Friday, January 12, 2007

US Wine Production Explosion: Is NJ in the Mix?

When you think of US wine production, the first thing that pops into your head is likely California, right? Maybe more specifically Napa or Sonoma. So what are the other 4 states in the top 5 for US wine production? Depending on how long you’ve been drinking wine, and how much you read about it, you may be able to guess a few. And the reason for that is because wine production in this country has just absolutely exploded. All 50 of the United States are now producing wine. In addition, since 1995 the number of wineries nationwide has gone from 1,187 to nearly 4,000. That is just incredible growth! Could that have something to do with the fact that more US consumers are buying wine (see my post below “To the Moon Alice”). Anyway back to the point of this post.

I’m willing to bet that some of the top 5 would likely never cross your mind. I’ll tell you what they are, but you have to promise that if you haven’t had a bottle from one of the states I’m about to mention, you will go out and buy one in the next few weeks and post your thoughts on it here.

So you got California (#1), big deal. And maybe you know that Washington (#3) produces some wine you’ve tried. And of course, if you live in the tri-state area you know that New York’s (#4) Long Island (my old stomping grounds) is known for its east end vineyards. Yeah, hmmm, now where do you go? Well, Oregon (#2) has risen on the scene and is producing some beautiful wines from chateaus such as Bethel Heights Vineyards, Adea Winery and Elk Cove. Now who the heck is #5? Here’s a hint…the HBO hit The Sopranos often does a good job of making this state look sketchy. That’s right, New Jersey is the #5 wine producing state in the nation. Are you surprised? Don’t be.

According to the NJ Dept of Agriculture, New Jersey has approximately 30 wineries in 10 of the state's 21 counties, on 2,000 acres of land - that number is growing rapidly. It is expected that by 2007 the state will have around 40 wineries and from the number of inquiries, there will be a steady increase for the next few years. What’s more impressive is that even in our climate and geologically diverse state, there are more than 40 varieties now growing here - from Pinot Noir and Riesling in the North, to some of the more popular Italian varieties such as Sangiovese and Barbera in the South.

Apparently though, NJ wineries are not completely unknown. The state's wine industry has received many awards locally, nationally and internationally.

So go out and support your local wineries, NJ residents. There are plenty of vineyards to visit. If you’re interested, visit the Garden Stat Wine Grower’s Association website at ( And for crying out loud, grab yourself a bottle of some local juice and support your local wineries.

That’s all for now. Remember to swirl, sniff and swig. Cheers!


Sergeant-At-Arms said...

I've been to Alba, Unionville and Amwell Valley. I recommend all of them.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

Can we get a review of wines from N.J. vineyards? I'd like to know which bottles you recommend.

The Vine Guy said...

Sure thing Sarge. We will be doing some NJ wine reviews soon...stay tuned.

Vox Populi said...

Have you folks heard about the event in October when a Cabernet from Amalthea Cellars in Atco NJ won top honors in a blind taste test organized by the Dionysian Club in Philadelphia, PA.

Use the address below for an account of the event: