Known as the Garden State, New Jersey soil is now producing some of the most delicious grapes and other fruits used in wines. No wonder New Jersey has been dubbed the “New Napa.” Take a virtual wine tour with Jersey-based food and drink writer, Linda, as she visits a few New Jersey wineries and shares her favorites along the way.
Have you heard about the New Napa? No, we’re not talking about California. We’re talking about Jersey. Yes, you read that right, New Jersey. New Jersey’s vast wineries are now creating nationally and internationally acclaimed wines on the East Coast, giving wines lovers a new, more affordable alternative to Napa.
The area widely known for producing fruit-based wines (apple, blueberry, cranberry and raspberry) is now gaining attention for its grape wines. Whether you have an affinity for red, rosé, white, sparkling or dessert, the New Jersey wineries have something for everyone. In addition to producing widely celebrated wines, the wineries in New Jersey also feature a variety of entertainment options including live music, special dining events, festivals and more. Many local communities and wineries also host large wine tasting festivals across the state, giving people the opportunity to taste many of New Jersey wines at the same time.
Ready to check out a few of the more popular wineries in New Jersey and some of their “must trys”? Pass the glasses and grab your best girlfriends or your favorite beau because we are going on a virtual wine tour!
New Jersey Wineries
Renault Winery, Egg Harbor City NJ – Renault is one of the oldest operating wineries in the United States and produces both red and white varieties. There is a hotel on-site called the Tuscany House Hotel. The hotel is a short 30-minute drive from neighboring shore towns yet feels like you are in Tuscany. Along with the wines, you can also enjoy a generous meal at their gourmet restaurant or play a round of golf on their Par 72 18-hole golf course. In addition to wine tastings, the winery offers a lot of family-friendly events including food truck festivals, grape stomping festivals and even Brunch with Santa. If you go, try their Blueberry Champagne. It’s what they are famous for – and deservedly so!
Cape May Winery, Cape May NJ – This winery is one of the premier tourist attractions in the Cape May area. The winery features four vineyards on 70 acres that grow 16 varieties of grapes. You can enjoy the atmosphere of this quaint beach town while sipping on their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve which is a “must sip” with hints of cherry and blackberry.
Hawk Haven Vineyard, Rio Grande NJ – The winery is named for the large number of hawks that migrate every year to the offshore town of Rio Grande. While at the vineyard, you can sample your wine in a cozy tasting room or you can sip on wines on their back patio while listening to live music. Hawk Haven is completely family friendly with a cute sandbox area for kids to play in the back. You can also bring snacks to enjoy while savoring your wines.
Heritage Winery, Mullica Hill NJ – This vineyard and winery is located just 20 miles outside of Philadelphia in Mullica Hill and is a wonderful wine tasting destination. From live music to pick-your-own orchards and vineyards, Heritage has something for everyone. Many of their wines are award winning and delicious, but their Syrah is a special stand out. What we love most about Heritage is how family friendly it is. In addition to delicious wines, the location also includes a pick-your own pumpkin patch in the fall making it one of our must-stops when the weather turns cool.
Plagido’s Winery, Hammonton NJ – The tasting room at Plagido’s is not as modern as some of the others but it has a wonderful charm and coziness. The Chambourcin is the stand out with a full-bodied wine that has a pleasant texture and distinct spicy flavors. The Hammonton area, where Plagido’s Winery is located, also has several other wineries nearby, making it easy to hop from one winery to the next.
Sharrott Winery, Hammonton NJ – This winery is run on 100 percent solar power making it one of the most environmentally sustainable wineries in New Jersey. Sharrott Winery is picturesque, especially in autumn. They regularly offer live music on the back patio or you can bring a blanket and/or chairs and make a picnic on their lawn. Wicked, their dessert port, is a must-try if you are a fan of ports.
Turdo Vineyards, Cape May NJ – If you are a true wine lover, Turdo Vineyard is a required stop while in the Cape May area. Just a short bike ride from the center of town, Turdo is known for producing Italian varietals which can be sampled as part of their tastings. Turbo has a simple charm offered in an intimate setting (the tasting room is located behind a house). With the winery being on the smaller side you really get the chance to talk to the staff and owners while enjoying Cape May’s beautiful bay views.
With nearly 50 wineries across the state, New Jerseys wineries are booming, giving those on the East Coast and beyond a closer and more affordable alternative to Napa, California. If you go make sure you grab a wine passport, offered by The Garden State Wine Growers Association and available at all of the wineries, and have your passport stamped by each winery you visit. Cheers!