Fall Happenings — Wineries

Fall is a great time to visit the many area wineries. Mark your calendar for these upcoming events…

By Laurie Pellichero

Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Road, Pennington
www.hopewellvalleyvineyards.com

Hopewell Valley Vineyards, led by proprietors Sergio and Violeta Neri, is dedicated to the creation of handcrafted wines by blending Old World traditions with New World flair. Their mission is to provide a relaxing, quaint, and beautiful environment where one can experience world class wines and enjoy the company of friends.

Events at Hopewell Valley Vineyards include Jazzy Sundays every Sunday with live music from 2 to 5pm, complemented by a light fare menu. There is also music every Thursday evening from 6 to 9pm., and Music & Merlot is presented every Friday and Saturday evening from 6-9pm with a variety of live music along with artisan brick oven pizza. A Sangria Making class is offered on Sunday, September 22 from 11am to 1pm, and participants (must be 21 or older) get to take home a jar of the final product.

Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road, New Egypt
www.lauritawinery.com

Local, authentic, and sustainable is the philosophy at Laurita Winery, which gets its name from the first names of owners Randy Johnson’s and Randy Shea’s mothers, Laura and Rita. At Laurita, production focuses on making wine from grapes that are recognized and accepted worldwide, concentrating on the vinifera, the classic and noble varieties. The first vines were planted in 1998, Its first harvest and bottling was of Merlot and Chardonnay in 2003.

The winery now features 40 cultivated acres of vineyards and 200 acres of woodlands, meadows, and pastures, and produces 14,000 to 16,000 cases of wine that are exclusive to the winery. Its main structure is built mostly from recycled and reclaimed materials, with the skeleton of the building formed through the merging of two 150-year-old barns that had been marked for demolition.

Laurita Winery is a regional destination for a wide variety of events including A Touch of Italy and Food Trucks, Too! on Saturday, September 21 from 11am to 9pm and Sunday, September 22 from 11am to 7pm. OktoberFest is celebrated over two weekends, October 5-6 and October 19-20, starting at 11am each day. Run the Vineyards — Laurita Winery 5K will be held on both October 12 and October 13, starting at 10am each day. And Girls Night Out with special discounts is every Wednesday from 6 to 9pm.

Old York Cellars
80 Old York Road, Ringoes
www.oldyorkcellars.com

Featuring scenic views of the Sourland Mountain range, Old York Cellars boasts 25 acres of preserved farmland and 13 acres of vineyards. Planted in 1979, the vines were the first to produce wine under the New Jersey Farm Act of 1981. Old York also features three new and newly-renovated estate buildings that offer guests a broad range of winery experiences.

Fall events include a Fall Harvest Festival on September 21 and 22 from noon to 5pm. Wine and Music Under the Stars is offered every Friday evening from 6 to 9pm through October 18. Cheese, Chocolate, and Wine Pairings are featured on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 3pm through October 27. Those who enjoy comedy can visit on Wine and Comedy Night on October 5 at 8pm featuring Taylor Mason. Old York Cellars opens at noon daily.

Old York Cellars also offers live music every Friday and Saturday from 5 to 8pm at its Quaker Bridge Mall location in Lawrence Township.

Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton
www.terhuneorchards.com/winery

Owned and operated by the Mount family, Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery features nine acres of grapes and 14 varieties of wine, including three fruit wines made from Terhune Orchards’ own apple cider. The historic 150-year-old barn on the farm is home to the tasting room, which is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 5pm. Bottles are also available seven days a week at the farm store.

Terhune Orchards is one of the few operating farms in the Garden State to also have a winery and tasting room. People visiting the tasting room can also enjoy pick-your-own and the farmyard activities, as well as the farm store full of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and more. 

Terhune features a plethora of fall activities including Apple Days Harvest Festivals held each weekend until October 27, at which the Apple Wine is a seasonal favorite. Pie Sampling Weekend in the Wine Barn is November 9 and 10 from 10am to 5pm with wine tastings available and all proceeds from the event to benefit HomeFront.

