The fastest growing agricultural segment in the state, New Jersey wine making is no longer just about fruity novelties (though those are darn good). Get ready for some serious Chardonnays, nicely priced Cab Francs and a palate-pleasing Traminette.
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It might come as a surprise to some, but New Jersey has a vibrant and growing wine industry. In fact, in a state known for its fabulous fresh produce, wine is the fastest-growing agricultural segment. And why not? We’ve got the right climate and the right soil. And now, with a new law that will allow direct shipping to consumers, our wineries will have improved distribution.
So just how good are Garden State wines? To find out, we convened a panel of experts for a blind taste test. The panel was tough. Yes, there were some sour notes, but there was plenty of good news, too. In every category our tasters found wines worthy of praise. The Chardonnays and other whites fared particularly well, as did the Cabernet Sauvignons. On the other hand, the Merlots bombed, and in the event’s oddest moment, one wine was judged to be “chewy.”
Overall, our experts agreed, the quality is definitely coming along. So what’s missing? First, a greater commitment to expertise. Some of Jersey’s vintners are relative novices and, our tasters claim, need to invest in the services of experienced wine consultants to tune up their wine-making practices.
Equally important, New Jersey needs to overcome its reputation of turning out novelty fruit wines—although many of those have their fans. To that end, one judge declared, “New Jersey needs a Robert Mondavi”—that is, a winemaker with the sort of marketing clout that put California on the wine-making map. (Remember when that state’s wines were mainly of the cheap jug variety?)
Certainly, New Jersey has some savvy winemakers. Many have transformed their wineries into popular tourist destinations. Some have won ribbons in international competitions. And all merit your attention. Uncorking a bottle from one of our winning wineries is a good place to start.
Click on the links below to read the articles in our Jersey Wine package:
Ready For Prime Time?
New Jersey has all the ingredients for a booming wine industry—and a new law to help clear the way. Find out what the buzz is all about.
A Feast of Fests
New Jersey's wine festivals blossom as the state wine industry booms.
Sip and Tell
Jersey wines have come a long way. Now our panel of experts rates them in a blind tasting to determine which ones, if any, have truly arrived.
The Best Wines in New Jersey
At a blind taste test held at Blue Morel restaurant in Morristown, seven wine experts and one intrepid reporter sat down to determine the best wines in New Jersey. After trying 52 wines from 26 wineries, they selected these vintages as the best of the best.
Wine consumption is on the rise—and so are creative custom wine cellars like these handsome, utilitarian vaults.
Prime Time For Wine Events
Salute To A Dining Innovator: New Jersey Food and Wine Festival
Jersey Wines Rise to the Occasion
Cape May: Beyond the Beach
2012 Jersey Choice: The Best of NJ—Food and Drink
The Best Wines In New Jersey
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Shining from a snow valley by a church...
Lots of them, actually. In the glass-enclosed conservatory of Pleasantdale Chateau, an upscale catering facility in West Orange, two towering orange trees are sprouting fruit among the flowers and other vegetation.