Spring Forward With New Wine Experiences
New Jersey’s winter wasn’t very harsh this year, but it was often gray and rainy, and we are more than ready for winter to melt into spring. We are pretty sure that many of New Jersey’s wine lovers are ready, too. Ready to sit outside at a favorite winery and sip a favorite wine while the sun shines on your faces. Ready to see the vineyards spring back to life. Ready for what’s next.
For wine lovers of course, what’s next (we hope) are new Garden State wine experiences. Of course, continue to go to your favorite wineries and drink your favorite wines with your favorite people. But also try something different to stretch your New Jersey wine know-how while also supporting the industry in new and fun ways. Or, add to your general wine knowledge so you can better understand what you’re enjoying so much in that glass of New Jersey wine. Read on for a few fun, delicious ways to expand your wine horizons this spring.
Try a New Grape
There are more than 80 grape varieties grown in New Jersey’s vineyards. If you always gravitate to the same one or two, it’s time to try something new. Not all wineries make wine from all 80 grapes, but next time you’re at a winery, see if they have one of these grapes that you may not have tried: Albarino (white), Traminette (white), Chambourcin (red), or Blaufrankisch (red). Or, simply pick a wine made with a different grape you’ve never tried before.
Seek Out Different Bubbles
There’s been a bubble boom in the state in the past few years. Some of the sparkling wines made in New Jersey are produced like Champagne or Prosecco, but if you want to try something really different, try a Piquette or a Pét Nat.
Piquette is made by adding water to grape pomace (the leftover skins, seeds, and stems of grapes after they’re pressed) and fermenting what sugar is left in that pomace. Because the sugar levels are lower than what was in the pressed juice, the alcohol level in Piquette is lower than other sparkling wines—usually somewhere between 4% and 9% ABV.
Pétillant Naturel, or pét nat as it’s commonly called, is a very old method of making sparkling wine. Wine that hasn’t finished fermenting is bottled and capped. As it finishes fermenting, bubbles form. Depending on how the winemaker handles it, the resulting wine can be a bit cloudy and maybe a little funky, but if you’re a bubble lover and haven’t tried pét nat yet, give it a try.
Read more about New Jersey pét nat on Edible Jersey.
Dine Where New Jersey Wine Is Sold
New Jersey wineries are permitted to have up to 15 outlets throughout the state to sell their wines. Some BYOB restaurants work as outlets for wineries, particularly in dry towns like Collingwood and Haddonfield. These restaurants sell only full bottles, not single glasses, of wine. Next time you’re at a winery, ask if they have any restaurant outlets where you can dine and enjoy their wines.
Order New Jersey Wine Where It’s Served
If you see a New Jersey wine on a restaurant or bar’s wine list, buy it. You support the winery and you let the restaurant know that you want New Jersey wines on their menu. To take it a step further, take a photo of your glass of wine and give the winery and the restaurant a shout out on social media, thanking them for supporting #NJWine.
Visit a New Wine Region
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a concentration of wineries in the state, you may have never ventured to another one of New Jersey’s other wine regions. We have wineries from the tip of Cape May County all the way up to Sussex County—explore! You may be surprised how different the wines are just an hour from your usual sipping grounds
For help with navigating the wineries of New Jersey, download the GSWGA mobile app.
Ask for a Wine Recommendation
For a fun way to get a recommendation for a new wine, ask someone much older or someone much younger what their favorite New Jersey wine is. Then head to the winery and order a glass or buy a whole bottle.
Read a Book to Learn More About Wine
If you’re ready to go from knowing what wine you enjoy to knowing more about wine itself, these two books are helpful for beginners.
From a wine critic—The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson: Robinson is one of the most respected wine critics in the world. She shares her expertise in an approachable way and guides readers through wine topics such as how to select the right bottle at retail, what wine labels signify, how to understand the properties of color and aroma, and how to match food and wine.
From a sommelier—Wine Simple by Aldo Sohm is the sommelier at NYC’s Le Bernardin and the owner of Aldo Sohm wine bar. His “totally approachable guide to wine” is unpretentious and easy to understand for wine novices. It includes everyday tips, key grape varieties, winemaking regions, how to taste, when to save and when to splurge, how to set up a wine tasting at home, and more.