A Surprise Treat – White Burgundy from Louis Latour

Maison Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne: A Vertical Flight ~ 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Ask any of my friends – or even regular readers of Vino Verve – and they will tell you “given a choice, Marguerite always prefers reds.”  Generally that is true, although now one could say “given a choice, Marguerite always prefers reds, unless she’s being offered Corton Charlemagne white burgundy.”

When Bernard Retornaz kicked off the seminar with the reds, he explained the decision to do so by noting that we had a special “extra” white that was being included in the Corton Charlemagne tasting, courtesy of Michael Apstein, which they were saving for the finish.  While no doubt the reason for the “flip”, it was a brilliant move because that day the whites outshone the reds and the tasting built like a crescendo culminating in several eyes-rolling-back-in-the-head, “oh my God” moments – with which I tormented Kevin by texting him every time I experienced one, knowing perfectly well he was sitting at home 800 miles away.

Maison Louis Latour’s Chateau Corton Charlemagne is a white burgundy made from chardonnay grapes.  Latour is the largest producer of Corton Charlemagne white burgundy, having approximately 25 acres under cultivation across the Corton Charlemagne region (roughly 400 acres spread out across several vineyards, the largest being Le Charlemagne vineyard).  The vineyards range across the hillside with some of the newer plantings on hillsides facing west/southwest rather than east like much of the rest of the Burgundy region, resulting in a greater diversity of styles across the region’s wines than one finds in other areas.

The tasting that morning consisted of four recent vintages, the 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002 – and a fifth “mystery glass,” which turned out to be the 1998 courtesy of Michael Apstein’s personal cellar.

Corton Charlemagne 2005 This was my first “OMG” eye-rolling moment of the day, and immediately upon tasting I thought, “wow, Gretchen needs to taste this.”  Like the other vintages, the color is a lovely, rich medium yellow that catches the light and sparkles in the glass.  The nose is soft and slightly nutty.  In the mouth, the wine is soft, nutty, and lightly buttery.  The mouth feel is lush with an almost creamy texture that provides depth and richness.  It’s a beautiful wine.  One of my comments that came back to me  as I reviewed my notes was that “it has a lick your lips finish.”  As I read that, I found myself remembering the creamy butter finish that did have me licking my lips at the end.  My absolute favorite from Louis Latour.

Corton Charlemagne 2004 Another eye-rolling, OMG moment here, and while it ran a very close second to the 2005 for being my pick of the day, in the end, for me, the 2005 took the top spot.  Very similar in color, the nose on the 2004 was noticeably different than the 2005, being soft, earthy with very discernible notes of green pepper, as opposed to the nuttiness of the 2005.  In the mouth, the wine wasn’t as soft, although in hindsight, I think what I was missing was the silky creaminess of the 2005.  I found the 2004 to be brighter, with stronger notes of citrus and a crisper, sharper finish than the 2005.  A gorgeous wine, and as mentioned above, I was hard-pressed to pick between the 2005 and 2004.  It was fascinating to taste them back-to-back and really experience the differences not only between vintages but also that the aging process can make on a wine.

The Corton Charlemagne wines are made the same way every year, with one primary difference being the amount of new oak they use in their barrels.  In 2004, the barrels were 60% new oak, which definitely contributed to the differences between the 2004 and either the 2005 and 2003.

Corton Charlemagne 2003 As I look back over my notes the first thing I see is a scribbled “not a fan.”  The 2003 shared the characteristics of the 2004 but, in my opinion, didn’t have the polish of the later vintage.  Perhaps it’s going through a closed period, perhaps it’s my palate, perhaps it’s a combination of both as well as other factors, but compared to the others, I wasn’t impressed.  The nose was soft and slightly grassy, and in the mouth, while creamier than the 2004, the notes of citrus are stronger, and there was a sharp bite and slightly bitter finish which I didn’t care for.  The mouth feel is soft but lacks the lushness I found in both the 2005 and 2004.  It’s still a lovely wine, and if I had tasted it on it’s own, I would undoubtedly be raving.  But against the 2004 and 2005?  No contest.

