Time for Cranberry Wine

New Jersey farmers are harvesting a bumper cranberry crop this year. One unique way to get your share of the antioxidant-packed berries is with a glass of cranberry wine.

Cranberry might sound like an odd flavor for an alcoholic beverage, but it’s no stranger than oyster beer, which Cherry Hill’s Flying Fish is releasing on Wednesday, or pumpkin beer. And cranberry wine is a perfect pairing for turkey.

I tasted my first glass of cranberry wine three years ago on a visit to Valenzano Winery in Shamong. It’s tart, but a little bit sweeter than cranberry sauce, and my family now has cranberry wine on our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables every year. I’ve tried other types of cranberry wine, but none strikes the balance between tartness and sweetness like the Valenzano variety.

You don’t have to go to Shamong to pick up a bottle—almost any liquor store that carries local wines will have the cranberry wine; I buy mine at Joe Canal’s in Bellmawr. The winery also provides a map on its website.

If you’re not a drinker, you can still pick up local cranberries at farmer’s markets and in your grocery store. A cool, wet summer means New Jersey’s cranberry farmers are pulling in record numbers off the bogs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects 54 million pounds of cranberries from New Jersey this year, up 5 percent.

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