On July 19th & 20th, New Jersey wine enthusiasts will get a chance to sample future award-winning vintages direct from the barrel of their favorite wineries when the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s Barrel Trail and Wine Tasting Weekend is held at participating wineries across the state.
The right soil conditions, grape varieties and weather play a large role in making good wine. A winemaker’s delicate touch steers the fruit towards his vision of what the wine should become. However, the character of the wine is also determined during the aging process while stored in barrels. The age of the barrel as well as the source of origin of the wood have dramatic effects on the final bottling.
“Barrel Trail Weekend is the best chance for NJ wine lovers to get firsthand experience with winemakers and learn about how the wine develops and evolves from when the grapes are harvested to when the wine is released,” says John Cifelli, the association’s executive director. “The weekend is educational and informative, but most of all it’s a lot of fun!”
Education indeed is a common theme across New Jersey winery tasting rooms, as association members actively develop the weekend’s events to demystify wine and make it more approachable. Travelers along the “Two Bridges” wine trail in southwest NJ, for example, will find that each participating winery is giving a short talk on a different phase in the wine making process to enhance the afternoon of wine tasting.
GSWGA members will open their barrel rooms so that patrons can get a sense of what future wines will taste like. In addition, many wineries will be debuting new releases. Some will feature vertical or library tastings, live music, and special food pairings. Visitors will get the opportunity to see how the winemakers test their wines as they age and what they must do to bring a wine to maturity.
No matter where in New Jersey you live, there is a winery in your neck of the woods! For the full list of participating wineries, costs to attend, and details of the special offerings at each location, visit the GSWGA site for a list of all upcoming events (with a countdown clock). The GSWGA has a full calendar of special opportunities to help you plan your visit to the rapidly increasing number of wineries across the state.
The GSWGA is a coalition of nearly 50 wineries and vineyards across New Jersey, dedicated to raising the quality and awareness of the New Jersey wine industry.