Beneduce Vineyards: Cultivating Community, Quality, and Local Flavor

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

Nestled within the scenic landscapes of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Beneduce Vineyards proudly embodies the enduring legacy of winemaking passion passed down through generations. In an exclusive interview, we delve into the roots of Mike Beneduce’s winemaking journey. He shares the unique story behind the vineyard, and his deep commitment to the local community.

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

From Roses to Grapes: A Family Legacy

Mike, the owner of Beneduce Vineyards, talks about his journey into winemaking and the ways it is deeply rooted in his family’s history. Growing up as home winemakers, the Beneduce family had a rich tradition of winemaking that spanned generations. Mike’s upbringing was infused with the essence of winemaking, with fond memories of crafting wine in the basement alongside his grandparents.

With Italian ancestry and a background in rose growing, the family settled in Madison, New Jersey. They built a prominent presence in the local agricultural scene. Mike’s father started the Great Swamp Greenhouses, laying the foundation for what would later become Beneduce Vineyards.

In 2000, the family purchased a 50-acre farm with the intention of expanding its production greenhouses. However, a desire to diversify their crops led them to explore the world of wine grapes. Mike, armed with a degree in viticulture and enology from Cornell University, embarked on the journey to transform their land into a vineyard. Today, Beneduce Vineyards boasts 27 acres of vineyards. The Beneduces produce wines exclusively from their estate-grown fruit, reflecting the unique character of its terroir.

A Unique Approach to Grape Varieties

Unlike many new wine regions that opt for well-known French grape varieties, Beneduce Vineyards took a different approach. Rooted in their identity as farmers, the Beneduce family focused on what would grow well in their region. Drawing inspiration from European wine-growing regions with similar climates and soils, they experimented with varieties from Austria, Northern France, and Northern Italy.

The result? A diverse selection of wines, with varieties like Blaufränkisch and pinot noir taking center stage. Mike’s experimental mindset extends to new plantings, including Italian varieties like Barbera and Dolcetto, reflecting a willingness to take calculated risks for the sake of innovation. Mike emphasizes the importance of crafting wines that resonate with the local terroir, a commitment evident in Beneduce’s 100% direct-to-consumer model.

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

Innovation and Experimentation: What’s Next

As Beneduce Vineyards celebrates its 14th harvest, the commitment to improvement continues. While focusing on the core portfolio, they’re not afraid to take calculated risks. In the coming year, a new vineyard, Alto Vineyard, presents an opportunity to experiment with varieties like Barbera and Dolcetto, pushing the boundaries of winemaking in the region.

Mike’s keen interest in Italian varieties stems from a desire to explore the vast genetic diversity of native grape varieties. By looking beyond the well-established French grapes, Beneduce Vineyards aims to carve out a unique identity and elevate New Jersey’s status in the emerging wine regions.

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

Cultivating Community Through Unique Events

Mike’s vision for the vineyard extended beyond crafting exceptional wines. It aimed to create a gathering place for locals, a hub of connectivity within the rural landscape of Hunterdon County. This commitment to community engagement is evident in Beneduce’s diverse array of events and programs.

From Locals Night to Trivia Night and even a book club, Beneduce offers many  opportunities for people to come together over a glass of wine and make meaningful connections. Mike’s insight into the importance of these personal interactions underscores Beneduce’s role as more than just a winery. It’s a sanctuary for shared experiences and camaraderie.

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

The Art of Labeling: Reflecting Personality and Tradition

Behind every Beneduce Vineyards label lies a story. Mike’s wife, Corey, a creative director, played a pivotal role in the redesign, drawing inspiration from late 1800s farmers’ almanacs.

Inspired by Italian hand gestures, these labels mirror the vineyard’s ethos—approachable, lively, and authentic. With every sip and every glance at a label, Beneduce invites patrons to embark on a journey of discovery, both of the wine and the rich tapestry of its community. By infusing personality into their labels, Beneduce Vineyards aims to demystify wine, making it approachable and enjoyable for a broad audience.

The Classic Series labels pay homage to timeless agricultural wisdom, emphasizing the vintage as the focal point. In contrast, the playful Crafted Series labels draw inspiration from Italian hand gestures, tying each wine to a unique concept.

Local Flavor on Every Plate

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

Beneduce Vineyards doesn’t stop at wine. The team at Beneduce has extended their community-focused approach beyond its events to its culinary offerings. Embracing a hyperlocal ethos, the vineyard sources food from producers within a 50-mile radius, championing the bounty of Hunterdon County. This dedication to supporting local artisans and businesses not only enriches the tasting experience but also cultivates a sense of pride among visitors, knowing they’re partaking in a true celebration of their region’s heritage.

A Winery Rooted in Tradition and Community

Jersey Bites, Beneduce Vineyards, Marissa Muoio, Mike Beneduce

Beneduce Vineyards stands as a beacon of innovation, tradition, and community spirit. From their roots in home winemaking to crafting distinctive wines and hosting unique events, Beneduce Vineyards is not just a winery. It’s a celebration of local identity and the shared love of good wine. As Mike Beneduce continues to push the boundaries of winemaking in New Jersey, Beneduce Vineyards remains a testament to the enduring legacy of family, community, and quality craftsmanship.

Beneduce Vineyards
1 Jeremiah Lane
Pittstown, NJ