Archive for the ‘South Jersey’ Category

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Every Summer my family vacations in Wildwood, which is just a couple exits away from Cape May. During this annual trip, I usually urge my parents to try the Cape May wineries. They really enjoy resting on the beach all day while on vacation – I can’t blame them – so they usually decline my suggestions. However, knowing that I wanted them to check out the Cape May vineyards, they planned a special weekend with us to visit these wineries. So a couple weekends ago, I was finally able to go with them. This particular weekend celebration was a birthday present from them and an anniversary gift for Tom and me. This past week, Tom and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

Our weekend in Cape May was nice, but it was a little busier than I expected. I didn’t realize September is wedding month in Cape May. If you are planning on going to Cape May, keep in mind that some places may be closed or closing early to cater to private events. That’s what we encountered when we tried visiting a couple other places. When we arrived at Cape May Winery it looked like something was going on there. I thought they were having a special event on the back patio, but it may have just been a musician performing outside and a big crowd. All the times we’ve been to Cape May Winery, we’ve never seen it that busy! Luckily, we were able to grab a spot at the tasting bar on the upstairs deck. Which was a first for me. I don’t think I’ve tasted on their deck before. We were also able to find seats on their balcony to sit and enjoy a glass of wine.

I have to admit, I was less impressed with their wines this time around than I have been in the past. I enjoyed them better during previous visits, but it was still a nice experience. Here’s what we tried.

2013 Cape May Riesling – This wine was a dryer Riesling that tasted less sweet than others of this kind. In their Riesling, I tasted hints of honeysuckle and citrus. Dad and I ended up having a glass of this when we relaxed on the deck.

Lighthouse White – The Lighthouse White was a crisp wine with flavors of honey and apple.

Lighthouse Riesling – I was somewhat disappointed in this wine. I remembered it more favorably. This version had a tart and citrus quality. I found it to be a little sour and it left a vinegar-like taste in my mouth. It did have a lovely smell with fruit accents.

Lighthouse Red – The Lighthouse Red is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Chambourcin. I tend to enjoy red blends. This was nice. I tasted a bit of spice and cherry. However, I felt like I enjoyed it more in the past.

Lighthouse Blush – This wine is like a white zinfandel with a hint of cherry. It’s the fruitier wine of the Lighthouse line. Mom liked this one best. Like me, her taste leans sweeter.

Isaac Smith Apple – If you like apple flavors, this is your wine! Isaac Smith Apple is a nice fall treat. As you sip this wine, it’s like your biting into a Granny Smith and getting wine instead of juice from the apple. The apple flavor is right on point. It’s a really nice treat. But it is sweet like a treat or like candy. The smell reminded me of the apple flavored Jolly Rancher. I appreciate the taste of this wine, but for some reason, apple juice, apple cider, and other appley drinks turn my stomach a little. The flavor was so good I wanted more, but for my tummy, I held back. Mom ended up getting a glass of this one.

Wines vary year to year and some times or some days my tastes change. Although this tasting experience was different for me, I still love the experience and feel of Cape May Winery. It’s a great blend of beach and country. I love sitting on the distressed wood deck, that is reminiscent of driftwood, while overlooking the vines as I watch hawks circle above the trees and smell the salt sea air. Cape May Winery continues to improve the facility and expand. On this visit, I noticed what looked like a newer building in the back. Cape May Winery is definitely a must visit.


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I often tell our friends and family about all the fun wine events NJ offers. They then express interest in attending. So, when one of my preferred festivals came around, I reached out to them and invited them to come along and we all met at the Jersey Shore Wine Festival. I particularly enjoy this event, because Lakewood Blueclaws stadium is a nice facility and easy enough to get to, being right off the parkway. There is a good number of relevant and pleasant vendors and wineries. If people in attendance aren’t that in to drinking, then they may enjoy shopping some of the little tent shops. The crowd is well managed and you’re not fighting people to get sips of wine.

The Atmosphere

The actual festival is held in an area on their front lawn and not actually in the stadium. This is completely fine because this location offers plenty of space. The featured wineries are positioned in a square shape and vendors are lined up back to back in the middle of the square. It creates a good flow and allows you to glance at nice items for sale while you’re walking from one wine tent to the next. At the far end of the “square”, is an open area where you can layout a picnic blanket and sip some wine while you listen to the band on the other side of the open space. If your tummy rumbles or you need something to absorb all the wine, there’s also some food vendors and you can grab a sausage or a hot dog.

The Wines

Cream Ridge Winery – I often visit this winery, so I didn’t need to sample everything they had because I already have. Although, I did try their Kiwine. I follow Cream Ridge Winery on facebook and I knew that this wine flies off their wine rack, so I had to try it while it was available. It was good. Fruity and sweet wine fans would probably enjoy this one. It captures the kiwi flavor without overpowering the wine. It’s a refreshing blend of kiwi, lime, and Niagara grapes.

Ventimiglia Vineyard – I wasn’t overly impressed with Ventimiglia Vineyards when we visited a year ago. Although, that’s mostly because my taste leans sweeter. If you prefer dry white wines, then this NJ winery would suit you. In my opinion, since we last visited, they upped their game. Ventimiglia actually said they responded to their customers who wanted a sweeter wine and they created High Point White. This wine was right up my alley and one of my preferred wines of the event. It was appropriately sweet, not overbearing, and well balanced. High Point White is made with Syrah and Cayuga grapes.

