CREAM RIDGE, N.J. — The Garden State Wine Growers Association, a non-profit organization of New Jersey-based wineries, vineyards, and allied businesses, hosted a Zoom presentation April 30, 2021 on the history of the Blaufränkisch/Lemberger grape by noted wine grape geneticist Dr. José Vouillamoz, best known for his foundational contribution to Wine Grapes. In addition to his talk about the history and unique characteristics of the grape Dr. Vouillamoz also conducted a tasting of five New Jersey Blaufränkisch wines with the assembled media.
During the hour’s presentation, moderated by international wine communications expert David Furer who was joined by 15 journalists, Dr. Vouillamoz said that the first written mention of Blaufränkisch harkened to 1862 in Vienna, Austria though revealing its geographic origin to be from Slovenia, then within Austria’s empire. He also discussed how Blaufränkisch got its name because of the blue tint of the grape skin.
“We were extremely honored to have someone of the stature and expertise of Dr. Vouillamoz join us for this presentation on a grape that is being successfully grown here in New Jersey across our various soil conditions and micro-climate regions,” said Tom Cosentino, Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. “His talk was highly informative, and we are happy to now make this video available to anyone that wants to view it on our YouTube channel and website and delighted that it will appear on Dr. Vouillamoz’ website as well.”
“It was an exciting discovery for me as for the first time, I had Blaufränkisch wine from New Jersey,” noted Dr. Vouillamoz in his final words to the media. “I’m really excited. Congratulations to all the producers. The result is really fantastic and fascinating.”
Bellview Winery in Landisville, NJ was one of the earliest New Jersey wineries to plant Blaufränkisch producing their first vintage in 2001. Owner Jim Quarella has been impressed with its quality.
“Blaufränkisch has proven to one of our premier red wine grape varieties,” said Quarella. “It has produced consistent quality grapes through varying seasonal conditions. The wine is very approachable, pairs with many types of food and can be consumed young yet has great aging potential.”
The wines tasted included four Blaufränkisch wines produced from wineries in the sandy loam soil of the Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area (AVA), located in the southeastern portion of the state. The Outer Coastal Plain AVA extends from Monmouth County down through South Jersey and includes the sub-AVA of Cape May Peninsula and is the largest of New Jersey’s four AVAs. A fifth Blaufränkisch hailed from Hunterdon County, an area with a higher elevation that the ‘OCP’, yet not contained within a designated AVA.
The five wines tasted were from:
Bellview Winery, Landisville 2016
Beneduce Vineyards, Pittstown Blu 2 2017
Cedar Rose Vineyards, Millville 2016
Sharrott Winery, Hammonton 2019
Terra Nonno Winery & Vineyard, Millville 2018
Winemakers/owners participating in the presentation were: Mike Beneduce, Beneduce Vineyards, Jim and Scott Quarella, Bellview Winery, Dustin Tarpine, Cedar Rose Vineyards, and Larry Sharrott, Sharrott Winery.
–Tom Cosentino, Garden State Wine Growers Association