At the end of the seminar Retornaz took a quick informal survey of the room, asking us to vote for our favorite vintage from each flights.  Interestingly the 2003 received the most votes among the Corton Charlemagne fllight – which only goes to show how intensely personal wine tasting and wine choices are.

Corton Charlemagne 2002 Another beautiful wine.  Also a medium yellow, but slightly deeper and richer in color than the previous three.  The nose is very subtle, almost not present, with light earthy notes of grass and green pepper.  In the mouth the wine is soft and creamy with notes of vanilla and citrus which play off each other beautifully.  The finish is gorgeous – softly lingering with notes of toast and vanilla which develop in the mouth.

Corton Charlemagne 1998 The flight – and the seminar – ended with a fifth white, the 1998 Corton Charlemagne provided by Michael Apstein from his personal cellar.  It’s one of his favorite vintages, and he felt it would be an interesting contrast to taste an older vintage against the four more recent vintages provided as part of the seminar.  The color was a deep medium yellow, both darker and brighter than the previous four.  The nose was soft, light and buttery, and evoked that wonderful smell of hot buttered popcorn – one of my personal favorite scents.  The wine itself is buttery with a nice blend of earthiness and citrus and a lovely bite on the finish that gives it some character.  The mouth feel is fuller and richer than in the previous wines, and the 1998 really blossoms in the mouth.   A gorgeous wine, although it didn’t knock the 2005 off the top spot of the day.

As with the reds, I found myself wistfully thinking how lovely it would be to buy several bottles and cellar them to revisit over time, but alas it’s not in the budget this year.  I’d love to see how the 2005 develops – will it still have that same creaminess and “lick your lips” finish that I experienced that morning, or will it sharpen and become stronger and more earthy like the 2002?

While considered more affordable than many other Corton Charlemagne wines, these are not inexpensive, averaging around $100 a bottle, which makes seminars like these not only a bargain but a great opportunity.

For more information about Corton Charlemagne and the Louis Latour wines, there’s an excellent article by Michael Apstein in Wine Review Online.

Life Has a Nasty Habit of Interfering

Maison Louis Latour ~ Corton Grancy A Vertical Flight: 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

I’ve sat down numerous times over the last few months to write up this and several other posts, and each time walked away with nothing worth posting – too tired, too uninspired, too whatever…  I started out 2010 with great plans – trips to both the Boston Wine Expo and the Sun Winefest, stops at a few of the Connecticut wineries I had yet to visit, and monthly tours of local wineries with my newest wine-trail buddies the “Sisters of the Connecticut Wine Trail” (Cheryl, Deb, Jean & Melissa) fondly referred to by us as SOTs..

Ah well, it’s always nice to dream…  Truth is the past few months have been intensely busy at work, and if I wasn’t working over the weekends, I was so exhausted by Saturday that it took all I had to do housework, laundry and grocery shopping before curling up for a long nap on the couch.

I haven’t stopped by a winery since mid-January, the date of the last SOTs outing, and it appears I never actually ordered the tickets for the Winefest seminar I thought I had signed up for.   Ah, but I still had Boston…

Back in December, I signed up for two seminars at the 2010 Boston Wine Expo, “Corton Charlemagne and Corton Grancy: The Grand Crus of Maison Louis Latour” and “Alain Junguenet: A Collection of 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Super Cuvées.”  Both were expensive, but it’s not often that I get a chance to taste wines of this caliber.  And best of all, I actually ordered the tickets instead of just thinking that I ordered the tickets.

I had learned from previous trips to both the Boston Wine Expo (2007) and the Sun Winefest (2009) that I don’t enjoy the Grand Tastings.  I don’t like crowds in the best of situations, and very crowded rooms full of people quickly on their way to being totally smashed is my idea of a fun and relaxing afternoon.  So rather than spending my afternoon fighting my way through the crowds in the Grand Tasting, I treated myself to two seminars – and were they worth it!

Chateau Corton Grancey 1996 / label courtesy of Maison Louis Latour website

My day kicked off with the Maison Louis Latour Grand Cru.  Maison Louis Latour is one of the great domaines of Burgundy; established in the 18th century and still family owned, Latour celebrated their bicentenary in 1997.  The seminar was hosted by Bernard Retornaz, President of Louis Latour, Inc, with panelists Michael Apstein, formerly the wine critic for the Boston Globe, now of WineReviewOnline.com, and Sandy Glock, wine director for Legal Seafoods.

