Harvesting at some of the best New Jersey wineries and vineyards is in full swing. You can channel your inner Lucy Ricardo to try out grape stomping and it’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with a glass (or two) of red wine. New Jersey may not be the heart of wine country, but it is home to scores of award-winning wines and charming vineyards with rich histories.
New Jersey wines are finally being recognized and, spoiler alert, the vineyards make for the perfect day trip. May may not produce volume comparable to Tuscany, but Italy itself is nearly 1,500 percent larger than our humble state. Despite this, the Garden State produces over 40 varieties of grapes, dating back as far as the 1700s (among other things you didn’t know about New Jersey vino). Whether you’re looking for the perfect local terroir or the perfect Instagram backdrop, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best New Jersey wineries to visit (plus our favorite New York State vineyards).
North Jersey Wineries
1. Brook Hollow Winery
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This family farm and winery is home to unique drinks like the Chocolate Merlot Milkshake, among an assortment of dry (and sweet) wines. Brook Hollow Winery welcomes its guests to its expansive facility seven days a week, with live music events held on weekends through the autumn. Wine tastings occur by reservation for groups of four and no more than eight people, and other outdoor seating with wine bar access is available for the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.
2. Four Sisters Winery
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Named in honor of their four daughters, Four Sisters Winery opened in 1984 under the leadership of Matty and Laurie Matarazzo. Their wines have won more than 100 regional, national and international awards since then, and they can be enjoyed outdoors on their deck with picnic tables or tent-covered seating. Four Sisters Winery hosts exciting fall events like the Barefoot Grape Stomp, coming up on Oct. 17, and the Murder Mystery Dinner on Oct. 25. Both events include wine tastings, as well as homestyle Italian dinners of chicken parmesan and pasta.
Four Sisters Winery is open every day, except Wednesdays, through October. From November to December, the winery is open seven days a week.
3. Ventimiglia Vineyard
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Located in Sussex County, Ventimiglia Vineyard invites visitors to their 50-acre “Rocky Ridge Farm” on weekends for outdoor tastings. Groups are even encouraged to picnic on the property. The vineyard is also offering wine pick-ups throughout the week and on weekends, by appointment.
Ventimiglia Vineyard is currently open for outdoor dining only on weekends.
Central Jersey Wineries
4. Alba Vineyard & Winery
Based in Warren County, Alba Vineyard & Winery sits on a 93-acre stretch of land and offers picturesque views of the rolling hills of the vineyard. The vineyard focuses on sustainable agriculture, which broadly means farming with the preservation of the environment in mind. It’s better for the future of the planet and taste isn’t sacrificed. They’ve produced wines that boast dozens of awards. Enjoy it by the glass, bottle or flight on their Arbor, along with food prepared by chef Anthony Fiore and live entertainment.
The Arbor is open every day of the week. Reservations are not required for small groups, but parties of eight or more must reserve farm tables two weeks in advance.
5. Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards
Colts Neck, NJ
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Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards (4JG’s), established in 1999, produces wines that have medaled in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The Colts Neck farm includes centuries-old barns and houses, some dating back to the early 1700s. The historic and scenic setting provides guests with a charming view as they partake in wine tastings.
All parties must make reservations in advance of the visit, with no more than six people per group. 4JG’s also offers curbside pickup for wine orders.
6. Old York Cellars
Old York Cellars overlooks the rolling hills of their vineyard and the Sourland Mountain range. The winery is open for self-guided tastings and wines served by the glass or bottle from 12 p.m.–7 p.m. daily. Live music takes place on weekends in the evenings, and comedy nights occur on Saturday nights through October. Their tasting room is open at Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville, NJ for indoor and outdoor dining, as well.
For visits to Old York Cellars in Ringoes or Lawrenceville, be sure to call ahead.
7. Terhune Orchards Vineyard & Winery
The family-owned and operated Terhune Orchards is home to 185 acres of land growing a range of crops, including a 9-acre vineyard. The vineyard has yielded award-winning wines, and visitors can enjoy them by the glass, flight or as wine slushies. Seasonal produce grown on the farm are also available for purchase at their market.
Terhune Orchards is bustling with fall events, so tickets for the winery must be purchased in advance of your weekend visit.
