If your shop is in or near New Jersey, you may find locals – or visitors – coming in looking for New Jersey wines. That’s not a joke. NJ wineries exist. (As do wineries in all 50 of these United States, shocking as that may be.) More shocking may be that NJ wines bring in $35 million a year, making it the seventh-largest wine-producing state.
Despite its bad rep, New Jersey is actually a lot more than “Jersey Shore,” industrial pollution and (purportedly) Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting ground. In fact, it deserves to be known as The Garden State. The southern end of the state, in particular, is quite beautiful and has a strong agricultural economy.
So it should be no surprise that there’s a wine trail in the making and – final shocker – some of the wine is quite good. [level-members]
The climate and conditions are fairly ideal for wine making. As this week’s New York Times article says, “As you drive south of Trenton, the scrub pines along the road will remind you more of Cape Cod than of, say, Elizabeth.”
There’s great sandy soil and, with mild winters, a relatively long growing season.
Pulling a page from the California playbook and the 1976 Judgement of Paris that first put California wines on the map, there was recently the Judgement of Princeton. A red from New Jersey placed 3rd, bested only by two high-flying labels from Bordeaux. (Mouton-Rhothschild and Haut-Brion.) A white from the Garden State placed second. You can read more here.
And if you’re not in and around New Jersey, you might consider paying more attention to your local growers. Yes, some are still pretty lousy in many regions of the country. But others aren’t and you may find you can sell beyond the usual “we’re vacationing here and want a memento of our trip” suspects. [/level-members]