2014. It was a wild ride in the vineyards of the Garden State. We felt great pressure to tend to our vines with painstaking care after one of the most enduring winters in memory. The extended and powerful blasts of frigid arctic air had an impact- in fact, we may not know the full extent of damage to the industry for another year or so, as our plants have not yet fully recovered their resistance to various diseases. But all things considered, New Jersey was paid back in full with a spectacular harvest season, with perfect weather down the stretch for ripening grapes and then harvesting.
South to North, everyone basked in ideal conditions.
David Gardner at Bellview Winery, Landisville, Atlantic County: “The weather this harvest season has been generally very good. It’s had long stretches of dry weather with very short rain periods. The Harvest itself is very good with good grape quality; the only real issue being our reduced yield due to the extreme cold this winter.”
Mike Beneduce at Beneduce Vineyards, Pittstown, Hunterdon County: “The weather has been ideal, with cool nights allowing the grapes to maintain their natural acidity and the lack of rainfall yielding small, intensely flavored berries with high sugar content. I expect this will be our best vintage yet for all varieties and the wines to have explosive aromatics and concentrated flavors with nicely balanced acidity and alcohol content. I think maybe the weather gods are paying us back for that miserable winter with a perfect fall season. I’ll take it.”
2014 will be known for having reduced yields, but some of the best fruit ever grown in New Jersey. The low humidity throughout the summer kept moisture-spread diseases at bay, the cool nights and warm days allowed for ideal ripening conditions, with tannin, acid, and sugars in the grapes being well balanced. The wines are likely to be elegant and delicious and it will be exciting to taste the first releases in the Spring. In the mean time, there will be plenty of great wine to enjoy on the Holiday Wine Trail on Thanksgiving Weekend. We hope to see you in a New Jersey tasting room soon!
-John Cifelli, Executive Director, GSWGA