8. Fox Hollow Vineyards
Fox Hollow Vineyards grew out of the Casola family’s generations of farming expertise. The family transitioned into winemaking and places a high priority on preserving the integrity of their grapes. Winemaker Joe Casola stresses that the grapes must be “self-expressive” and for “them to tell him what type of wine they will be.”
The low-key environment at Fox Hollow Vineyards makes it an ideal location to spend an afternoon or evening away from the busyness of daily life, sipping on their award-winning wines and relaxing to the croon of live music on weekends. The winery is open every day for outdoor dining on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s among the top Jersey wineries for sure.
South Jersey Wineries
9. Iron Plow Vineyards
Iron Plow Vineyards is a boutique New Jersey winery, seeking to maintain sustainable farming practices in their vineyard. They also value using locally grown ingredients when making any of their wines. The tasting room in Mt. Holly is not open right now, but guests can visit the Columbus location for outdoor dining overlooking the picturesque vineyards and listen to live music on weekends. Iron Plow encourages guests to bring lawn chairs and blankets to picnic on the grass, or you can reserve a table in advance of your visit.
Iron Plow Vineyards is open every day except Monday.
10. Sharrott Winery
Blue Anchor, NJ
This New Jersey winery produces award-winning wines for guests to sip while dining from their assortment of hand-crafted foods. Sharrott Winery entices guests with not just its wine and food, but the overall experience. Groups of five to eight people can reserve a fire pit to spend time while taking in the views of the vineyard, and live music is a staple, especially on weekends. They even host trivia nights on Thursday evenings.
Reservations are required for your visit.
11. Valenzano Winery
Shamong Township, NJ
Tucked away in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Valenzano Winery offers visitors a charming getaway to experience good wine and community. Valenzano produces more than 28 different types of wine while placing a high priority on sustainable practices, including its commitment to powering 100 percent of its electricity needs through solar panels. At the winery, outdoor seating is available seven days a week by reservation for guests to sip wine and enjoy a bite to eat.
Valenzano Winery also values giving back to the community, and they donate a portion of the revenue from their Red, White & Blueberry Sangria to military charities.
12. Renault Winery
Egg Harbor City, NJ
Renault Winery dates back to 1864 and holds the title of the third nationally registered winery in the country. Unlike other wineries at the time, Renault Winery remained open through the Prohibition era of the early 1900s and produced wines under a special license. Its rich history and years of winemaking experience have made Renault a well-known destination among New Jersey wineries. The expansive facility includes a golf course, as well as the Château Renault Hotel to spend a night away. Live music events, like Red, White & Blues Night, take place on selective weekdays and weekends.
Renault Winery is currently operating with outdoor dining only, so make your reservation in advance for any day of the week.
13. Tomasello Winery
Tomasello Winery, the largest of New Jersey wineries, was founded in 1933 when founder Frank Tomasello became one of the first in the country to obtain a winery license post-Prohibition. Winemaking remained in the Tomasello family over the next 80-plus years, and now the business produces more than 50 different wines that are available between their 10 different locations. Their tasting room in Hammonton is currently operating at 25 percent capacity, so reservations are encouraged, especially on weekends.
Tomasello Winery has nine additional locations throughout the state.
14. DiMatteo Vineyards
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DiMatteo Vineyards produces fine wines that have received prestigious awards over the years. The winery currently allows for outdoor dining in several different areas on the grounds and encourages guests to bring their own food. In the month of October, visitors can keep an eye out for live music, including the “Sunday with Sounds of Sinatra and Friends” event on Oct. 25!
15. Bellview Winery
From strawberries to squash and eggplant, Bellview grew a wide variety of crops for nearly 75 years. After years of vegetable farming, they changed direction in 2000, and Bellview Winery was born.
Bellview Winery invites visitors every day of the week to dine outdoors and enjoy their assortment of wines. Seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, but the winery also encourages picnicking on their lawn. Reservations must be made for both seated dining and picnic areas. A deposit is also required to see their live music events on weekends.
16. William Heritage Winery
Mullica Hill, NJ
The land at William Heritage Winery has belonged to the Heritage family since 1853, though the family transitioned from their longstanding tradition of growing tree fruit to winemaking in 1999. One of the most notable New Jersey wineries, William Heritage Winery is a two-time “Winery of the Year” winner in the state and is known for its assortment of award-winning wines. William Heritage Winery hosts Harvest Weekends with food trucks and live music throughout the fall season. Reservations are required to attend.
