Spring is the perfect time for a road trip, and what better destination than a picturesque winery? The Garden State is home to dozens of vineyards which play host to exciting events ranging from tastings and food trucks to musical performances and more.
To find out which ones are worth the drive, New Jersey Next spoke with Hank Zona, host and founder of The Grapes Unwrapped, who shared his insight into where to find palate-pleasing local wines and not-to-be-missed events.
“There is a Winemaker’s Co-op in New Jersey made up of arguably the four best wineries in the state: Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, William Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill, Unionville in Ringoes and Working Dog in East Windsor,” Zona noted.
The Co-op, created to promote the fine wine movement in the Garden State, continues to strive to push the boundaries of quality with each new vintage.
Zona, who frequently hosts pairing and tasting dinners, explained that the four wineries have a full slate of
their own events throughout the season, but will come together on Sunday, June 3 to host their spring portfolio tasting at Heritage Winery.
The event, starting at 7 p.m. with a VIP session beginning at 2 p.m., will feature 32 fine wines from some of New Jersey’s top producers. Attendees can mingle with winemakers and proprietors, and have the chance to learn how these wines were crafted, as well as discover what makes New Jersey wines unique. General admission is $32. Tickets can be purchased via the Co-op’s website.
If you can’t attend this annual tasting, Zona encourages oenophiles to pay each of the four wineries a visit, as he says they boast a “fun vibe” in addition to some special vintages.
Throughout the spring and summer, Beneduce Vineyards offers live entertainment for music fans to enjoy while sampling the varietals. Additionally, on farmland not suited to growing grapes, the owners have planted four varieties of English lavender, creating a sustainable and stunning haven for the farm’s honey bees and other insects beneficial to the landscape.
Unionville Vineyards presents its annual Spring Wine & Music Festival on Saturday, May 12. Attendees can enjoy a day of tasting Unionville’s estate-grown wines, catch six hours of live music, and take guided tours of the winery, vineyard, and all 89 acres of preserved farm property. Guests can also purchase lunch or an early dinner at four gourmet food trucks as well as from several other local artisan food producers who will be sampling and selling during the event. For more information, visit Unionville’s website.
Working Dog Winery has a full calendar of live music evenings planned for Saturdays through mid-July. Food trucks will also be on-site. To view the upcoming events, check out Working Dog’s website.
Much like finding the perfect food and wine pairing, Zona explains that discovering great wine at an enticing venue isn’t always as simple as one might hope. But, when you discover it, as the grape guru says you will at these four wineries, the combination is blissful.