Together the three presented us with two vertical flights of the Corton Charlemagne and the Corton Grancey, two of the largest Grand Crus in Burgundy.  Despite being unable to hear pretty much anything the panel said (the room wasn’t miked), from the first taste I knew this seminar was worth every penny I paid for it.   It is not often that I get a chance to taste wines like these.  As I look back over my notes, I see words like “beautiful,” “lush,” “complex,” and “sublime” being used repeatedly.

Retornaz started us off with the flight of reds, Corton Grancey.  Latour is one of the largest owners of Grancey red in Burgundy, with more than 42 acres of pinot noir under cultivation.  The flight consisted of the 2005, 2002, 1999 and 1996 vintages, all made by the same winemaker, and all aged in the same barrels.  Latour is one of the few houses that still makes all their own barrels, which they’ve been doing for more than 100 years.

Corton Grancey 2005 One of the first things I noticed upon arriving was how all of the wines seemed to sparkle in the glasses.  Even the reds, rich and dark, have a jewel tone to them that catches the light.  The 2005 is a medium garnet color with just a hint of sparkle when it catches the light.  The nose is spicy and earthy, with a slight acid bite which I felt in the back of my nose.  In the mouth, the wine is bright with light notes of cherry and a nice acid finish.  Overall, the wine is very smooth with a long lingering finish and an intriguing bit of peppery heat at the end.

One of the few panelist comments I was able to hear was Martin Apstein’s initial thoughts about the Grancey wines, which he described as “expanding in the mouth.”  A very apt description.  The more I savored and lingered over the 2005, the more interesting I found it.  Palates more sophisticated than mine will undoubtedly pull out a wide variety of flavors.  As for me, other than the light note of cherry, I found the rest to be elusive – which truthfully I found more intriguing.  Subsequent tastes brought out the earthy spiciness that I had first noticed in the nose, but just as I thought I had pinned down a particular note it blended into the next note.

Corton Grancey 2002 One of the things I like about vertical flights is the chance to taste the evolution of a wine.  One of the first things I noticed about the 2002 was that the color, while also a medium garnet, was deeper and richer than the 2005.  The nose was softer with a spicy earthiness but with more of the rich earthiness and less of the sharp spiciness of the 2005.  The wine is smooth, rich and complex, and the notes of cherry develop in the mouth over time.  The wine still retains the spicy earthiness that I found in the 2005, but it’s tempered – more subtle with a long, soft finish that I found absolutely divine.

Corton Grancey 1999 Wines that are designed to be aged for years will go through both open and closed stages, and Retornaz indicated that the 1999 is currently going through a closed stage.  Also a medium-garnet color, the 1999 was duskier than the other three, it had more of a matte finish, less of the jewel-tone that I found in the 2005, 2002 or 1996.  The nose was extremely soft, although there were still discernible notes of the spicy earthiness that appears to be one of the hallmarks of the Corton Grancey.  In the mouth, the wine was bright and smokey, with much stronger notes of cherry and dark berries than I found in either of the two previous wines.  If I was doing a blind tasting, I probably would have said this was a young wine; I didn’t find it as complex or robust as either the 2005 or 2002.  It was a fascinating contrast, and probably the most educative moment of the day for me.

Corton Grancey 1996 The oldest of the four wines presented in the flight, the 1996 was also the darkest in color, a rich, dusky garnet.  The nose also differed from the previous three.  Where they had an earthy spiciness to the nose, the 1996 was richer with an almost loamy earthiness – the spice remained, but it was a deeper, smokier spiciness.  The wine has a very soft, lush mouth feel, and overall I found it to be deeper, richer and more complex than the previous wines.  It retains the light notes of cherry, but they are very subtle, and the spiciness is smoother than in the other three.  Upon tasting this wine, I realized that the other three had stronger notes of pepper – although, interestingly, I needed the contrast with the 1996 to really notice the pepper in the others.  The spiciness here was more that of cumin – a lovely smoky, earthy warmth, rather than the spicy heat of pepper.   Finally, the 1996 develops over time – unlike the previous three which really did “expand in the mouth” as Michael Apstein described, the 1996 developed with each subsequent sip, as if the layering of flavors is what brings this wine alive.

