When you think of award-winning wine, you may think of Bordeaux or Tuscany or Napa. However, some of the best wineries in America are actually based in….New Jersey!
New Jersey ranks in the top 10 states for wine production, producing over 1.6 million gallons of wine per year. The Garden State produces over 40 varieties of fine wines, which regularly win awards across the United States and internationally.
Just in the last 2 years, New Jersey wines have won the gold and double gold at the 2015 Finger Lakes International and San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competitions and the 2014 Indianapolis International and San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competitions.
New Jersey wines are good and we reviewed one of the best wineries for you to visit on your next trip.
Cream Ridge Winery
Over the Labor Day weekend, we visited the Cream Ridge Winery in Monmouth County and this rustic family-owned establishment quickly became the highlight of our trip.
Cream Ridge Winery was founded in 1988 by Joan and Tom Amabile, and for the last 27 years, the Amabile family has been producing dozens of fine wines, including their award-winning Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc.
They’ve excelled at keeping the soul of the business intact: family-owned, locally produced wines, infused with fresh fruits. They are heavily focused on sustainability and even share their profits with local farmers.
Their tour took us through the cellar and the grounds, and ended in the tasting room with our cheerful guide telling us the history of the winery, as well as stories of the late founder, Tom.
Cream Ridge is best known for its dessert wines, with the AlmondBerry being their top seller. Their wines combine flavours from fruits like mango, kiwi and blackberry, so they tend to be on the sweeter side.
In addition to fruit wines, the Cream Ridge Winery produces red wines, white wines and blush wines. Their list of wines change weekly, so it would be a good idea to check them before planning a trip. They are among the rare breed of wineries which have kept their sampling price very low – only $5 for tasting up to 10 wines.
In addition to the 20+ varieties of wines they produce, Cream Ridge frequently hosts events like “Yoga & Pizza” nights, Vineyard, Wine & Cheesecake Pairings, and the Finish Wine Bicycle Rally. Over the Summer and Fall, they have live music on the front porch – perfect for a relaxed Saturday in the Jersey countryside.
The hostess and the staff are refreshingly friendly, funny and kind – making the experience even more memorable. They are also very knowledgeable about their wines, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Cream Ridge Winery’s wines are creative, clean and delicious, but may not suit the palates of wine snobs who prefer the classics. Still, if you are looking to enjoy a sunny day in the relaxed Jersey countryside, you may not find a better winery than Cream Ridge.
Cream Ridge Winery (Monmouth County)
145 Route 539
Cream Ridge, New Jersey
Visit their website
Open Mon – Sat (11am to 6pm) and Sun (11am to 5pm).