by: Jenna Banning
I’ve been pretty lucky. As edible South Shore’s intern, I’ve gotten to meet the great couple running Plymouth Bay Winery and do a full tasting of their wines and jams. I’ve toured Mayflower Brewing Company and sipped from a bottle straight off the line (at 9:30am, no less). And as my time with edible South Shore now draws to a close, I wanted to make sure I got the full alcoholic experience of my hometown.
I thus found myself at the one place most locals avoid during the summer: the waterfront. Don’t get me wrong – I love Plymouth harbor, and think there are some great businesses and attractions down there. But at the height of tourist season, driving along Water Street is more an exercise in patience than pleasure. That said, my third (and final) stop in exploring Plymouth’s local alcohol-producers is certainly well situated to take advantage of the tourist traffic. Plymouth Winery is in the heart of Village Landing (170 Water Street), a cluster of small businesses, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s only a block away from the water, but on this blisteringly hot afternoon, the breeze was dead, and I found myself eagerly anticipating some cooler air as I stepped inside Plymouth Winery’s storefront.
Immediately, I was greeted by Bacchus, Plymouth Winery’s canine mascot and their best salesman. After being charmed into giving him a belly rub, I made my way to the counter, where Linda Shumway was waiting. Linda has been the owner and winemaker of Plymouth Winery for the past eight years. Winemaking runs in her blood – her father made wines back in Italy before coming to the United States – and perhaps it’s because of this genetic predisposition that her wines have done so well in regional competitions. One of the first things seen by visitors to the store (besides a big black dog, of course) is a line of Plymouth Winery’s bottles, each decorated with their own medals from the Eastern States Wine Competition (the Big E), the Tasters’ Guild, or other contests. Plymouth Winery’s Strawberry Wine, their newest varietal, has not yet been ranked, but Linda expressed little interest in going back to the competition circuit. I guess you’ll have to judge it for yourself!
Plymouth Winery wines are available at liquor stores across the state, and that’s where most of the winery’s sales come from. Plymouth Winery focuses on fruit wines, and the top sellers are their cranberry wines – Cranberry and Cranberry Blush – made with cranberries from Decas Bogs, just a few miles down the road in Carver. Tastings are available at the store (mostly free, although some wines you have to pay a premium price for), and Linda is willing to ship to some states (although she does warn that shipping can be expensive).
Named a few years back by the Boston Globe as one of the best wineries in the area, Plymouth Winery has certainly played a big role in helping the South Shore be recognized as having a vibrant and diverse food and drink scene. With a new distillery being installed down the road (check out edible South Shore’s article in the upcoming Fall 2013 magazine!), and more and more local producers gaining popularity and recognition, Plymouth has some pretty cool things going on, and I’ve been very grateful to have had the chance to learn about them. Thanks so much to all of these great businesses, our wonderful edible South Shore bloggers, and most of all, to Laurie and Michael, who have kept edible South Shore going strong,s and welcomed this inquisitive and hungry tall girl as their intern for the summer! I’ve learned a lot from all of you, and look forward to learning even more exciting food news the next time I’m in Plymouth!
Jenna Banning is interning with edible South Shore for the spring and summer of 2013, before she heads up to the University of Vermont to earn her master’s degree. When not working at Bayside Runner or managing the edible South Shore blog, you can find Jenna chronicling her travels in sustainable food systems across the United States at EATY0URVEGGIES.