THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION

The Bordeaux of America: Exploring the Wines of South Jersey's Outer Coastal Plain

by Robin Shreeves on Aug 24, 2015 in Wine

When you think of visiting an American wine region, you probably think of visiting Napa Valley in California or maybe the Finger Lakes in New York. Both are American Viticultural Areas (AVA), official grape growing regions defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. To be designated an AVA, a region has to have distinctive climate, soil, elevation, and physical features. There are currently 230 designated AVA’s in the United States.
 
Chances are, if you’ve driven down the shore this summer, you’ve driven through an AVA without even realizing it. The Outer Coastal Plain covers over 2.25 million acres in Southeastern New Jersey. Established in 2006, it’s one of the larger AVA’s in the U.S. and currently boasts 24 wineries and several vineyards.
 
You may not consider South Jersey wine country, but it won’t be long before it’s widely recognized as a wine region worth visiting. The wineries are only getting bigger and better. The growth has established wineries like Tomasello expanding the size of their tasting room and new wineries continually opening their doors.

How good is the climate and soil for growing wines in the Outer Coastal Plain? So good, that the New York Times said it “might be the perfect place to make fine wine in America.” It compares the climate and the soil in the South Jersey region to that of Bordeaux in France. How’s that for an impressive comparison? 

The sandy soil in the Outer Coastal Plain is similar to that of Bordeaux. The number of weeks of warm weather is similar, too. And like Bordeaux, the Outer Coastal Plain experiences warm breezes that come in from the Atlantic Ocean.

There are several ways to explore the Outer Coastal Plain and its wines.

Hit the wine trail.
The Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association has an interactive map that will plan a wine trail for you. Put in your starting address, click on the wineries you want to visit, and it will map a route out for you. Or, visit the Garden State Wine Growers Association Wine Trail page and follow one of the pre-mapped trails of wineries that are within close proximity. 

Make a stop at one of the wineries on your way down the shore.
You’ll see tourism signs for wineries as you travel throughout the region. If you see the sign for Sharrott Winery in Hammonton as you’re on the way to Cape May, pop in and grab a couple bottles of the Pinot Grigio to sip as the sunsets. Or wait until you get to Cape May and hit up Cape May Winery & Vineyard for your weekend wine.
 
Spend the day at a wine festival.
Sample dozens of wines from the wineries in the Outer Coastal Plain for the price of admission. Upcoming festivals include the Jazz it Up Wine Festival at Allaire State Park on September 5 and 6 and the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival at Burlington County Fairgrounds on September 26 and 27.
When you’re at the wineries or the festivals, ask for wines that are labeled Outer Coastal Plain. In order for a wine to include the AVA on its label, 85% of the grapes in the wine must be grown in the Outer Coastal Plain.
 
You don’t have to drive as far as New York or fly all the way to California to visit wine country. All you need to do is head to Southeastern New Jersey to the Outer Coastal Plain. Years from now, when the region has truly established itself as the Bordeaux of the United States, you’ll be able to say, “I was drinking wine from there before everyone knew about it.”
 
Grape vine photo via Cape May Winery; Map via wineandvinesearch.com, Bottle photo by Robin Shreeves 

Tags: Wine
Recent Articles

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Drinking Wine is the Best Mental Exercise, According to Science

Drinking Wine is the Best Mental Exercise, According to Science

Can drinking wine actually be beneficial to your health? A professor of neuroscience at Yale may have found an answer....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Apr 12, 2017
This Summer, You Can Drink Your Rose Out Of a Forty

This Summer, You Can Drink Your Rose Out Of a Forty

A company called Forty Ounce Wines is now selling this warm-weather wine in forties, giving drinkers a whole new way to drink 'rose all day.'...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 10, 2017
Follow in Anthony Bourdain's Footsteps with 'Explore Parts Unknown'

Follow in Anthony Bourdain's Footsteps with 'Explore Parts Unknown'

Ever feel inspired by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's world travels? Wish you could trace his steps and go o...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Apr 10, 2017
SPONSORED
Buffalo Trace is Now Aging Bourbon in 300 Year Old Barrels

Buffalo Trace is Now Aging Bourbon in 300 Year Old Barrels

Oak barrels are an essential part of what makes bourbon bourbon. For one, there's a legal requirement that bourbon be aged in newly charred oak contai...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 31, 2017
Southern Tier Releases Girl Scout Cookie Flavored Beer

Southern Tier Releases Girl Scout Cookie Flavored Beer

New York based brewery Southern Tier has announced their latest spring release - 'Thick Mint,' an imperial stout brewed with chocolate and mint. ...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Mar 28, 2017
This Bartender Made Real-Life Versions of Cocktails from 'The Simpsons'

This Bartender Made Real-Life Versions of Cocktails from 'The Simpsons'

Have you ever dreamt of trying a cocktail only seen before in a cartoon, like the 'Flaming Homer' from The Sim...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 23, 2017
Behind the Bar: Camille Ralph Vidal, Global Brand Ambassador for St. Germain

Behind the Bar: Camille Ralph Vidal, Global Brand Ambassador for St. Germain

In this installment of Behind the Bar, we were lucky enough to interview Madame St. Germain herself, Camille V...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 23, 2017
Things No One Asked For: Prosecco-Flavored Nail Polish

Things No One Asked For: Prosecco-Flavored Nail Polish

If you're the kind of alcoholic who needs to have booze on your person at all times, Groupon has just the product for you: prosecco-flavored nail poli...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Mar 22, 2017
The Sobro Refrigerator Coffee Table Means You Never Need to Get Up Again

The Sobro Refrigerator Coffee Table Means You Never Need to Get Up Again

A recent IndieGoGo campaign has resulted in a coffee table with everything you could want: the Sobro Refrigera...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 22, 2017
Cold Brew Hard Coffee is Coming to Stores in May

Cold Brew Hard Coffee is Coming to Stores in May

Soon, you'll be able to enjoy cold brew coffee with the alcohol percentage of a strong beer with Bad Larry's Cold Hard Coffee. ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 17, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close