I’m still hard-pressed to choose between any of the four, but I did find myself preferring the 2002 and the 1996 over the 2005 and 1999.  Of course the best way to determine my preference would be to get several bottles of each and revisit them over time.  At $50-$90 a bottle, though, my memories from the seminar will have to sustain me for now.

Next up… A vertical flight of Latour’s  Corton Charlemagne

2nd Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Saturday morning did, indeed, find Christy and me heading north to Wilmington, Vermont and the 2nd Annual Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival.   We couldn’t have asked for a better day; the weather was absolutely perfect with the deep blue skies highlighting the trees which were beginning to paint the hills in the vibrant reds, golds and oranges of a New England Autumn.

After breakfasting on eggs, pancakes and fantastic bacon and sausages from Vermont Smoke & Cure, we headed over to the wine festival, which we found somewhat disappointing.  First, it was a lot smaller than I expected, with only six wineries and one distillery represented (there are approximately 20 wineries in the state).

Second, despite paying an admission fee for the festival, there were additional charges for tastings, which took us by surprise.  We anticipated fees for glasses of wine, but expected the tastings to be included with the price of admission as they have been at other festivals.  Granted the tastings were only $1 or $2 for a sampling of 3-5 wines, but it still struck a wrong note.  Later in the day Christy discovered that state law prohibits vendors from giving away alcohol, and so to get around that the festival requires wineries to charge a small tasting fee.  I gather the admission fee doesn’t “count” under Vermont state law.  I just wish that had been clearly advertised.

Despite being open for several hours by the time we arrived, the crowds were still manageable, and we were able to make our way through the wine and food tent without a lot of waiting in line.  Two of our favorite finds were the Eden Ice Cider (sublime) and the Sapling Vermont Maple Liqueur (very sweet, but quite interesting).

The rest of the day included  a visit to the local weekend flea market & antiques fair, a stroll through downtown Wilmington (and purchase of maple candies and cookies for Christy’s fiancée, Jeff), and a leisurely drive into the Green Mountain National Forest to see the foliage.   We ended the day at The Hermitage Inn with a wine and cheese reception featuring local artisanal cheeses and the wines of Boyden Valley Winery.  The event, hosted by winemaker David Boyden, was held in the Inn’s wine cellar and featured five Boyden Valley Wines (2 whites and 3 reds) and 7 local artisanal cheeses.  We enjoyed all the wines, with the Big Barn Red and Riverbend Red being the favorites.  Among the cheeses the Boucher Family Farm Gore Dawn ZolaTaylor Farm Smoked Maple Gouda, and Lakes End Champlain Chevre were my favorites.  All in all a relaxed and relaxing event, and a perfect end to the day.

Celebrating New Jersey Wines and the Fall Harvest

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

The Garden State Wine Growers Association is sponsoring two upcoming wine festivals, including, for the first time, one in the New York Metropolitan area!

First up is the SIPtember Wine Festival, being held next weekend, September 26-27, at Essex County’s Brookdale Park in Bloomfield.  Featuring more than 250 New Jersey wines from 25 of the states award-winning wineries, the festival also includes live music, local artisans, gourmet food vendors and activities for the kids.  The event is co-sponsored by the Essex County Department of Parks and $5 of the $25 admission price will be donated to the Essex County Parks Foundation.

The Festival runs from 12-5 both days; admission is $25 for adults and free for those under 21.  Brookdale Park is off the Garden State Parkway close to both the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel; for driving directions, consult the Brookdale Park website.   On Facebook?  Check out the festival’s event page.

Wine Glass Page Break

The following weekend, October 3-4, the festivities – and the festival – move west when Alba Vineyards, New Jersey’s 2009 Winery of the Year, once again plays host to more than 20 New Jersey wineries for the 2009 Grand Harvest Festival.

Alba Vineyards, Milford, New Jersey / Photo: Marguerite T. BarrettIn addition to the wines, the Festival will also feature live music, artisan vendors and foods from local restaurants.  Activities for kids are also planned, including face painting and a moon bounce.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets and picnics and plan on spending a lovely Fall afternoon on the hillside vineyards behind the winery.

