5 Must-Visit New Jersey Wineries - 2018

My exploration of New Jersey wine country is very recent and I admittedly have visited less than half of the Garden State wineries. Furthermore, there are far more than five good producers. This list, however, recognizes five that I thought were outstanding when measured by their venue, customer service and wine quality.

Beneduce Vineyards—Northern New Jersey

This is one of Mid Atlantic’s top producers of Austrian varietal wines. While Blaufrankisch, Riesling and Gewurztraminer are the main story, Beneduce is also making stellar wines from French grapes. Between 4000 and 5000 cases of estate wine is bottled annually and they are all worthy of note.

IMG_9455.JPG
 

Located just a short drive from New York City, Beneduce is a perfect spot to escape the urban sprawl. If you have any reservations about New Jersey wine, this winery will change your worldview. 

Laurita Winery—Central New Jersey

My first “official” winery visit in New Jersey was at Laurita Winery and it was just good luck that I stumbled upon a winner. This winery has an aggressive event schedule, but you really need to visit for the wines.  There is something for every palate and the wines are all exceptionally well crafted.

 
IMG_8925.JPG

This winery is the whole package. The venue, customer experience and wine all deserve an A+ rating. Located midway between Philadelphia and New York City, this is an ideal day trip destination.

Unionville Vineyards—Central New Jersey

Everything about this winery compelled me to place it on my must-visit list. Located on historic farmland, Unionville Vineyards makes use of converted barns for its winery and tasting room. This adds to the venue’s charm and supplies an additional reason to visit, but the main event is the wine.

IMG_6282.JPG
 

The winery’s “superpower” is its Rhone blends, but there are Austrian and northern French varieties that are also standouts. Stop in and enjoy the atmosphere, but prepare to be blown away by the wine. This is a world-class producer.

Cape May Winery & Vineyard—Southern New Jersey

The sandy soil, ocean breezes and maritime climate of the Cape May Peninsula are ideal for viticulture. So it is no wonder that Cape May Winery is producing New Jersey wines of the highest caliber.  Everything on the tasting menu is worthy of your attention and an effort is made to please most palates.

 
IMG_1939.JPG

Despite the winery’s popularity and its location in one of New Jersey’s top tourist destinations, crowds are well dispersed. There is more than enough room to spread out indoors or out in one of several visitor spaces. Definitely add this winery to your short list.

Turdo Vineyards & Winery—Southern New Jersey

Let me just start by saying “WOW!” Turdo Vineyards was not even on my radar before stopping by the tasting room, but they may well produce the finest wines in New Jersey. Italian varieties are the specialty, but everything on the tasting list will just blow you away.

IMG_5027.JPG
 

I should caution you that this is not a venue where you will find music or other forms of entertainment. Sal Turdo and his son Luca are passionate about wine quality and their tasting room is meant for tasting. In addition, Turdo may not be open year round. When they run out of wine, they close shop until then next year’s release. So check the website or call in advance.

New Jersey is a small, but exciting producer of fine wine. The differences in growing conditions as one travels from north to south, but despite differences in grape varieties, quality can be achieved anywhere in the state.  I strongly recommend giving the Garden State a closer look and this list will get you started.