January, February, March…the vines in New Jersey’s vineyards are dormant. It may look like nothing at all is happening to the vines, but under the ground, their roots are storing up energy so they’re ready for the upcoming growing season.
The vines may be quiet, but New Jersey’s wineries and tasting rooms don’t go quiet in the winter (although they may be less crowded than in the warmer months). If you’re looking for somewhere warm and cozy to spend some time, look to your local wineries. There’s plenty to do.
We’ve rounded up a few events, but we also encourage you to visit the website or social media pages of all the New Jersey wineries for the most up-to-date information on their offerings, as well as keeping an eye on the Garden State Wine Growers Association events page. Like a wine flight, this is just an amuse bouche and palate teaser for the deliciousness that awaits.
Tastings and Pairings
The one thing that’s a must-do at any winery is drinking wine, right? (Unless you’re the designated driver, or taking time off, in which case, a creative array of seasonal mocktails awaits). In the winter, wineries welcome guests for tastings and full glass or bottle purchases. There’s more than just sipping wine that goes on at many tastings, though. Wineries thoughtfully create pairings for the winter, matching wine with food or sweets.
- Throughout the winter months, Angelico Winery in Lambertville is offering chocolate truffles paired with their recently-released Port-Style wine. Enjoy the pairing in the tasting room in their converted barn or take it outside to the patio or the back yard where fireplaces will keep you warm
- At Plagido’s Winery in Hammonton, dive into pairing wine with cheese and chocolate at special ticketed events. Discover how 8 of their hand crafted wines—from dry styles to sweet styles—pair with your individual plate of cheeses and chocolates.
- Millville’s Cedar Rose Vineyards’ monthly A Novel Toast Book Club pairs books and bottles. The novel of the month is paired with a featured wine that’s available at a special purchase price. The club has its own Facebook page with more details.
- Sunday Sparkling Brunch at Old York Cellars in Ringoes pairs a trio of the winery’s sparkling wines with a platter full of brunch goodies plus a dessert. A table or outdoor cabana (with its own firepit) reservation is required to order brunch.
- Blue Cork Vineyards in Williamstown invites wine lovers out of the cold for adults-only Sip & Play Fridays through the end of February. They provide board games in the tasting room for guests to play while they warm up over wine. For those who want to play all day and get hungry, Blue Cork partners with a local pizzeria that delivers directly to your table in the tasting room.
Live Music & Entertainment
If music, art, or theater warms your heart, you’re in for a treat. Many of New Jersey’s wineries keep the live music going throughout the colder months, and a few have art or theater events.
- Music warms the heart. Add a little wine to that, and Iron Plow Vineyards in Columbus dials up the cozy most weekends. Grab a glass of Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, or Elderberry Wine (that Iron Plow playfully names Respect Your Elders), order some cheese and charcuterie, and enjoy. For extra warmth, get up and dance a bit.
- Enjoy dinner and a “Who Done It?” at Four Sisters Winery in Belvidere. The monthly interactive Murder Mystery event is paired with a formal wine tasting and a chicken parm dinner. Reservations are required for this ticketed event.
- In Cape May Court House, Jessie Creek Winery has live music from local musicians every Saturday and monthly art receptions throughout the winter months. The Gallery at Jessie Creek curates a rotating display of art. At the monthly reception featuring a new local artist, the winery offers a wine sample, light fare, and live music.
- If the occasional food truck is on site, order some food to pair with one of Autumn Lake Winery’s wines and grab a table by the fireplace in the winery’s beautiful new(ish) tasting room (call ahead to reserve a table) that has stunning views of the lake and the sleeping vineyards. If there’s no food truck scheduled, bring your own snacks.
- Music and dancing? A definite warming duo. Laurita Winery in New Egypt will have you on your feet country line dancing or an 80s dance party this winter. These ticketed events usually sell out so it’s best to reserve tickets early. It’s also best to get to the winery early and fuel up with food from the Laurita Marketplace that pairs well with their wines.
- The Opera Galas at Tomasello Winery in Hammonton are known to be top notch and a fantastic bargain for entertainment and a four-course meal paired with wine all for one ticketed price. The next afternoon gala—which will feature thoughtfully selected operatic arias by artists from the Academy of Vocal Arts—is in March. Tickets are required.