Wagonhouse Winery – I haven’t yet made it to Wagonhouse Winery, but I’m looking forward to the visit. Wagonhouse has a lot of tasty fruity options. I was most amazed by their Sundance wine. This is part of their Three Boys Brand line of wines. It’s a scintillating blend of peach and almond flavors. This wine was the highlight of my day. Even Tom, who doesn’t typically enjoy fruity wines, liked this one. I can’t wait to visit and buy more. Another wine worth mentioning is their Autumn Goddess. If it was fall we would have stocked up on this. Autumn Goddess may be one of the best apple flavored wines we’ve had. It was a beautiful blend of apple, nutmeg, and pumpkin flavors. I’ll have to make this a fall stop.

Plagido’s Winery – I haven’t yet been to Plagido’s Winery. However, I was pleased with my preview of what they offer. I love concord wines, so I have to mention Plagido Red. This was a nice light concord wine. Both Tom and I really liked their Blackberry wine. It was sweet with a gently lingering blackberry flavor.

Unionville Vineyards – I wrote about this wine before and didn’t want to overlook it just because I experienced it already. Unionville Vineyards Pinot Grigio is one of the best that I’ve had. It’s a good quality dry white wine that doesn’t possess the harshness that some others have.

4JG’s Orchards & Vineyard – 4JG’s frappe and vino was a big hit among our family members. They serve the Monmouth Blush with a frappe mix that you combine and freeze. The Monmouth Blush is a great, tasty, and perfectly characteristic of what a blush should be. This wine mixed with frappe is a refreshing slushy summer treat. Although, I think it’s better in smaller doses. Too much and your mouth might begin to pucker.

I tried more wines, but the selections listed above are the ones that I most enjoyed during this occasion. There were some additional wines or wineries that I skipped so I could try different ones. I definitely would recommend the annual June Jersey Shore Wine Festival. I’ll see you there in 2014.

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During our most recent Cape May wine trail trip we had to stop at one of our favorite wineries again, Cape May Winery & Vineyard. If you’re not getting tired of me writing about Cape May Winery, I will keep doing so because I love going here. I highly recommend this New Jersey winery! They have a great selection and it’s one of the most relaxing places to enjoy a glass of wine and some snacks. Cape May Winery has a beautiful tasting room, a nice backyard (vineyard) patio, a lovely deck that overlooks the vines, and a good variety of cheese and crackers to enjoy while you sip your Cape May wine.

I wrote about Cape May Winery earlier this year. I just looked at the wines I tasted then. The wines I sampled during our recent trip were mostly different. I tried to mix up my choices for you!

The Wines

Lighthouse White – Is a nice crisp fruity wine. The freshness and hint of honeysuckle provide a nice summery feel.

Lighthouse Riesling – This Riesling smells good and tastes just as good. It’s sweet and crisp and releases lemon and honey flavors.

Lighthouse Red – This one had to come home with me. Although, it was like picking a puppy – I really wanted all of them to come home with me. This red was a little more like a blush in the way in which it was sweet and crisp and light in color. However, unlike a blush, it wasn’t overly sweet or tart. This blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Chambourcin was a nice surprise. Red fans may not like this, but I think sweet drinkers and white fans will. The Lighthouse Red is really good with chocolate.

Isaac Smith Apple – Delicious. Apple fans, you’ll love this wine! Kristen bought it. When I was at her apartment she offered me some and I had to decline, only because I didn’t want to drink the whole bottle on her. A little isn’t enough. Just take a sniff of this wine and you get a blast of Fuji and Granny Smith apples. Inhale as you sip for a delightful experience. Don’t let the apple fool you, it’s only slightly sweet. I was able to taste the alcohol on the way down.

Isaac Smith Fini Blanc – Also delicious, this wine also had to come home with me! It was so good, I saved it for my birthday. I also enjoyed a glass of this on Cape May Winery’s deck. I think I’m partial to white wines that present apricot flavors like this one did. As my palate leans to the sweeter side, I must warn you that this is a Dessert Wine. Sweet fans, you will enjoy it.

Cape May Red – This award winning wine has a smooth and bitter finish. You really taste the red berry flavors. The vanilla oak flavor adds to the smoothness and presents a pleasant mouth feel.

These are all quality wines! Be sure to stop here during your Cape May trips or as one of your New Jersey wine trail stops!


Wine responsibly.


5 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)

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Tom and I had been here before and I wasn’t looking forward to returning. This winery, like most of the others in this area, is also off of Route 47. If you’re heading North, it’s past Jessie Creek Winery.


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My wonderful husband, Tom, has been keeping track of wine activity in the Cape May area, one of our favorite destinations to visit. By checking in on the New Jersey Wine Growers Association website Tom found out about Jessie Creek Winery and I’m so glad he did. We planned a trip to Cape May and intended to check out 2 new wineries including Jessie Creek Winery. We had seen ads for Willow Creek Winery in Cape May. We stopped here a couple months ago when we saw they were opening in the spring. They weren’t open. We tried stopping by again on this Cape May wine trail day and they still weren’t open. That’s fine, but then don’t advertise that you’re opening. This turned out fine because we started the day out wonderfully with Jessie Creek Winery. (more…)

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Turdo Vineyards & Winerywas our last New Jersey winery stop on this Cape May winery tour.  If you do your own Cape May wine trail, this is a good place to make your last stop. If you head south down this road, the winery will be on your left. You can park on the grassy area along the roadway. When your visit is complete, this road will lead you back towards the downtown Cape May area, which is where we ended up for dinner. (more…)

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Cape May Winery & Vineyard was the second place we stopped at during our Cape May wine trip. Tom, Carol and I have been here multiple times. I always look forward to coming here. When I think of wineries and the beach, I think of this place. (more…)

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