While New Jersey’s wine industry dates to colonial days, the height of its early success was from the 1860s to just before Prohibition when wineries flourished in Southern New Jersey, especially in the Egg Harbor City region.
Renault Winery, which still is in operation and stands as the second oldest operating winery in the United States was opened by Louis Renault in 1864.
Another winery that thrived in the 1860’s and 1870’s in the region was Black Rose Vineyards in Egg Harbor City. The winery was founded by Civil War veteran Charles Daniel Saalmann, a captain in the Union infantry during the war. Salman had participated in the battles at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville and was wounded at Gettysburg. He later was part of General Sherman’s March to the Sea.
According to Wikipedia, Black Rose Vineyards premier wine was a claret under the label “Black Rose.” It was a full-bodied red wine composed primarily of the native Norton grape. Saalmann’s ‘Black Rose,’ won medals at regional competitions at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878.
Saalmann had built two stone wine cellars on the property. Wikipedia states his stock was 15,000 gallons, a value of $25,000 with sales at $5,000 per year.
He retired at the turn of the century leaving the vineyard to his sons Charles and William. However, Charles joined the temperance movement, and the brothers eventually gave up on the wine business and converted it into a vegetable farm.
Now the descendants of Saalman are hoping to keep part of its history alive. There are approximately 150 to 200 bottles that were salvaged from the cellars on the property and they are looking for a home for this collection.
If there is anyone interested in this bottle collection, please contact Jean Saalman at firstname.lastname@example.org.