If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that last year, I wrote quite a bit about the New Jersey wine shipping bill. Until just a few days ago, New Jersey wineries couldn’t ship wines in or out of the state, and New Jersey residents couldn’t have wine shipped to their homes (with a few exceptions). After a long legal battle, the state’s legislatures voted earlier this year to allow wine shipping in New Jersey. The law went into effect on May 1.
One of my arguments for allowing wine shipping was that it would increase tourism to the state. People from out of state are much more likely to visit a wine region where they can have the wines shipped to their homes than they are where they can simply taste, perhaps buy a bottle or two, and never have the wines again.
The South Jersey Tourism Corp understands this, too. Now that wine shipping is legal, they’ve quickly seized the opportunity to invite wine lovers to visit Vintage South Jersey where the Outer Coastal Plain grows really wonderful grapes. The new website went live today, and it has a growing wealth of information about visiting the region to drink at its wineries.
The Outer Coastal Plain is an official American Viticultural Area, or AVA, an official grape-growing designated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. To be designated an AVA, a region must prove its “identity as a unique physiographic region and as a region that is beneficial to grape growing.”
South Jersey’s climate is indeed beneficial for grape-growing, and the region now has more than 30 wineries and commercial vineyards. I’ve tasted the wines from many of them (like the wines of Auburn Road Vineyards that I wrote about today on my South Jersey Locavore blog), and I can tell you that we have many wonderful wines here in New Jersey. I can also tell you that each year our wines get better.
If you’re within a couple of hours' drive from South Jersey and you’re looking for a weekend getaway, you need to seriously consider coming here and traveling one of our wine trails. The Vintage South Jersey website can help you find wineries, lodging, restaurants (South Jersey has many great BYOBs where you can carry in a bottle of wine you bought that day to enjoy with your meal), and other cultural and entertainment attractions.
I know this probably sounds like I’ve been paid by the South Jersey Tourism Corp to write about the region’s wineries, but I haven’t. I’m simply excited about the opening of my region’s wineries, many of which practice environmental and sustainable viticulture, to the nation as a whole. Up until now, I haven’t reviewed New Jersey wines here on MNN because I knew that 99 percent of my readers didn’t have access to them. Now that you will have access to them, be on the lookout for upcoming New Jersey wine reviews.
Also on MNN: 8 more eco-friendly East Coast wineries