Unionville Vineyards
9 Rocktown Road, Ringoes
www.unionvillevineyards.com

Unionville Vineyards rests on 89 acres of preserved farmland in Hunterdon County. The winery is comprised of five estate vineyards spread over three counties, allowing for unique wines to be crafted from fruit grown in the varying terroir of Central and Northern New Jersey. Winemakers Zeke Johnsen and Conor Quilty craft acid-driven, fruit-forward, aromatic wines, focusing on Burgundy and Rhone varieties such as Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Viognier. Its tasting room is open from 12 to 5pm daily.

On Sunday, September 22, 1-5pm, Unionville will be one of the five wineries featured at The Winemakers Co-Op Fall Portfolio Tasting at Beneduce Vineyards in Hunterdon County. Attendees can meet the winemakers and proprietors of the co-op wineries, and taste more than 40 wines that are 100 percent New Jersey grown from the classic vinifera grapes of Europe and dry in style.  Author Jason Wilson, the featured guest speaker, will discuss the importance of emerging wine regions and lesser-known grape varieties to the American wine industry. There will also be gourmet food offerings and live music by The John Beacher Trio. To learn more, visit www.thewinemakersco-op.com.

Unionville will also host a Harvest Dinner on October 4 at 6:30pm. Produced in partnership with Metropolitan Seafood & Gourmet of Lebanon, this four-course dinner with wine pairings will feature conversations with winemaker Conor Quilty and Metropolitan President Mark Drabich. Dinner will be alfresco on the winery patio and will include a tour of harvest and the grape crush in progress.

Working Dog Winery
610 Windsor-Perrineville Road, Robbinsville
www.workingdogwinerynj.com

Located in eastern Mercer County, Working Dog Winery, formerly known as Silver Decoy, was established by a group of friends in 2001. Starting with three acres of Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, it now features 17 acres of grapes under cultivation.

The dog and family-friendly winery, which is also featured in the Winemakers Co-Op Fall Portfolio Tasting at Beneduce Vineyards in Hunterdon County on Sunday, September 22, offers tastings on Fridays from 2 to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Live music is hosted every Saturday, year-round, from 1 to 5pm. Food trucks are often on-site as well.

In Pennsylvania:

Bucks County Wine Trail
www.buckscountywinetrail.com

Right over the river in Bucks County, Pa., Bucks County Wine Trail wineries include Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery in Perkasie, Buckingham Valley Vineyards in Buckingham, Crossing Vineyards and Winery in Washington Crossing, Rosebank Winery in Newtown, Rushland Ridge Vineyards in Jamison, Sand Castle Winery in Erwinna, and Wycombe Vineyards in Furlong.

The Bucks County Wine Trail incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2004. Its official mission is “promotion and education of Bucks County wines and wineries,” but, as family businesses all making wine in Bucks County, the wineries also work together to plan events for their followers and newcomers alike.

Fall events include the annual Bucks County Wine Trail Harvest Celebration, held at all seven wineries on October 12 and 13. In addition to sampling a variety of award-winning Bucks County wines, guests can sample freshly pressed grape juices that have not yet fermented into wine. Celebration hours and events vary for each winery, check the winery for specific times.

The Passport to Bucks Self-Guided Tour starts November 1 and runs through March 31, 2020. Visitors who purchase a Passport to Bucks card for $30 will receive a complimentary wine tasting and have their card punched as each winery is visited and wine is sampled. Once all seven wineries have been visited and the card has all its punches, it can be exchanged for a drawing card at the last winery visited and entered into a drawing for a grand prize.

And on November 9 and 10, wine lovers can taste the newest, fruitiest varieties of at Bucks County Wine Trail’s annual Nouveau Weekend. Nouveau wines are bottled young with little aging, offering light and sweet tastes. As is tradition in the Beaujolais region of France, four of the Bucks County wineries will offer their own version of these wines fresh from harvest. Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Crossing Vineyards and Winery, Rushland Ridge Vineyards, and Winery and Sand Castle Winery are offering Nouveau wine tastings during the event. Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery will feature a new wine release during Nouveau weekend.

Cheers!

Event dates and times subject to change. See websites for full details.