Farewell Wine Lovers

Hello Wine Lovers,

I’m sad to announce that my journey has come to an end. During my senior year at Rowan University I have had the privilege to blog my journey as I sipped through the South Jersey vineyards. In the beginning of the semester I was worried that I wasn’t educated well enough in the wine industry to write posts to educate my readers. I was very wrong. Throughout the semester many of you all have emailed, commented and shared my work. I truly appreciated all the love and encouragement throughout the semester.

My favorite part about writing this blog was meeting new people and trying new wines. Every winery I visited, everyone was so friendly and helpful. I want to thank those who took the time to share their story and passions about the wine industry. I learned a lot from speaking with you all and have developed many new skills when it comes to tasting wine or selecting a delicious bottle of wine.

By writing this blog, I gained a greater appreciation for wine. I now know the work and effort it takes to produce wine and maintain a winery. Here are some of my favorite posts throughout the semester.

  1. Wine Tasting with Heath Brown at Wagonhouse Winery
  2. Uncork the Fun at Sharrott Winery
  3. Meet Joanna Clarke
  4. Next Stop Plagido’s Winery
  5. SJS Wine Trail

Cheers,

Amanda Dean

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A Visit to Summit City Farms and Winery

Many people are unaware there is a winery located right in Glassboro, New Jersey. Before visiting Summit City Farms and Winery on Tuesday, December 13th, I couldn’t believe this winery was right around the corner from Rowan University.

Summit City Farms was established in 1922 as “Boulevard Orchards” by Gaetano DeEugenio on a 7 acre farm. Today, the land has stayed in the DeEugenio Family as they grow a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Five years ago, Lewis DeEugenio Jr. saw a new vision of the farm land and proceeded to grow grapes to produce wine. Lewis DeEugenio Jr. explained to that “We wanted to add a retail venue to our whole sale business. We raise acres of fruit but a small part of the fruit is not up to the quantity that could be sold to a retail market. We had the notion to turn the cold fruit into a useful product, and what an intriguing way to use the fruit and turn it into wine” (Lewis DeEugenio Jr ). It was interesting to hear Lewis DeEugenio Jr. speak about the benefits and challenges of owning his own winery.

While I was visiting Summit City Farms and Winery, I had the privilege to speak with Jim Johnson who is one of Lewis DeEugenio Jr.’s childhood friends. They grew up with each other and today they are business partners. Jim Johnson is the Winery Manager at Summit City Farms and Winery. Jim Johnson shared with me the most popular wines that Summit City Farms and Winery produce.

Jim John explains that “the number one in popularity is something we call the Summit Red. Which is a concord, great base, sweet wine and that is neck and neck with our White Peach Wine. Other interesting wines that are surprising popular is our Pumpkin Wine. We have sold a lot of pumpkin wine in the past few weeks” (Jim Johnson). 

While speaking with Lewis DeEugenio Jr. and Jim Johnson, I was able to understand that they didn’t establish the winery as an investment but a place where family and friends can come together and gather. This is one thing that stood out to me compare to other South Jersey’s wineries. Summit City Farms and Winery’s mission is to create an environment people can gather by celebrating life with wine, music and dance. Every weekend Summit City Farms and Winery provides live music and a open dance floor. 

Lewis DeEugenio Jr explains, “Our marketing theme as we began our winery within the past 3 years was to take old forms of music and dance .Oldies such as the Jitterbug, Cha Cha, Wagner Walk, Swing Dancing, Country Line Dancing and bring these music venues to our winery. We also enjoy live music. We have boughten local Jazz bands in to play here at our winery. Every Fridays and Saturdays we do music here”(Lewis DeEugenio Jr). 

Jim Johnson also shares his connection with music and explains that “When we were young kids, Lewis and I played in a band growing up. Music and dancing has been apart of our 60 year of friendship. Music and dancing is apart of who we are and we bring that to life here at this winery every weekend” (Jim Johnson). 