The winery is also open Monday-Friday for outdoor seating to sip wine (by the glass, bottle or flight) and snack from their tapas menu. They also recently opened another tasting room in Haddonfield, NJ (reservations required).
17. Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery
Established in 2005 and opened to the public in 2007, Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery proudly makes their wines the old-world way under the leadership of self-taught winemaker Julianne Donnini. The Enoteca, their European-style wine bar, allows visitors to sit among the vines and enjoy their cheeses and wood-fired pizzas, along with cappuccino and gelato. The Enoteca hosts live music performances on weekends, as well as open mic night on Thursday evenings.
Auburn Road offers both outdoor and 25 percent capacity indoor dining, though reservations must be made in advance.
18. Laurita Winery
New Egypt, NJ
Laurita Winery operates on three foundational principles: local, authentic and sustainable. The New Jersey winery serves wines that seek to be the “purest expression of vineyard, varietal and vintage.” Outdoor dining is available Wednesday–Sunday by reservation. They also host events like Sliders & Sangria weekend, coming up on Oct. 3, and Yeast Coast Comedy Show on Oct. 9.
The Inn at Laurita Winery recently reopened for guests to enjoy an overnight stay in the rolling hills and farmland of the winery.
19. Cape May Winery & Vineyard
A Cape May staple, this New Jersey winery dates back to 1996. They now boast the fifth largest wine production in the state and dozens of accolades for their wines. The Cape May Winery experience includes outdoor seating where guests can enjoy wine flights and tapas daily, as well as live music on weekends.
Educational wine tastings are available on weekdays but must be booked in advance. Outdoor dining does not require a reservation.
20. Willow Creek Winery
West Cape May, NJ
Willow Creek Winery stands apart as the largest winery in Cape May, within reach of anywhere on the island. Encircled by the ocean and bay, the winery offers local-caught seafood on their dining menu (like these bacon-wrapped scallops) to enjoy with their variety of wines, sangria and cocktails. While tastings and tours are not available at the moment, the winery hosts events like Fire Pit Fridays and Saturdays, where guests can sit around the fire and enjoy live music with a specialty drink and outstanding food.
Be sure to call ahead of your visit to Willow Creek Winery to book your reservation.
Bonus: New York Wineries
Don’t miss these just-over-the-border New York wineries this fall, either.
21. Torne Valley Vineyards
Torne Brook Estate was established in 1875, but it wasn’t until over 130 years later in 2011 that Torne Valley Vineyards opened their doors to the public. The vineyard and winery invites visitors on weekends to their charming property in view of the historic, centuries-old mansion. Drink a glass of wine and grab a bite from the cafe as you take in the view.
Torne Brook does not accept reservations, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
22. Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery
Nestled in the foothills of the Hudson Valley, Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery welcomes guests for self-guided tasting flights, dining from their cafe and grill, and apple picking. The orchard includes over 60 types of apples, and guests are encouraged to sip on sangria, wine or their infamous Doc’s Cider while they take in the views of the orchard. The cafe and grill are open for service Thursday–Monday for visitors to wine and dine on the patio or picnic-style.
The winery is open every day of the week.
23. Benmarl Winery
The oldest vineyard in America, Benmarl Winery rests in the hills of Marlboro and boasts wines that capture the essence of the place they’re grown. Guests can enjoy wine tastings and brick-oven pizza while overlooking the sprawling 37-acre vineyard and the Hudson River Valley.
Benmarl Winery is open seven days a week for wine tastings by reservation.
24. Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
A former dairy farm turned vineyard, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery promotes “excellence from ground to glass” with its extensive wine collection. Wine tastings are offered indoors on weekdays, and outdoors on weekends. On weekends, the winery hosts guests outdoors on the Taproom Terrace to enjoy their wines by the glass or bottle. Cheese plates are offered on the terrace, and guests can also grab a bite from local food trucks. Picnic tables provide another space for guests to gather and dine, or you can bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to set up for the afternoon.
Wine tastings occur by reservation. Picnic tables are available on weekends on a first-come, first-served basis.
Main Photo by Árpád Czapp