ALEXANDRIA TWP., N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the Garden State Wine Growers Association highlighted New Jersey Wine Week with a visit to Beneduce Vineyards in Hunterdon County. As farm wineries around New Jersey continue their weekly activities with the holiday season approaching, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher and the Wine Growers Association encourage consumers to visit a winery, restaurant featuring New Jersey wines or neighborhood liquor store to purchase local wines.
Gov. Murphy officially proclaimed New Jersey Wine Week on Nov. 12-18 by signing a proclamation honoring the wine industry for being a growing contributor to the state’s economy.
“The New Jersey wine industry continues to grow in quantity and quality with wines that are consistently recognized for winning national and international competitions,” Secretary Fisher said. “With so many vineyards around the state producing such outstanding wine, this is a great time to visit a local winery and sample these wines while enjoying the open space and the time with friends and family.”
Many wineries held weekend events, including: Music and Wine Night at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards in Pennington on Nov. 16; Food Truck Friday on Nov. 16 at the White Horse Winery in Hammonton; Cape May Winery Happy Hour on Nov. 16; Fire Pit Friday on Nov. 16 at Willow Creek Farm in West Cape May; a Holiday Appetizer Party on Nov. 17 at the Villa Milagro Vineyards in Phillipsburg; the Wine and Music Series at Summit City Winery in Glassboro on Nov. 17; the Autumn Artisan Market at Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes on Nov. 17; a live music weekend at Iron Plow Vineyards in Columbus on Nov.17; live music at the Sharrott Winery in Winslow Township on Nov. 17; and Yoga at the Winery at Brook Hollow Winery in Columbia on Nov. 18.
One of the country’s top wine producers with 1.5 million gallons produced in 2016, New Jersey is home to more than 50 licensed wineries.
“The New Jersey wine industry has continued its growth by strengthening its reputation for producing wines that are recognized across the country and around the world,” said Tom Cosentino, Garden State Wine Growers Association Executive Director. “The support of the Department of Agriculture continues to enhance our brand as we work together to increase consumer participation and elevate the perception of New Jersey wines.”
Beneduce Vineyards is owned by the Beneduce family and managed by winemaker Mike Beneduce Jr. One of the state’s younger wineries, they are members of both the industry-wide Garden State Wine Growers Association, as well as the Winemaker’s Co-Op, a smaller group of producers focused on crafting dry wines made from NJ grown grapes.
“Along with customers enjoying high quality, locally made wine, we want a visit to our farm to be a family experience that everyone can enjoy,” Mike Beneduce Jr. said. “It’s been a very rewarding experience to be a part of the growth of the wine industry in the Garden State and to see our own wines, as well as other wines produced in New Jersey, recognized as among the best in the United States and the world.”
The Beneduce family purchased a 51-acre farm in Pittstown in 2000 to supply their retail garden center, Great Swamp Greenhouses in Gillette. Since then, they’ve planted over 20 acres of grapevines on a sunny hillside at the top of the property and transformed a large storage barn into a 7,000 square-foot winery.
Beneduce Vineyards recently participated in the American Wine Revolution, hosted by international wine critic James Suckling, in which 10 separate New Jersey wineries each earned at least one 90-point score. Beneduce Vineyard’s 2015 Pinot Noir earned a 93-point score, making it the highest scoring Pinot Noir in the entire tasting of over 800 wines. Beneduce also scored 92 points for “Blue 2,” the winery’s signature red wine made from the Blaufränkisch grape. Working Dog Winery in Robbinsville joined Beneduce as the two New Jersey wineries to score 90 points or better with each of their four wines submitted.
For a list of New Jersey wineries and regular events that take place at wineries throughout the state go to www.newjerseywines.com.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture