Hillis' Sugarbush Farm & Vineyard


Hillis' Sugarbush Farm & Vineyard, LLC is a family business owned by Jim & Judy Hillis. We are producers of maple syrup and maple confections, and also have 2 vineyards, a winery, and a winery tasting room.

Location Description

The main farm is located near Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont on Sugarbush Farm Road. A smaller part of the farm (Butler Island Vineyard) is on Butler Island located in the middle of northern Lake Champlain.


  • "Where wine and maple come together"

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
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  • Dog Friendly:
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  • Wine Tasting:
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Jim's winemaking career started at the tender age of 5, when he gathered baskets of dandelions for his dad who made dandelion wine. In college, he learned to distill spirits. A farmer at heart, he loves nature, animals, and the land, and proudly owns 2 agricultural parcels of land in Vermont. Jim began making maple syrup at his farm in Colchester in 1988, and raised a large flock of sheep for meat, in addition to beef cattle, pigs, and various poultry. In 2007 Jim and his wife started planting their vineyard in Colchester with cold hardy grape varietals. The Butler Island Vineyard was planted in 2008, with both vineyards undergoing expansion in quantity and varietals of grapes each year. Jim is an avid hunter, particularly enjoying duck and deer season in the fall. When Jim is not working on the farm, he is employed full time at Perrigo in the chemistry laboratory.


Hillis' Sugarbush Farm & Vineyard was established in 1987. The farm has been producing lamb, wool, beef, pork, poultry and pure Vermont maple syrup and maple confections since 1987 as naturally as possible. The farm operations were expanded in 2000 to include a new, timber frame sugarhouse, and again in 2005 with the addition of the Butler Island parcel to its present size of a total of 77 acres between the two parcels. In 2007 the decision was made to scale back the livestock operation and add agricultural crops. The two vineyards were added to the farm operation in 2007. The winery received licensing in early 2009, and released it's first wines for sale in early 2010.

Jim's primary role on the farm is that of the winemaker. His background and professional degree in dairy and food science as well as his extensive chemistry knowledge are well utilized in the winery. Judy's primary role on the farm is that of vineyard manager and office manager. Judy works daily in the vineyard to ensure the vines proper growth structure and vine health.

The Hillis children have been instrumental in farm operations through their entire lives. Daughter Julianne, who hold a degree from Vermont Technical College and the University of Vermont in Animal Science, was married in 2010 and brings to the family her wonderful husband, Chris. Julianne and Chris provide a great deal of assistance in the sugarhouse running the sugaring equipment. Julianne also helps out with care of livestock, while Chris provides much needed computer tech support for the farm and is our "Mr. Fix It", as he can fix practically anything! They are expecting a baby girl in June, 2013, who will be the beginning of the third generation on our farm. Oldest son Jordan, who is currently serving with the United States Marines, is the farm's website developer. Youngest son, Jake, who is in high school, is affectionately referred to as the "Cellar Rat", as he is the muscle force on the farm to move heavy boxes of bottles, fence posts, trellis, and firewood. Jake is also our in-house tech support and helps to keep our computer systems up and running smoothly.

The Team


Judy's favorite thing to do is to play in dirt! During the growing season, you are most likely to find her in the vineyards or the vegetable and perennial gardens. You know that Judy has had a great day outside if she is covered in richly composted soil from head to toe! During the winter, Judy helps out in the winery with bottling, and come late winter/early spring, can be found in the sugarhouse making delicious maple syrup. When she's not working on the farm, she can be found at Union Memorial School in Colchester working full time during the school year as their speech-language pathologist, enjoying the company of some of the most adorable 5 to 8 year olds in the world! Judy's husband says of her, "During the school year she helps young minds grow, and during the summer she helps young vines grow!"

Jordan is the talented website developer of Hillis' Sugarbush Farm & Vineyard. A graduate of Colchester High School and Burlington Technical Center, he is now proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps, having recently attained the rank of Corporal. Jordan has not forgotten his farm roots while living away from Vermont, though. When he is home on leave he continues to help his family in their maple sugaring operation, wine bottling, and livestock feeding. Jordan also helps critique new wines developed on the farm. Jordan's family are immensely proud of him for serving his country and ensuring the safety of Americans all around the world

Jake is a self proclaimed computer geek. He loves computer programming, and can usually be found surrounded by several computer screens running various computer languages simultaneously. On occasion Jake helps out in the wine cellar, lugging cases of wine to and fro, or stacking firewood for the house and sugarhouse. Jake currently attends the Center for Technology in Essex, where he is in the Computer Animation and Web Design Program.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Grape varietals grown in the vineyards include cold-hardy northern varietals such as LaCrescent, Swenson White, and Marquette, as well as a few of the tender varietals such as Vidal Blanc, Marchel Foch, and Traminette. Each year more varietals are added to each vineyard. Due to it's close proximity to Lake Champlain, Sugarbush Vineyard, located in Colchester, has a slightly extended growing season. Butler Island Vineyard, which is surrounded entirely by water, has a unique micro climate and soil profile. Also farming this unique micro climate is made complicated because it is boat accessible only.

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Monday 5:00–8:00 pm Tuesday 5:00–8:00 pm Wednesday 5:00–8:00 pm Thursday 5:00–8:00 pm Friday 5:00–8:00 pm Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm


206 Sugarbush Farm Rd
Colchester, Vermont 05446
United States

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