One of the biggest perks of living in the Garden State is what our farmers are growing. Tomatoes and corn have long been the front runners of New Jersey produce, but grapes have taken South Jersey’s farming communities to a whole new level, with the winery scene exploding across our area.
It’s easy to get lost for a day—or even a weekend—exploring the 20-plus wineries and vineyards all across the state, and most of them are within a short drive of each other. We took our own tour of South Jersey’s vineyards to get a taste of the reds, whites and rosés in our own backyard.
Heritage Vineyards & Winery
This award-winning winery and tasting room hosts guests from across the area for both tastings and full wine tours, which take people through the vineyard while tasting the wines created from those very vines. They also hold festivals throughout the year, and have family-friendly pumpkin picking in the fall and a specialty tapas menu for snacking.
Summit City Farms & Winery
You’ll find classic red and white varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio on the menu, but it’s Summit City’s fruit wines that really set them apart. From apple and blueberry wine to clementine, pumpkin and even peach wine—made from the peach orchard right on the property—the 15-plus fruit wines available throughout the year are unlike anything else.
Monroeville Vineyard & Winery
Husband and wife duo John—a fourth generation wine maker—and Debra Basile have been creating their own blends in this much-loved spot since 2009. New to the winery is a Customer Loyalty Club, which gives you access to discounts based on frequent purchases. And people can never get enough of their annual cheese festival, which draws crowds of 300 annually.
Amalthea Cellars Farm Winery
Started in 1976, Amalthea has become a bit of an institution in the South Jersey wine world. Owner and founder Louis Caracciolo was making wine long before anyone thought it could be done in our area, and has earned a reputation for excellence for his dry varieties of Bordeaux-style blends, made entirely from the finest South Jersey grapes.
With more than 40 awards to their name—including two gold, four silver and five bronze medals at the most recent and very prestigious Finger Lakes International Wine Competition—it’s safe to say that Sharrott is giving New Jersey a national reputation for fine wines. The winery hosts tastings all week long, and stays open late on most nights so that guests can lounge and enjoy the stunning view from their outdoor patio.
South Harrison Township
Dan and Heather Brown have spent the last decade crafting dry and semi-sweet wines that pair perfectly with fresh and local ingredients, and sing with the South Jersey seasons. They also have a line of sweet wines—named Three Boys Brand, after their three sons—featuring fruits like mango, cranberries and even Jersey tomatoes.
Auburn Road Vineyard and Winery
Auburn Road embraces a European vibe at their Enoteca, or wine bar, which includes a full menu of sandwiches, lunch options, cheese plates and more. They host events almost every night—including bringing restaurants in for dinner and wine pairings—and stay open on Saturday night with live music to keep things hot even after the sun goes down.
The name Valenzano has been part of the South Jersey farming landscape for 40 years, and with over 30 varieties of wine available seasonally, their bottles have helped secure their place in the area for years to come. They also host a Thursday night dinner every week, featuring a full menu of luxury meals like seared maple leaf duck breast and filet mignon, with a flight of wines to match.
This winery hosts tons of events all year long, including a Father’s Day barbecue, Seafood Festival and vintage car show, so there’s always a reason to celebrate. The summer brings with it a full lineup of live music all through June and July on their lawn, and with an impressive selection of vintage bottles to choose from, you can explore the flavors of the area from years past.
Coda Rossa Winery
At Coda Rossa, not only can you sip and sample their bottles of red, white, sweet, rosé and even California wines, but you can actually go behind the scenes and make your own. The winery works with The Wine Room of Cherry Hill to give guests an in-depth lesson, on winemaking. At the end of a lesson new vintners return home with their own, hand-made bottle featuring a personalized label.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 3 (May, 2016).
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