Well, I’ve finally made it to the bottom of my notes pile – the last winery visited during my summer wine excursions. Sitting here on a cold, dark, rainy November evening, the bright sunny July afternoon that Maree and I headed over to western New Jersey seems so long ago.
The last winery we visited that July afternoon was the Four Sisters Winery in Belvidere, New Jersey, about a 35 minute drive north of Alba Vineyards and Villa Milagro Vineyards. Heading up County Road 519, the scenery resembled the Midwest more than the Northeast – flat and lots and lots of corn. I don’t know why it surprised me as much as it did – maybe I’ve just become so used to traveling the back roads of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Four Sisters Winery is located in the heart of farm country, part of a 250-acre farm owned by Matty Matarazo. Matarazo planted his first grapes in 1981, and the winery opened in 1984, and throughout 2009 Four Sisters Winery has been celebrating their 25th Anniversary. The winery was named in honor of Matrazo’s four daughers, Robin, Serena, Melissa and Sadie, the “four sisters.” In addition to the winery, the farm produces a range of fruits and vegetables and operates a farm market in nearby Caldwell, NJ, home of the original farm established in 1921.
The winery is located in a ranch-style farmhouse. The front door leads into a small front room that houses a few gift items and the cash register/check-in area. Tastings are managed through the purchase of tickets – for $5 you can purchase 10 tickets, $3 will get you 5. Each ticket entitles you to one tasting. Despite my initial surprise at being handed 10 tickets, I must admit the system works – it was far easier for both the Tasting Room staff and me to keep track of how far I’d made it through my list.
And keeping track is important, as Four Sisters’ wine list includes a total of 25 wines: 8 whites, 2 rosés, 7 reds, 5 fruit wines, 1 sparkling wine, and 2 ports – rivaling DeGrazia Winery in Connecticut for the most extensive wine list I’ve found in my Win(e)ding Road travels to date. With a tasting that included up to 10 wines and a a rather crowded tasting room, I found the tickets a lot easier to manage than having to continuously review with the staff how far we’d gotten in the list.
In addition to their normal Tasting Room hours, Four Sisters hosts special events including their Murder Mystery Dinners every month May through October in which guests can enjoy great food, Four Sisters wines and participate in a murder mystery game on the winery grounds, monthly Barefoot Grape Stomping Events from May through September which are open to the public, and seasonal festivals such as the Harvest Festival and special events for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
In celebration of the holidays, tastings are free through the end of the year, and the winery remains open seven days a week 11 am – 6 pm through December except for holidays. The winery and gift shop have all of the Four Sisters wines available for purchase and also offer custom labels and gift baskets. Four Sisters wines can also be found in many liquor stores in northwestern New Jersey and their recently opened outlet in the Phillipsburg Mall.
But on that hot, sunny July afternoon, Maree and I weren’t thinking about holidays or gifts, just the wine. We each opted for the $5/10 tickets tasting, and because it was late in the day and we each had our choice of 10 wines, we didn’t bother coordinating selections. I kicked off my tasting with the first white on the list, the Seyval Reserve…
Continued on Tuesday, December 8th.
Four Sisters Winery
783 CR 519, 10 Doe Hollow Lane
Belvidere, NJ 07823