Priam Vineyards was established in 1998. In 2002, it became a licensed farm winery and then opened its doors for retail sales in April 2003. The vineyard was named in honor of founder Gloria Priam’s grandfather, Andrew Priam, whose vineyard and land were taken from him during the Russian Revolution in Hungary in the early 1900s.
The name “Priam” has roots in Greek mythology, where Priam was the King of Troy, father of Paris and brother of Helen of Troy. Although the vineyard and winery have not existed for centuries, its relatively short history is told by a trove of fascinating stories about the development of the property, vineyard and business. Farm life is an ongoing adventure!
In September 2010, Priam became the first winery in New England to be completely solar powered.
In July 2022, Priam Vineyards was sold to Ryan Winiarski and Meredith Lanoue, taking on a new identity as a Winiarski Family Vineyard.
Priam Vineyards’ 40-acre farm has 12,000 grapevines in production, with a breathtaking 35-mile view of the New England countryside.
Our vineyard benefits from the unique microclimate of the New London County hill. Over the years we have grown a range of classic European varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat and Merlot, as well as American hybrids, including Cayuga and St. Croix.
Our rich gravelly soil mimics that of Graves, France. The climate is very similar to the Alsatian region of northern France and Germany. This combination, along with the sloping hillside and constant breeze, provide the perfect climate for these varietals. As environmentalists, we practice sustainable agriculture wherever possible, including propagating bluebirds rather than using insecticides to maintain a healthy vineyard. The 40 acre farm has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a natural bird and wildlife habitat.
A Sense of Place
“Terroir” comes from the French word “terre” or “land”, and is a term used to denote the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestow upon a particular natural product (such as grapes), which then contribute to the unique qualities of that crop. It can be loosely translated as “a sense of place” that is embodied in the product, due to conditions of the local environment in which it was grown.
The property has a rich geological history. The vineyard sits on an accretionary wedge, which was formed through the convergence of Africa and North America 25,000 years ago. It consists of marine sediments scraped off from the down-going slab of oceanic crust, which at the time was the Iapetus Ocean and is now the Atlantic Ocean. The Iapetus Ocean existed in the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic eras of the geologic timescale (between 600 and 400 million years ago). It disappeared when Africa shifted into North America, pushing the microcontinent Avalonia (which is at present scattered over the east of New England) into the coastline. Africa then regressed, leaving some of the African continent, as well as all of Avalonia, attached to the East Coast, and the sea bottom of the Iapetus Ocean pushed to an area about 15 miles off the coast, as far as Hartford. Deposits of this rich ocean bottom underlie Priam Vineyards, making our wine rich in mineral background and acidity.
In 2012 the US Geological Society selected Priam Vineyards to study as part of their research into Connecticut Terroir. Their dig in our vineyard revealed an abundance of information about the characteristics of our wines, notedly their beautiful, crisp, mineral background, and extraordinary acidic balance. Take a look at their report, linked below, to learn more about it.