The Festival runs from 12-5 both Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are $20 at the gate or $18 if purchased in advance.   Milford is just over an hour from New York or Philadelphia; driving directions can be found on the Alba Vineyards website.

There’s More to a New England Autumn Than the Trees

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Fall is a great time to be in New England: the crisp autumn days, the clear blue skies, and the trees decked out in those glorious reds, oranges and golds.  Despite moving here for all of those reasons, I, unlike the hundreds of people who trek north each Fall for long weekends in Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine, haven’t really taken advantage of all New England has to offer.  Until now.  I am officially declaring that this Fall I am turning over a new leaf  ~ preferably a red one ~ beginning next weekend with a trip to the Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival.

Vermont Life Wine & Food Festival logo courtesy of official festival website

Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival logo courtesy of official festival website

Saturday morning should find me heading two hours north to the Mount Snow Valley in southern Vermont for a day-long celebration of all things locavore and locapour, set amid the lush New England countryside.

First stop will be Jacksonville and the “Indigenous Vermonter Breakfast,” which is being served until 11; a plus, as leaf turning doesn’t include hitting the road at the crack of dawn.  I’m not exactly sure what is included in said breakfast, but given that it’s sponsored by Vermont Smoke & Cure, I anticipate an abundance of local hams and sausages, and, of course, the pièce de résistance, Vermont Maple Syrup.  Yum!  As Winnie the Pooh would say, “I have a rumbly in my tumbly” just thinking about it.

After breakfast it’s a short jaunt down the road to Wilmington to work off as many of those breakfast calories as possible touring the Festival grounds.  Sponsored by Vermont Life magazine, the festival is billed as the state’s “Official Wine and Food Festival.”  Now in it’s second year, the festival features wines produced by many of the state’s 20+ wineries, as well as local foods, crafts, music and cooking demonstrations by Vermont chefs.  Later in the afternoon, the nearby Inn at Sawmill Farm is hosting a wine and cheese pairing featuring the wines of Shelburne Farms Vineyards.

At this point, I’ll likely be pointing the car south and heading home, but for those interested in making a night – or a weekend – of it, five local restaurants are hosting Vermont Wine Pairing Dinners.  Ranging between $100 and $120 per person, the dinners feature 3-5 courses paired with carefully selected local wines.

A weekend pass costs $40 and will get you into the Vermont Bluegrass BBQ which kicks off the festival on Friday evening, and into the Festival grounds on both Saturday and Sunday. One-day passes to the BBQ and festival grounds can be purchased for $15.  The Indigenous Vermonter Breakfasts (Saturday and Sunday) and the Vermont Wine & Cheese Reception and the Wine Pairing Dinners (Saturday) require separate admission.

For full details, including links to pre-purchase tickets to any or all of the events, check out the festival website.

New Jersey “Jazz It Up” Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

SEPTEMBER 5TH & 6TH

NEW JERSEY’S “JAZZ IT UP WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL”

Hosted by the Garden State Winegrower’s Association

Allaire Village

Allaire State Park

Farmingdale, NJ

On the grounds of the historic Allaire Village, the Garden State Winegrower’s association is hosting the Jazz It Up Wine and Food Festival over Labor Day weekend.

More than 25 New Jersey wineries will be on hand pouring more than 200 local wines.  Included among the attendees will be Alba Winery, 2009 New Jersey Winery of the Year,  and Governor’s Cup winners Tomasello Winery, Heritage Vineyards, and Pagido Winery.   Featured musical artists include The Gambone Project with Vel Johnson on Saxophone (Saturday) and Jazz in Pastel, a quartet led by Buzz Saylor on drums (Sunday).

Adding to the adventure is the setting, the historic Allaire Village, a 19th-century Industrial Iron-Producing Community.  While sampling the local wines and food festivalgoers can step back in time as they stroll through the village grounds.

The festival runs from 12-5 both Saturday and Sunday; admission is $20, and there is a $5 car park fee.  Farmingdale is roughly 90 minutes from both New York and Philadelphia; detailed directions can be found on the Allaire Village website.

