that you don’t like. You’ll also receive a 10% discount on all Travessia wines and merchandise and get a free tasting for you and a guest each time you visit the winery. Not in the New Bedford area? Marco will ship your order free anywhere in Massachusetts.
When tasting of these great local wines, you can also pair with some delicious local cheeses. Stop in anytime Thursday – Saturday 12pm-6pm or Sunday 12-5. Travessia wines make a great last minute holiday gift, whether for a friend, family member, or just a gift for yourself. Learn more at www.travessiawinery.com