A dozen local wineries to be joined by farmers, artisan food vendors, agricultural dignitaries September 26 & 27
For over 30 years, “Jersey Fresh” has been synonymous with the best in NJ produce: local, fresh, and delicious. The Garden State Wine Growers Association embraces the theme at the annual Jersey Fresh Wine Festival, to be held September 26 & 27 at the Burlington County Fair Grounds in Columbus, NJ. This year’s event is touted as the state’s biggest and only wine-themed farmers market, with several farms selling late summer and early fall produce alongside the wineries. Guests of the event can taste hundreds of local wines and browse locally grown veggies, fall favorites like mums and cornstalks, and much more. This supplements regular appearances by dozens of vendors offering cheeses, honeys, nuts, spices, and other specialty products. The events give both in and out of state wine enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the rising quality of New Jersey wine, as well as the rapidly increasing number of local wineries.
The Jersey Fresh Wine Festival marks the end of New Jersey Wine Week, a 9 day celebration of the state’s wine grape harvest. During wine week, participating wineries, restaurants, bars, and liquor stores run various promotions or discounts of New Jersey wines. The promotion is a joint effort between the GSWGA and the NJ Department of Agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher will start the festival on the 26th with a welcome and opening remarks from the music stage. “We’re proud to have the greater agriculture community as supporters of the wine industry,” said John Cifelli, GSWGA Executive Director. “Every winery in NJ by law must have farmland, which guarantees that NJ wine is an authentic product. We are farmers first.”
Over 200 wines will be poured for tastings and sales from the wineries, which will come from as far north as Sussex County to Salem in the south. The Fair Grounds allow responsible consumption on the property, so attendees can enjoy their favorite wines on the lawn in front of the bands. On Saturday, the six piece classic and Blues rock band Mequite Honey promises to groove and move, and CrabDaddy, an NJ winery favorite will rock the stage on Sunday. The bands play shortly after the gates open each day, until the festival wraps up.
Besides the cornucopia of Jersey Fresh produce, patrons will be treated to delectable bites from food trucks like Brother Bear BBQ, the Empanada Guy, and Bounjour creperie, among others. The event is family friendly, with a crafts activity tent for kids to enjoy as well.
Tickets are $25 for adults; while those under 21 are free. Designated drivers receive entry for $5.00. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at a $5 discount, which is available through Friday the 25th. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass that can be used to sample the wines. The Burlington County Fairgrounds are located conveniently off of Route 206 in Columbus, and the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival will run from noon to 5 p.m. each day. Ticket information, a festival guide, and the full list of winery participants can be found by visiting www.newjerseywines.com.