STATE — Want a break from cooking that Thanksgiving meal? Don’t want any part of the crowds at the mall? Why not kick-off the holiday season by getting outdoors and visiting a winery here in New Jersey, and finding that special gift for someone on your list, as part of the Holiday Wine Trail Weekend Friday to Sunday, Nov. 23-25 at participating wineries throughout the state.
From the Skylands in Northern Sussex County to the tip of Cape May, six different wine trails await you with each winery along the way offering wine tastings, wine-friendly holiday foods, live music and other entertainment, all designed to showcase the award-winning New Jersey wines being produced by the more than 40 wineries now operating throughout the state. To access maps to the seven trails and to learn what special event each winery has to offer, visit www.newjerseywinetrails.com.
New Jersey wines are winning awards in prestigious blind tastings across the country such as the San Francisco Chronicle competition, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, and just this past June in in a blind tasting organized by the American Association of Wine Economists at Princeton University dubbed the “Judgment of Princeton” a number of New Jersey’s finest red and white wines competed against leading French wines and scored highly, with the judging rated a statistical tie.
Whether you want to travel all the way to the southern-most tip of the state in Cape May where you can visit Cape May Winery, Natali Vineyards (Cape May Courthouse), Hawk Haven Vineyards (Rio Grande) and one of the state’s newest wineries, Jessie’s Creek Winery (Cape May Courthouse) or travel to Sussex County where you can sample wines at Cava Winery (Hamburg), Ventimiglia Vineyards (Wantage) and Westfall Winery (Montague), there’s a winery located within driving distance of your location.
Those that want to head south or come a bit north from Philadelphia can explore the Gloucester-Salem Wine Trail, visiting such wineries as Auburn Road Vineyards (Pilesgrove), Cedarvale Winery (Logan Township), DiBella Winery (Woolwich Twp), Heritage Vineyards (Mullica Hills), Monroeville Vineyard & Winery (Monroeville), Swansea Vineyards (Shiloh), Wagonhouse Winery (Swedesboro), and the newest winery in New Jersey, Southwind Vineyard & Winery, which will hold its grand opening during Holiday Trail Weekend.
The Warren Hunterdon Wine Trail offers an eclectic array of wineries to visit, including: Brook Hollow Winery (Columbia), Four Sisters Winery at Matarazzo Farms (Belvidere), Villa Milagro Vineyard (Finesville), Beneduce Vineyard (Pittstown), Old York Cellars and Unionville Vineyards (Ringoes), Hopewell Valley Vineyards (Pennington) and Terhune Orchards Vineyard & Winery (Princeton).
Those wishing to hit the Monmouth-Ocean County region can experience the Shore Wine Trail visiting 4JGs Orchards & Vineyard (Colts Neck), Cream Ridge Winery (Cream Ridge), Silver Decoy Winery (East Windsor) and Laurita Winery (New Egypt).
The Atlantic County Wine Trail features such standout vineyards and wineries as Amalthea Cellars (Atco), Bellview Winery (Landisville), Coda Rossa (Franklinville), Sharrott Winery (Blue Anchor), DiMatteo Vineyards, Plagido’s Winery and Tomasello Winery (Hammonton), Renault Winery (Egg Harbor Township) and Valenzano Winery (Shamong).