Note to Readers: Given the weather forecast for the next few days, please check with your chosen winery for any scheduling changes.
A tried-and-true Valentine’s Day tradition just got a whole lot sweeter as the Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA) presents two big, consecutive weekends of wine and romance this year. Their annual Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend will run February 8 and 9 and February 15 and 16 at more than 40 participating New Jersey wineries. The trail features wine tasting and chocolate samplings from noon to 5 p.m. each day.
According to Tom Cosentino, who spoke on behalf of the GSWGA, this a great opportunity for the wineries of New Jersey to shine. “Chocolate and wine have always been the perfect ‘pairing,'” he said. “Why not bring your loved one out for a chance to explore New Jersey wine country and visit the many trails and wineries located throughout the state?”
Many wineries are offering more than just the standard tasting for these special weekends. Tours, live entertainment, food pairings, and even wine-pairing dinners are a part of the wine trail experience. And the best part? Just like wine, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste! “You [will] enjoy the great chocolate and dessert treats being offered at our state’s wineries while sipping the perfect chardonnay, cabernet or sparkling wine to go with it,” Cosentino said.
Go for the Gold. Larry Sharrott, II, owner of Sharrott Winery in Blue Anchor, said, “The Wine Trail Weekend is a great opportunity to showcase our award-winning wines.” Sharrott Winery recently won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for its 2010 Barrel Reserve Chardonnay. “People come for the live music and the romantic atmosphere, but in the end it’s the wine that keeps them coming back,” Sharrott added. And the newest addition to Sharrott’s lineup? A chocolate fountain that’s sure to become an annual tradition.
Take a flight. A wine flight, that is. At Heritage Vineyards in Mullica Hill, advance tickets are required for their Wine & Chocolate Flight: Five wines paired with five decadent chocolate treats. With live music and special wine releases, it’s sure to be a busy weekend!
Support local artisans. Besides supporting the New Jersey wine industry, the Wine Trail Weekend is an opportunity to sample products produced right here in the Garden State. Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes is featuring Robinson’s Chocolates, a multigenerational confectioner from Montgomery, as well as a five-course wine-and-mushroom pairing with Shibumi Farm of Princeton.
Rock on! Take in a rock-and-roll tribute show at DiMatteo Vineyards in Hammonton on February 8. Gentleman Jim and Rob “E” Lutz will be performing the songs of Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Neil Diamond and more. $20 tickets will be available in advance or at the door.
Dance the night away. Don’t miss Country Line Dance Night at Laurita Winery in New Egypt on February 8, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Guaranteed to be a night of great music, dance and wine! Dance instructions available and country-style menu specials starting at 6 p.m.
These are just a sampling of the many events happening this Valentine’s Day season at New Jersey wineries. Don’t miss out on the fun. Plan your romantic New Jersey wine getaway today!
If you go…
Call ahead or check the winery’s website. Many wineries charge an additional fee for special events and tastings. You may also need reservations for some wine tours or dinners.
Map out your route. Visit www.newjerseywinetrails.com for event information and maps.
Bring bottled water in the car, for hydration between stops.
Choose a designated driver.
And have fun savoring the wonderful variety of New Jersey wines!
Jennifer Malme is a writer based in Vineland, in Cumberland County. She is the author of Down-Home South Jersey, a lifestyle blog about her adventures living in the Garden State, and in addition to being a contributor to Jersey Bites, she contributes to Sharrott Winery blog. Jennifer enjoys reading, cooking and exploring the wineries of New Jersey.