There’s just something about a fire.
While most humans have not technically needed fire to stay warm or keep wild animals at bay for thousands of years, we are still drawn to fire. Why? Theories abound. One study from the University of Alabama found that people were not only more social while watching a fire, their blood pressure was lower, implying that they were less stressed out and more relaxed.
It is possible, scientists posit, that human beings evolved to feel safe next to a fire, and that fires naturally became a gathering point for family and friends. Their legacy—clearly—lives on today, judging from the booming market for fire pits in the U.S. and beyond.
But you didn’t need a scientific or economic study to tell you all of that right? You probably already knew. As the weather crisps up, we’ve scouted out some of the best fire pits to gather ’round at Garden State wineries.
Check out our list, grab a bestie and go!
Head to Jessie Creek Winery for Community Cheer
This community-minded, welcoming Cape May winery features a beautifully decorated art space with rotating original creations from local artists. And yes, they are for sale. While the constantly evolving gallery, on-site historic (and recently renovated) inn and incredible selection of noshes and wine are enough to draw eager visitors year-round, the eight cozy fire pits and the year-round live music every weekend keep them coming back for more.
Reserve ahead to avoid disappointment. Fee: $20. Pro-tip: there’s a fantastic—and capacious—fireplace inside the 12,000 square-foot tasting room that doesn’t require a reservation or an extra fee.
Head to Renault Winery & Resort To Party Down
Renault Winery & Resort is ground zero for epic blow-out celebrations. Whether you want to kick back and enjoy premium sparkling wine paired with gourmet French-inspired fare, play a round of golf on their 18-hole award-winning course or clink glasses at a beer garden, Renault has you covered.
One of the can’t miss activations at Renault is their $50 Fire Pit experience. (Food and beverages are additional.) Each reservation accommodates up to eight guests for two hours. On the weekends, you can enjoy live entertainment. Or you can opt for patio seating, where you can take in serene views of the pond while still being able to hear the live music.
Head to Laurita Winery for a Sweet Treat
Laurita Winery has one of the most active events calendars in New Jersey—from country and 90s dance parties to themed seafood festivals to wine and goat yoga. If you’re interested in it, chances are, they offer it.
The Fire Pit Fridays are a huge draw at Laurita, especially with no admission and optional S’mores kits for purchase. Pick up great country fare (grilled cheese + French fries, Cajun chicken sandwiches with fries + large Bavarian pretzels with homemade honey mustard) if you’re feeling peckish.
Head to Bellview Winery for Adventure
Bellview Winery has a little something for everyone—from award winning, estate grown dry Cabernet Franc or Merlot, to after-dinner ports, to Pet-Nat and Dandelion wine, experienced and novice oenophiles alike will discover something new to sip.
Bellview also offers up personal fire pits for groups of up to eight people for $30. You can also choose from Bellview’s revolving flights and incredible edibles (we recommend the Flavors of Philly, with incredible artisanal cheeses, stuffed olives, sweet peppers, sweet and spicy soppressata, spicy honey mustard and pretzels).
Head to Auburn Road Vineyards for Wood-Fired Pizza
If nippy weather makes you want to warm up your body and enjoy some wood-fired food in one go, head over to Auburn Road Vineyards. The European-style wine bar and enoteca offers some of the best pizzas around (and in New Jersey, that’s saying a lot). The rotating seasonal selections are always on point, and the Not So Plain Jane (honey, garlic, tomato sauce, mozzarella) and Cher (arugula, truffle oil, honey, balsamic glaze, mozzarella) have cult followings.
Fire pits are located within six feet of courtyard tables and are free of charge.