While there’s a lot going on in our big cities, you don’t want to overlook our small towns. They offer everything from quaint antique shops to historic mills and incredible restaurants, but what about the booze? No need to head out to an urban bar – we’ve got great wineries tucked away in rural New Jersey. Today, I’ve featured a few favorites (in no particular order).
1. Cream Ridge Winery - 145 Route 539, Cream Ridge
Offering handcrafted wines since 1988, this welcoming winery is open 7 days a week. You can enjoy up to 10 tastes for $5 and for $1 more, you can keep your glass. If their Jersey Berry (white wine) doesn't draw you in, visit for their fantastic events. I'm most excited for Good Karma Day on July 7th - there will be local organic food vendors, herbalists, aromatherapy, astrologers, animal rescue groups, yoga, and more.
2. Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery - 600 S Railroad Avenue, Rio Grande
Open daily, this 14-acre winery offers tastings and tours. There's live music on Saturdays and a small menu, seasonally. You're also free to bring your own food for a picture-perfect picnic.
3. Salem Oak Vineyards - 60 N Railroad Avenue, Pedricktown
This South Jersey winery has a bit of French flair. In business for 15 years, they've grown from 3.5 acres to over 12 and now have a 2,400 square foot tasting room. Taste any of their wines and enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 7-9 pm. Have a friend who doesn't drink? They offer teas, too, along with a limited menu.Try the bruschetta nachos.
4. Alba Vineyard - 269 Riegelsville Warren Glen Road, Milford
One of the most scenic wineries in the state, Alba Vineyard offers live music and tastings for $15 on select nights. Visit on Mother's Day (May 13th) for a special festival featuring live music, food and craft vendors, family-friendly activities, tours and more.
5. Ventimiglia Vineyard - 101 Layton Road, Wantage
When you visit Ventimiglia Vineyard, be sure to try their award winning Fratelli red wine. The tasting room is open to the public on weekends only but private tastings are available. If you're visiting High Point State Park, this is a perfect post-hike activity.
6. Amalthea Cellars Winery - 209 Vineyard Road, Atco
The first vineyards were planted here in 1976 and the business has since grown into a local staple. Open Tuesday-Sunday, tastings are offered in the form of flights - white, red, or off dry ($6 per person). Patrons can mix and match, 2 flights for $10 or 3 for $15. Be sure to ask about their Cantina Mas fresh draft program!
7. Brook Hollow Winery - 594 State Route 94, Columbia
One of New Jersey's top-rated wineries, their tasting room is open from Tuesday - Sunday; visitors can enjoy food and live music on Fridays from 6-8:30. They offer a unique adopt-a-vine program along with special events like Yoga at the Winery (May 6th) and Karaoke Night (May 11th). Grab a bottle of their Sierra or Tamron wines to support the Lakota Wolf Preserve.
8. Old York Cellars Winery - 80 Old York Road, Ringoes
There's a lot to love about Old York Cellars! If you're a wine connoisseur, you'll want to check out their Vintner's Club and if you adore the Garden State, consider one of their What Exit wines. Open on weekends, there's almost always something going on - May 5th means both Spring Fest and a comedy night. While walk-in tastings are available, the reserved tastings are really something special - $25 gets you wine, cheese, and chocolate.
9. Balic Winery - 6623 Harding Highway, Mays Landing
Balić Winery makes more than 27 award-winning wines but Alexander The Great may be the greatest of all. This red wine, made primarily with Vranac Grapes, is "rich in tannins, very in-depth and rich in the body." Open daily, free tastings are frequently available.
10. Laurita Winery -
85 Archertown Road, New Egypt
Perhaps New Jersey's most popular winery, Laurita is famous for their food truck festivals. The season has started and you'll surely want to check out at least one. Which one? Don't miss BaconFest! The family-friendly event will have fireworks, food trucks, a bacon eating contest, children's playground, multiple wine bars, line dancing, live music, vendors, and more. You can spend the night at their inn, if you choose, and you'll also want to grab a glass of their Down The Shore Relaxing Red with the fruity flavors of black raspberry and cherry and a smoky finish.
While we love all of these wonderful small town wineries, I’d also recommend heading to Hammonton (population: 14,791) and visiting Sharrott and Tomasello Wineries. Did you know New Jersey has a handful of wine trails? Learn more by