2015 Should Be a Good Year for NJ Wine
This has been a very good summer for a wide variety of Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables. Can the same be said for the Garden State's vineyards?
"The 2015 vintage should follow 2014 as a standout East Coast vintage," said John Cifelli, executive director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association.
He pointed out the weather this summer has been ideal for winemakers.
"We've had long stretches of sunshine which is really what you need, especially when the plants are just starting to come to life and the buds are breaking open and the fruit is setting," Cifelli said. "That's when the sun is really important."
For now, it's a wait and see game until a determination is made on which types of wines will be particularly outstanding this year. Cifelli said it will depend on the weather over the next few months.
"Over the next couple of weeks the sugars are going to rise in the grapes, the acid in the grapes are going to come down and the grapes change color," Cifelli said.
Once that happens, it's time for winemakers to start testing when it's time to pick.
Cifelli said due to the state's varied landscape, a variety of wines are able to be produced here. In fact, New Jersey is home to over 40 different varieties of grapes.
"From Cape May County all the way to Sussex, there are growing conditions that are suitable for many different types of varieties," Cifelli said. "So where Cabernet Sauvignon may thrive in Cape May County or the outer coastal plain down in the interior of South Jersey, up further north it can make very beautiful Rieslings and Pinot Noirs."
In addition to New Jersey's varied land, the state's good weather conditions and climate variables also help many different types of wine grapes thrive.
According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, New Jersey is the seventh largest wine producing state in the country with 1.5 million gallons of wine produced annually. There are more than 45 licensed wineries, and wine is being produced in 13 of New Jersey's 21 counties.
"There's a flavor for every wine lover in New Jersey. We make some excellent, high quality fruit wines and we grow excellent wine grapes also found in Europe. Whether you're a polished wine taster or new to the scene, we have something you're bound to enjoy," Cifelli said.
To learn more about different varieties of wines produced in New Jersey, you can visit newjerseywines.com.