Cape Cod Winery bottles in the snow

Calm and cozy are two words that describe the off-season atmosphere at Falmouth’s beloved Cape Cod Winery. While the family-run business slows down quite a bit over the winter compared to the summer months, Cape Cod Winery remains open and is a perfect weekend spot for weather-permitting pop-up openings.

“The winter is a little bit more serene, kind of like how the Cape is generally,” says Cape Cod Winery owner Erika Orlandella. “It’s cozy, it’s got a different vibe, and it’s more of an intimate atmosphere.”

Winter Operations

Glass of wine by the fire, cape cod winery

The winery is owned and operated by Orlandella and her husband Pete. It’s primarily an outdoor venue offering two covered areas and an array of fire pits. Orlandella says she has a special appreciation for the winter. It allows her to slow down and appreciate everything her winery has to offer.

“In the winter it’s like you’re taking a deep breath, but still enjoying it, if that makes sense. You’re just able to enjoy it a little bit more because you are kind of in the moment where in the summer you’re so busy running around that you’re kind of missing it.”

Pete and Erika Orlandella, cape cod winery

During the winter, Cape Cod Winery operates with a core staff of five to six people, including Orlandella and her husband. To give you a sense of how much operations scale up for the peak season because of demand, they employ some 40 to 50 people at the winery in the summer months. Orlandella says there’s a lot of internal planning and administration work that goes on during the winter to ensure that everything and everyone is prepared for the summer.

Summer Plans

Trio of wine glasses outside near fire, cape cod winery

Speaking of planning, there are some new initiatives on the horizon for the coming season. These include a lot more events, like wine and cheese pairings and comedy shows. This summer, the winery will present ticketed events for the first time. It will continue to offer yummy cuisine from its food truck, aptly named the Mermaid Cafe Food Truck.

As you can imagine, Cape Cod Winery has become a hot-spot destination in the summer. It is regularly packed with tourists and locals alike, many of whom you can often find down at the vineyard’s vines.

Some Winery History

Wine glasses and sample cups by fire, cape cod winery

What you likely do not know is that the Orlandellas transplanted those vines after purchasing the vineyard in 2013. Because they still have a few years until they can harvest their own vines, the vineyard sources its grapes from California and New York. From those grapes, Cape Cod Winery offers up twelve different varieties of wine, including sparkling wines, white, red, rose, and sweet fruit wines.

In terms of protecting and caring for the vines through the winter months, Orlandella explains maintenance is relatively low as the vines are dormant every winter.

“We put hay around the root stalks and that just kind of helps prevent the roots from freezing throughout the winter,” says Orlandella. “Usually, we wait until late spring and then we will start to prune them. They are very low maintenance during the winter months because they are kind of just asleep.”

Expert Recommendations

People enjoying winery

As a wine lover myself, I had to ask for some expert recommendations directly from the source. Orlandella says she is currently enjoying the Pinot Noir. She tends to veer towards the dry Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, or the sparkling Blanc de Blanc in the warmer months.

Whether you are a regular at Cape Cod Winery or plan to visit for the first time, make sure to tag us with your pictures and feedback: @snfenlon @capecodwinery.

Samantha Fenlon
Samantha is a Massachusetts native with a love for Cape Cod. Growing up, she spent summers in Hyannisport and now feels incredibly fortunate to take her two children and husband back as often as she can. Samantha, her husband Matt and their two girls - Charlotte age 5 and Addison age 2 - love to go to the beach and are always up for exploring new spots throughout the Cape. Samantha spent nearly a decade working in TV news as a general assignment reporter in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She is a passionate storyteller with a background in on-camera reporting, content generation, video editing and social media. For the past five years Samantha has been a freelance media consultant while raising her two children. Samantha graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology.


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