If you were under the impression that New Jersey is famous only for Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Soprano, and The Boss Bruce Springsteen, prepare for a very pleasant surprise because there are award-winning wines waiting for you to discover. New Jersey has now grown to over 50 wineries and has been winning accolades for their vintages, family-owned vineyard hospitality and is considered up and coming in the wine industry.
This month we are revisiting our favorite picks from the “Garden State” and hitting up the New Jersey Wine Trails with five special wineries we think you are sure to enjoy! Make sure to bring along your favorite travel companion, your VinGardeValise®, because you’ll want to carry home some of these award-winning wines New Jersey is proud to offer.
Bellview Winery, Landisville
Established in 2000, Bellview Winery is a family-owned vineyard and winery, located in Landisville, the heart of Southern New Jersey. What started as a vegetable and fruit farm grew into a winery producing Estate grown wines on the same land they have been farming for nearly 100 years. Bellview won the New Jersey Winery of the Year in 2012 and has continued to produce award-winning wines including Viognier, Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, Blaufrankisch, and other specialty wines. Their estate wines are produced from grapes cultivated in their 40-acre vineyard and include a wide variety of dry whites and reds, semi-sweet, a blush, fruit, and dessert wines, Port, Ice Wine, and their specialty Dandelion wine, one of four in the country. Their spacious Tasting Room, in the Quarella family wine cellar, offers award-winning wines to suit all tastes.
Start in their lovely Tasting Room to try something new and then pick your favorite to enjoy a glass or two outside while overlooking the vineyards and enjoying the weather. They encourage you to spend the day picnicking on their beautiful grounds.
150 Atlantic St.
Landisville, NJ 08326
Plagido’s Winery, Hammonton
Established in 2007 by Plagido Tomasello, Plagido’s Winery is a family-owned business and spread across four fields in 15 acres of land. Plagido is one of Hammonton’s pioneer farmers, who arrived from Italy during the late 1800s. Today, Ollie Tomasello continues the family tradition of producing fine wine. All grapes in their wine are estate grown, trimmed, harvested, and nurtured by hand, and fermented in stainless steel vats or American oak. Their Tuscany Tasting Room offers a family-like atmosphere where you can enjoy their estate-bottled wines. They recommend their Signature White, Plagido’s Choice. Plagido’s Winery was declared New Jersey’s Winery of the Year 2016, awarded by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, and they have a long list of awards, including the award for excellence in tourism.
Plagido’s specializes in small artisanal hand-crafted wines, that are produced using a basket press. The grapes come from small lots, on a single vineyard, with sandy loam soil. The quality of wine speaks for itself.
570 N 1st Rd
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Amalthea Cellars Farm Winery, Atco
Amalthea Cellars Farm Winery is in Atco, on the outer coastal plain of South New Jersey. This is one of the state’s premier wineries, offering complimentary and VIP tastings. Founded in 1976 by Louis Caracciolo, Amalthea Cellars has an interesting history. Caracciolo, who was fascinated with winemaking as a young boy and followed his passion in his grandfather’s footsteps, says, “I came on the scene with an unlit torch and my grandfather passed the flame.”
He is an expert at blending archaic winemaking techniques with modern enology and proved that Europe’s classic wine grapes could be grown and made into fine wines. He says, “Our winery is one of only a few wineries left in the world that truly handcrafts its wines from harvest to bottle, and you can taste the difference. New oak barrels and time are what many wineries pass up in an attempt to cut costs and the final product suffers. At Amalthea Cellars you will find nothing but smooth and well-balanced wines that are sure to please.” Amalthea Cellars grows handcrafted award-winning wines. In October 2007 and June 2008, in an event titled “The Judgment of New Jersey”, their wine was declared the best by 100 wine tasters, from the finest French and Napa vintages. Enjoy their wine cellars and tasting, and don’t forget to reserve in advance!
209 Vineyard Rd.
Atco, NJ 08004
Sharrott Winery, Winslow
Established in 2005, Sharrott Winery is a family-owned winery located in the charming New Jersey Pinelands. They use sustainable winegrowing practices to reduce their carbon footprint and have a reputation for producing excellent vintages. They have a full calendar of events, including their much sought after summer live music series, annual events, wine releases, and more. Visitors can taste their whites, reds, and sweet wines during a tour of their grounds.
Each variety uses a unique production method, and wine tasting on their patio is a grand affair with their vintages served with an array of cheese. Varieties include chardonnay, pinot grigio, cabernet, and more. The friendly staff answers any questions about flavor profiles and food pairings. Sharrott Winery has won a long list of awards since 2008, and the latest is the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 2017, where 3077 wines from 621 wineries spanning 16 countries were in the running, and The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition with over 7000 wine entries from 28 states, considered the largest competition of American wines in the world. According to them, “We believe great wine begins in the vineyard, in unity with Mother Nature.”
370 S. Egg Harbor Rd. (Rt. 561),
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Valenzano Winery, Shamong
Established in 1996, Valenzano Winery started small as a hobby in Shamong, New Jersey, in the center of the Pine Barrens. Today, the winery spans 88 acres of farms with a brand new 34,000 square foot production and retail facility and has grown into one of New Jersey’s largest producers of quality wine. Their wines are the top-selling brand in a majority of restaurants and wine shops in NJ. From their Red, White and Blueberry sangria, to their Jersey Devil Mead or Cabernet/Merlot Reserve, Valenzano Winery’s aim is to produce the best quality wines at affordable prices. Their wines have been awarded double gold medals from the Indy International Wine Competition, and Fingerlakes International Wine Competition, along with the NJ Governor’s Cup and dozens of other prestigious awards.
Anthony Valenzano says, “Valenzano is known for setting trends – not copying them! We also produce a line of Specialty Wines that have introduced an entirely new generation and market of people to wines. Our customers appreciate the efforts we put into our winery and they know that we are the type of business who will do what is necessary to keep our customers happy.”
1090 Rt. 206,
Shamong, NJ 08088
So whether you are looking to head out for a quick away getaway weekend this summer, or make a plan to visit during the beautiful harvest weather of early Fall, bring along the VGV® – your favorite wine travel partner – to safely carry home your new discoveries! A trip to the New Jersey wine trail areas offers an array of wine tasting tours, some unique wines to try (and likely buy a few), as well as some great area wine bars, infamous diners, and of course the opportunity to kick back and enjoy…wine style!
That’s it for our favorite picks from the Atlantic County wine trail. Plan a day trip soon to New Jersey and enjoy the warm hospitality of these family-owned wineries. Get your fill of natural beauty of the Garden State. So much to do, see, and enjoy! So many new wines to meet and bring back home in your VinGardeValise® along with the wonderful memories you can cherish, as you relax with your favorite wines.