Six generations of the Heritage family have farmed this land in Mullica Hill, since 1853. Until today’s generation, apples and peaches were farmed. The current generation is changing things on the 150-acre estate to grow grapes for premium wine production. This dedication to the vineyards by the Heritage family accomplishes two things: the preservation of the family land and creation of a fruitful (!) family business for future generations.
Bill and Penni Heritage, foresaw the potential of the evolving wine industry in New Jersey and founded Heritage Vineyards & Winery in 2001.
Today, the couple’s children uphold their parents’ commitment to NJ wine excellence. Richard Heritage, their eldest son, is the director of sales and marketing. And Erik Heritage has recently joined the family winery and aims to keep refining the guest experience at Heritage Vineyards.
About the Vineyards
Mullica Hill, where Heritage Vineyards is located, is part of the Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area (AVA). Established by the federal government in 2006, this AVA covers over 2.25 million acres in southeastern New Jersey, making it the state’s largest wine growing region.
Q&A with Bill Heritage—Owner, and Stacy McGuigan—Events Manager
Jersey Bites: What inspired the Heritage family to want to establish a winery in southern New Jersey?
Bill Heritage: We wanted to continue to farm our land. We wanted our children to grow up on the farm. We hope our children’s children grow up on the farm. Wine grapes is the crop that will bring our hopes to reality. We fell in love with wine as our grape vines matured. This is why we have a vineyard and winery in south New Jersey.
We understand your tasting room is under renovation. What new features should visitors expect to see in the new space?
Stacy McGuigan: We are extremely excited about the tasting room remodel. This is literally a floor-to-ceiling update. In many ways, it feels like a real-life HGTV project! Guests will see a total transformation of the space.
New remodel features will include:
- A newly constructed wine bar with 50% more serving space
- Wine club nook to display special wine club-only releases and wine club only promotions
- New checkout area
- New materials for our walls including shiplap and stone
- New floors
- New ceiling
- New accent lighting and two huge chandeliers hanging from the center of the space
- A large feature wall with backlighting and a modern cable display for our wines
What is really going to bring this space to life is the fact that we were able to incorporate many materials from the actual farm and community where we grow grapes. The new space will help tell the story of how our once struggling apple and peach farm was converted into a sustainable vineyard and winemaking operation. For example, we were able to dig up old wooden W.W. Heritage & Sons apple boxes from the 1950s to build our checkout counter, a wooden latter—also used for apple picking—from the same time period will hang over the entrance, and wooden beams from an old mill in the heart of Mullica Hill were used to frame out the north and south upper level walls.
There were two reasons for the tasting room remodel.
First, our winery name is changing to William Heritage Winery and the space is meant to reflect the updated look and feel of this new brand.
Second, our wine quality has increased tremendously over the past few years through various improvements to our vineyards and winemaking facility. We felt it was now time to align that quality with better interior design.
Expected completion is late summer or early fall.
Any fun events our readers should know about where they can sample your wines and meet the team?
Every Thursday during the summer, we have our Vino & Vibes event from 6 to 9 p.m.m with live music and food trucks in a relaxed setting. Ticket can be found on Eventbrite on a weekly basis.
The Annual Heritage Wine Festival will be September 23 and 24, 2017. Click here for details.
I was recently at an event where I had the opportunity to sample several of Heritage Vineyards’ wines. Following are tasting notes on the wines I tasted.
2013 Heritage Vineyards Vintage Brut ($40): Tiniest of bubbles in the glass on this lovely sparkling wine. Ripe apple aromas with lots of yeasty notes. In the mouth, the flavors are of lightly buttered bread and Asian apple. Lots of great acidity and minerality. Creamy mouthfeel.
Made using the traditional champagne method. Aged 12 months in bottle before disgorging and dosage.
72% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir.
2015 Heritage Vineyards Semillon ($18): I was excited to see a Semillon in the lineup as it’s one of my favorites. Big rose petal aromas in the glass, as expected. On the palate, the flavors are understated papaya, pear, and green apple.
2014 Heritage Vineyards Rosé ($15): Light floral aromas on this light rosé wine. Sweet pink grapefruit and some strawberry flavors with a citrusy, slightly tart finish. 45% Cabernet Franc, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot.
2012 Heritage Vineyards Estate Reserve BDX: Check out the below grapes blend – What’s not in this wine!? Inky in color in the glass, this big boy offers aromas of ripe dark berries, cherries with some mocha notes. Ripe fruit flavors with a round texture from the Merlot. Definitely a grilled meat kind of wine. 61% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec.
Heritage Vineyards Wine Club
The Heritage Vineyards Wine Club offers members a variety of rewards and benefits.
- Free membership signup
- 10% off bottle purchases
- 20% off case purchases
- 3-bottle packages in December, March, June, and September (receive 20% off 3-bottle packages)
- Discounted pricing on event tickets
- Exclusive access to member-only wines
Be sure to visit the calendar to be kept abreast of upcoming happenings at the winery.
480 Mullica Hill Road