New Jersey may not be the biggest wine growing state in the country, nor the biggest state at all. (It's the fifth smallest.) However, the Garden State Wine Growers Association is working hard to raise the profile and awareness of New Jersey's home grown, bottled reds and whites via public events. November brings the annual New Jersey Wine Trail Weekend. Here, wineries statewide, from Sussex to Cape May, will kick off the holidays with tastings, food pairings, entertainment, discounts, giveaways, & more!
Terhune Orchards & Vineyard in Lawrence will have baked bites and orchard produce, and Milford’s Villa Milagro Vineyards will pair their wine tastings with Mexican-styled Tapas. Tomasello Winery in Hammonton will feature a burger bar in their brand new glass-walled tasting room. Also in Hammonton, Plagido’s Winery will offer light fare to go along with library wine tastings and bottle discounts.
Visitors will enjoy live musical performances at: Old York Cellars in Ringoes, Sharrott Winery in Hammonton, and Four JG’s Vineyards in Colts Neck, and comedy acts with New York City talent at "Comedy Uncorked" at Willow Creek Winery in Cape May. For the second year, participating wineries will give away holiday grapevine wreaths and decorative wreath ornaments. Wine trail travelers will receive a wreath and ornament at their first winery stop of the weekend, and then additional ornaments from each participating winery visited thereafter. “It’s a small gesture of appreciation to our guests who patronize the wineries throughout the year,” said association director John Cifelli, who hopes the new friends and longtime supporters met throughout the year will celebrate the beginning of the holidays with their favorite New Jersey wineries.”
With that support, the local wine industry has come into its own in recent years. New Jersey now boasts over 50 wineries, with more than half of them coming online in the last ten years. Locally grown and produced wines are now receiving accolades, earning medals in national and international wine competitions. In fact, grape growing represents the fastest growing segment of New Jersey agriculture, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Over a quarter of a million visitors tried New Jersey wines in tasting rooms or wine festivals in 2015, and the increasing interest in the state wine industry is poised to continue. In a state that is just a little more than 8,700 square miles in size, the nearest New Jersey winery is never more than 45 minutes away. Tasting room hours vary by location, but each winery is open during the specific trail hours, 12 noon to 5 pm. Exact details of winery events, a listing of wreath/ornament giveaway locations, a map of NJ wine country and full calendar of events can be fouond at www.newjerseywines.com.
The GSWGA is a coalition of nearly 50 wineries and vineyards across New Jersey, dedicated to raising the quality and awareness of the New Jersey wine industry.