“Wine is Sunlight held together by water.”
This past Sunday was my birthday. To celebrate, my husband and I went on a trolley tour of 5 local wineries. Wineries in S. Jersey? Yes, indeed. There are close to 50 wineries in the state of New Jersey–and more appear each year.
The trolley tour was a fun way to visit several wineries in one day—and to sample their wines! The tour lasted about six hours, and it included a lunch stop. We began and ended at the Cedarvale Winery, where we were each given a tote bag with dividers in it to hold 6 wine bottles, a wine tasting glass, and admonitions to drink plenty of water, eat, and pace ourselves throughout the day. Although each winery produces a variety of wines—white, red, sweet–each winery/vineyard has its own unique character and wines. Some of the places, such as Heritage Vineyards, the oldest winery in the group we visited, are wineries that found a new way to sustain family farmlands.
The wineries we visited were:
Auburn Road Vineyard and Winery, Pilesgrove, NJ
Cedarvale Winery, Logan Township, NJ
Heritage Vineyards, Mullica Hill, NJ
Monroeville Vineyard and Winery, Monroeville, NJ
Wagonhouse Winery, Swedesboro, NJ
It was a particularly fun time to visit the wineries because each was decorated for the holiday season. Some of the tasting rooms had fireplaces and included warmed spiced apple wine in their samples of wine to taste. But I imagine the tours would be fun at any time of year.
We learned that sweet, fruity wines are very popular in S. Jersey. Although they do not particularly appeal to me, I’m pleased they are made from the locally grown fruit—apples, blueberries, peaches, and even tomatoes. Wine is indeed sunlight held together by water.
In the musical, The Sound of Music, the oldest Von Trapp daughter, Liesl, who is “sixteen going on seventeen,” sings, “I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne.” I don’t remember at what age I first tasted wine. I imagine I was a teenager, and it was Manischewitz at a Passover Seder–which probably kept me from drinking wine for a long time. During college we had some wine and cheese nights. We ate some good cheese from the local farmer’s market, and some mostly not-so-good cheap wine from the local state store. We were young, foolish, and knew nothing about wine.
My parents were not really wine drinkers. We didn’t have wine in the house regularly. Perhaps they drank some in restaurants, or had some on special occasions. It was the era of cocktails—not that my parents drank cocktails at home either. (If you read my blog regularly, then you probably know food has always been my family’s drug of choice. We love to eat. When we’re not eating, we’re talking about food and eating, or we’re planning what we’re going to eat next. Well. . .maybe that’s just me.) But when my parents went out, I assume they drank cocktails. They used to go to one nightclub in Dallas, and when their vocalist friend, Enrico, was in town, they would take my little sister and me to see him. My dad ordered “Shirley Temples” for us, and we felt grown up.
So wine. Yeah, I enjoy it, but I’m not an expert. I don’t have a wine cellar, like some dear friends have. I don’t order cases of my favorite wines. But I suppose I’ve developed a more sophisticated palate over the years. I’ve also learned that red wine and dark chocolate are pretty amazing together. (See? It all comes back to food.)
In vino veritas? I don’t know that wine has brought me truth, but perhaps the truth is out there. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) In any case, you might want to have a glass of wine while you ponder truth, or the meaning of life. Or you might simply want to say, L’chaim, to life, as you raise your glass—and then eat, of course. Thanks for reading!