Spring is here, and nothing pairs better with fresh air and sunshine than great wine, good food and fun activities. The Garden State has an array of options that will hit the spot—whether you’re looking for great food and wine pairings, a family-friendly atmosphere, fun tunes or farm activities.
If you do decide to bring your kids, or have your heart set on a specific event or snack, check ahead and make sure the winery welcomes children and doesn’t have any reservation requirements or conflicting events to prevent disappointment.
Read on for the great options, and let’s raise our glasses to warmer weather and great vibes ahead!
Sips and Snacks
Laurita Winery: Come thirsty and hungry to Laurita in New Egypt. Laurita is so serious about keeping wine lovers sated and entertained it offers a food truck series season pass. For less than $75, pass holders will get access to 10+ food truck events, which have earned cult status for their buzzy mix of incredible scratch-made cooking with sides of fantastic wine, music and outdoor fun. Laurita is also kid-friendly, with wine tastings and vineyard tours available for grown-ups.
Cape May Winery: Come for the history, stay for the snacks. Cape May Winery, right off Exit 0 in Cape May, was founded by the Hayes family in 1989 and has the oldest vine roots in the county. Now run by Toby Craig and his daughter Betsy Sole, the winery is touted for its incredible Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin. Alongside grapes, Cape May grows tomatoes, plums, squash and kale, and dishes out fantastic seasonal dishes from their tapas kitchen. Check out the menu here.
Tapping Family Fun
Four Sisters Winery: This family-owned vineyard and winery in Belvidere is known for welcoming the littles. Four Sisters offers educational tours and comprehensive tastings for serious oenophiles, but it also throws grape-stomping parties, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day events, wine and music festivals, and serves up a relaxed atmosphere on the deck and the grounds. You can purchase fun picnic-style food there, or bring your own and picnic amid the vines. Kids can run, parents can sip—everyone’s happy.
Valenzano Family Winery: Founded in 1996 as a hobby winery, Valenzano became Burlington County’s first winery. Now one of the largest wineries on the east coast, Valenzano loves hosting large groups, with an on-site restaurant and a generous outdoor picnic space. Food trucks appear with regularity. Check their calendar for special family-friendly events, including regular live music, yoga and races.
Brook Hollow Winery: This family farm winery overlooks the Delaware Water Gap, and what began as a hobby for retiring wildlife biologist Paul Ritter, quickly blossomed into a favorite community winery and gathering space. Paul’s wife Debbie and their three daughters Stefanie, Alyssa and Jessica can frequently be found at the winery, which serves classic dry wines, fun wine slushies and the now-beloved Chocolate Merlot Milkshake. All of which pair beautifully with its consistently excellent calendar of live music.
Sharrott Winery: This Hammonton winery has something for everyone, from world-class wine to seasonally driven handcrafted cooking. But the winery has also become a beacon for its rotating calendar of events. There are seasonal one-offs, but also regular trivia nights, and live music Thursday through Saturday.
Farm & Resort Fun
Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery: Pam and Gary Mount dish out serious farm fun alongside their red, white and fruit wines sourced from their Princeton vineyards and orchards. Terhune is one of the few family farms in New Jersey with a winery and tasting room on-site. Don’t miss the 100-year-old apple orchard, and try out farming yourself by picking your own apples, berries, flowers and pumpkins, fresh from Terhune’s fields. Check their calendar for picking dates.
Renault Winery: Renault offers a classic approach to wine and winemaking, but a new-fangled approach to fun. It’s set in a full-fledged resort, making it a one-stop vacation shop. There’s live music, dance lessons, food and wine pairing classes … and an incredible 18-hole championship golf course meandering among the vines. For a complete experience, book a night or two at the hotel to take full advantage.
The Garden State Wine Growers Association is a coalition of nearly 60 wineries and vineyards across New Jersey, dedicated to raising the quality and awareness of the New Jersey wine industry. For more information, visit www.newjerseywines.com.