Inspired by Greek goddesses and emboldened to empower women during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Neviana Zhgaba and her husband, Ardian Llomi, founded Aquila’s Nest Vineyard in Newtown, CT. It was a time, says Zhgaba, when “women were most affected in the workforce.” Being a women in the wine industry she knows how challenging some industries can be, particularly those where most workers are men. “That’s why I wanted to elevate women and all their accomplishments, past and present,” says Zhgaba, who names their wines after ancient Mediterranean women and godesses. “We’ve partnered with over 70 women-owned businesses, artists, musicians—and built a local network that continues to thrive by supporting each other.”

For a fun group outing or couples night, reserve the outdoor fireplace ($50) or a fire pit ($20), and try a wine tasting. “Our guests love gathering with up to 11 guests around the big fireplace in a private outdoor area separate from other seating spaces,” says Zhgaba. The vineyard is known for drier wines than are commonly produced in Connecticut. “My personal favorite and that of many of our guests is Queen of Illyria Red Blend, a full-bodied dry red wine of Syrah and Malbec varieties,” she adds. Make a reservation four weeks in advance for weekends. No minimum purchase is required. Guests can bring their own food or try the offerings at the visiting food truck.