New Jersey’s 10 Best Vineyards
Ranking New Jersey’s vineyards would be nearly impossible, and here’s why.: A little known fact is that over the past 10 years New Jersey has been steadily climbing in prominence among wine-producing states in the US. New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain is uniquely positioned to provide the East Coast with award-winning wine from numerous, highly experienced vintners. That being said, here’s our list of the 10 Best Vineyards and Wineries of the Garden State.
It is a family-owned and operated estate vineyard, led by Penni and Bill Heritage. When the farm was purchased it was home to exclusively tree fruit, but in 1999 they switched to grapes and produced their first vintage in 2001. Guided tours are available on Saturdays while tastings can be had any day of the week, complete with information about the vineyards and wine-making philosophy. For those that prefer something on the sweeter side, a specialty list of sweet & semi-sweet wines is available upon request. The vineyard was awarded New Jersey’s 2011 and 2014 “Winery of the Year” by the New Jersey Wine Growers Association for their outstanding productions and commitment to excellence in the wine making industry. Website.
Auburn Road Vineyards
Not only do they offer you excellent home grown wines, but a place to unwind for the weekend. The Enoteca is Auburn Road’s European-style vineyard wine bar. Relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the housemade soups, artisan cheeses, fresh housemade tomato bruschetta, and some fresh crusty bread and olive oil. Aside from the full menu, there is an expansive courtyard, fireplace, and live music on weekends. Of course, the usual tours and tastings are available as well, with Auburn’s diverse selection of wine having received numerous awards at the World Wine Championships. Website.
One of the oldest wineries in the state, and commissioned directly after the end of Prohibition, Tomasello features Tasting Rooms throughout the state of New Jersey, each exhibiting a unique atmosphere of eclectic beauty and charm. For your shopping enjoyment, tasting rooms are also gift and home décor shops where you’ll whimsical hand-selected home furnishings, sweets and giftware. The Vintner’s Room is a unique offering as well, playing host to seasonal opera performances that are truly experiences for the senses with fine wines, elegantly prepared cuisine, and thoughtfully selected operatic arias. Website
Laurita’s enormous, barn-like building rises off a hill of manicured fields, with a two-story tasting room and gift shop, a dining space with a wall of windows and a porch overlooking the vineyards, and a cafe where you can buy light food. It offers lots of events — a girls’ night out with guidance readings, “awesome ’80s dance night”, ice sculpting, and live music. Laurita also serves double-duty as an inn, so you can have all the benefits of a bed-and-breakfast while enjoying the peace and quiet of a secluded winery. Fulfill your daytime wine tour desires without having to feel the need to hit the road at night. Just get a reservation first! Website
Hawk Haven Vineyard
The winery is named for the large number of hawks that migrate to the farm every year, but human beings are just as likely to find themselves making the trip to this picturesque winery in Rio Grande, New Jersey. The vineyard has an “open door” policy for families with children and pets, making this a versatile location for a day-trip. The Hawk Haven tasting room is open daily, year-round for wine tastings and sales. Visit the wine bar for an educational tasting of a selection of wines from current releases. Tastings are $7 per person and include a 1oz. pour of seven to nine wines. Website.
Alba offers a wine experience unlike any other as guests sample award-winning wines paired with artisan cheeses, flatbreads, and seasonal fruits. An Alba Vineyard Tasting Room Ambassador will share the story of each wine sampled, Alba’s history, and winemaking style. The tasting room also serves as a showroom with a complete selection of wines produced on the premises. Alba Vineyard is open daily for tastings – reservations are not required. On-site seminars and events are also available for those looking for an informative description of the wine making process. In addition, Alba wines have fared exceptionally well in local, national and international competitions. Alba has been winning awards in these competitions since 1984. Website.
Formerly an apple orchard, the vineyard was first planted in 2005, and opened to the public in 2008. Being environmentally friendly, the entire facility is powered by solar energy, and the vineyard is primarily fertilized with manures instead of chemical sprays. Sharrott produces wine from ten types of grapes, including fruit wines from blueberries, cranberries, and peaches. Sharrott prescribes to a more informal presentation of its wines, making it easier for the newcomer to relax and ask questions about the vintages. But make no mistake, Sharrott is one of the most serious wine producers in the state, having won awards at competitions all over the country. Website.
Old York Cellars
Framing scenic views of the Sourland Mountain range, Old York Cellars boasts 25 beautiful acres of preserved farmland and 13 acres of rolling vineyards. Old York offers a wide variety of eclectic events to entertain their wine-goers: food, music, yoga, picnic, wine tours, wine trails, and art galleries make up the tremendous amount of things to do at the vineyard. You can also experience wine from the very beginning with one of their public festivals. Old York Cellars combines wine and beauty – a highly attractive vineyard with an artistic flair, accompanied by fine wine. The winery is open every day from 12 PM to 5 PM. Website.
If you are a true wine lover, Turdo Vineyard is a required stop whilst in the Cape May area. Turdo is known for producing award winning, premium hand-crafted wines, including Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and its signature wine, Nero D’Avola. Especially if you inexplicably find yourself on the southern-most tip of the New Jersey coast, there’s an implicit obligation to stop in and experience these wines. Quality over quantity is the established motto, so there’s no risk in a wine tour of this multiple award-winning vineyard. Website.
Renault is probably the most diverse entry on this list, providing a taste of whatever you could desire and in any quantity. Besides an enlightened wine tour with palate cleansing hors d’oeuvres, you might choose to fill your stomach at one of the two restaurants on-site, with live music, and even a murder mystery dinner if you’re lucky. But why leave? Renault offers premium lodgings including special getaway packages for anyone who would rather stay the night in their charming villa. That means you would be able to have a round of golf at the Vineyards course in the morning before driving back home. Come for wine, stay for the entertainment! Website.