Shoreline Wine Festival (Connecticut) ~ 8.15 – 8.16

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Saturday 8.15.09 (12-7 pm) and Sunday 8.16.09 (12-6 pm),

Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut is hosting the

3rd Annual SHORELINE WINE FESTIVAL

Featured wineries include the host winery, Bishop’s Orchard, Chamard, Jonathan Edwards, White Silo, Jones Family, and Hopkins.

In addition to the wines, the festival will feature food and produce from local restaurants and farms, arts & crafts, and live music.

Bishop’s Orchards & Winery is located in Guilford, Connecticut, just minutes from I-95 off exit 57.  15 miles east of New Haven, Guildford is an easy day trip from New York (90 miles) and Southern New England.

New Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

On Saturday, August 8th (12-5) and Sunday, August 9th (12-5) join The Garden State Wine Growers Association for the

Jersey Fresh Food and Wine Festival

The festival will feature wines from 20 New Jersey wineries along with locally grown food and arts & crafts.

The event is being held at Heritage Vineyards (480 Mullica Hill Road (Rte 322), Richwood, NJ 08074 Phone: 856-589-4474 ).  Heritage Vineyards, owned and operated by the Heritage family, has been producing award-winning wines since 2001.

Richwood is located in the Southwestern corner of New Jersey, close to Philadelphia, and about 2 hours from New York city.

Connecticut Wine Festival – August 1st and 2nd

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Have you been thinking about trying some Connecticut wines, but are not sure where to start?

Are you interested in being more of a locavore, or rather, locapour?

Or are you simply a fan of Connecticut wines?

If you can answer yes to any – or all – of these, then the

CT Wine Festival Logo / Source: CT Wine Festival Website

is the place for you!

Saturday, August 1st 12-7 and Sunday, August 2nd 12-6, more than 20 Connecticut Wineries will be gathering at the Goshen Fairgrounds.  In addition to the wineries, there will be booths featuring local arts & crafts as well as specialty foods, and local musicians will be performing throughout the day.   This year, the festival also allows purchases of bottles and cases of wine directly from the wineries.

General Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  You can also purchase a 2-day pass for $40.   Admission is only $10 for designated drivers and those under 21.  Advance tickets may be purchased onsite at any of the following wineries:

Jones Winery, Shelton, CT
White Silo Winery, Sherman, CT
Hopkins Vineyard, Warren, CT
Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT
Miranda Vineyard, Goshen, CT
Land of Nod, Canaan, CT
Rosedale Farms & Vineyard, Simsbury, CT
Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford, CT
Priam Vineyards, Colchester, CT
Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Pomfret, CT
Jonathan Edwards Winery, North Stonington, CT
Chamard Vineyards, Clinton, CT
Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT

or by calling 860-677-5467 between 9 and 3 Monday-Friday (a 50 cent handling fee will be applied to all phone orders, and phone orders will be accepted until 7.24.09 only.  American Express is not accepted for phone orders).

Near New Jersey This Weekend? Take a Walk on the Vine Side…

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

On Saturday and Sunday (July 11th and 12th), the Garden State Winegrowers Association will be hosting their annual “Walk In The Vineyards” Festival.

Garden State Wine Growers' Association Logo / Source: www.newjerseywines.comThe Festival, which runs each day between 12 and 5, invites visitors to sample new vintages and take a tour of the winery and the vineyards.  Some of the wineries may have other events planned as well as part of the Festival.   If you’re new to winery visits, a Festival can be a great way to discover new wines, as well as a whole new side to your local region or state.

Most of New Jersey’s wineries are close enough to be a day trip from New York or Philadelphia, and fall within clusters, so no matter where you start within the State, you should be able to plan a trip that includes several wineries in a single day.   For a full listing and map of the wineries, check out the Garden State Winegrower’s Association website; most, but not all, of the wineries are participating in the Festival, so it’s wise to check the wineries’ websites or call ahead to confirm hours and festival participation.

And while you’re there, pick up a Passport to New Jersey Wineries.  Similar to the Passport to Connecticut Farm Wineries program, the New Jersey Passport allows you to collect stamps from each winery you visit.  At the end of the season turn in your passport for a chance to win an 8-day trip through French wine country.