Watch this video and find out more about Summit City Farms and Winery. 

Wine Tasting with Heather Brown at Wagonhouse Winery

It’s official, I found my favorite winery here in South Jersey! On Thursday, December 1, 2016, I took a much needed study break and visited Wagonhouse Winery located in Swedesboro, New Jersey. I enjoyed every aspect while visiting this winery. Between tasting the delicious wine, meeting the friendly staff, exploring the vineyards and driving through the South Jersey scenic country side I actually forgot about school work for once and enjoyed myself. My favorite part about this winery was the tasting room. The room was decorated with beautiful Christmas decor that displayed a cozy feeling. While enjoying a wine tasting at Wagonhouse Winery, I had to privilege to speak with the owner, Heather Brown. Watch this video and learn what sparked her interest of starting her own winery.

Next Stop Plagido’s Winery

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Some people look forward to the weekends to relax but I look forward to the weekends to sip though the South Jersey vineyards. As you can you can see from my photo above I visited Plagido’s Winery located in Hammonton, New Jersey. Plagido’s Winery was awarded New Jersey’s Winery of the Year in 2016 by The Garden State Wine Growers Association.

My favorite part about visiting Plagido’s Winery was listening to the history on how the farm land became a winery. Plagido’s Winery is named after Plagido Tomasello who arrived to the United States from Italy in the late 1800’s. Plagido Tomasello started his life in Hammonton, New Jersey as he was one of Hammonton’s first pioneer farmers. Today the farm has stayed in the family and the land as turned into a winery.

When I first walked into the tasting room, I wasn’t impressed with the decor. The tasting room was in the large warehouse which had a different feel compared to other wineries I have visited. I felt uncomfortable and wish this winery had more of a rustic romantic atmosphere like other wineries. There was only one outdoor patio which had a limited amount of places to sit to enjoy the vineyard scenery. Yet, that didn’t stop me from having an enjoyable experience. 

My wine tasting experience changed my perception of this winery and that has to do a lot with a staff who conduced my my wine tasting named Jasmine. Jasmine hasn’t been working Plagido’s Winery for very long, but you would never know . She is well education about the wines and answered all questions. She has a friendly personality and funny sense of humor which made my tasting at Plagido’s Winery so memorable. I explained to Jasmine that my taste palette is transitioning from sweet to dry wines. She respectful took that into consideration and only poured me the wines she thought I would enjoy. She was spot on. Here is a list of the wines Plagido’s Winery offers during a wine tasting. 

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 After trying many wines, Jasmine lead me into the right directions when taste palette sparked when I tried the Plagido’s Reverence. I had an instant connection towards this tasteful, light and refreshing wine. Jasmine explained the Plagido’s Reverence as  “our brenchmark semi-dry white wine with a delicate essence of oak and supple fruit”, said Jasmine. When visiting Plagido’s Winery keep your eyes out for this bottle, and make sure to try Plagido’s Reverence.

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When my wine tasting was finished, I purchased two bottles of Plaid’s Reverence wine. One to enjoy on the outdoor patio while watching the sunset distantly fade on the vineyards and one to enjoy at home.  By the time I was finished with my tasting, the live music was playing on the outdoor patio. A country, rock, and soul musician named Derek Crider was on the patio with singing by himself while playing guitar. I enjoyed his music very much and having live music made my experience at Plagido’s Winery very enjoyable. 

 

 

Listen to Julianne Dean 2016 Food Truck experience at Laurita Winery

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Julianne Dean, 28, enjoying a glass of Barcelona Red wine at Laurita Winery in New Egypt, N.J., Saturday, November 12, 2016.  (Photo/Amanda Dean)

I continued my wine adventure over the weekend as I visited Laurita Winery located in New Egypt, New Jersey. On Saturday, November 12, 2016 Laurita Winery hosted their last Food Truck Festival of 2016. While attending this event, I had the opportunity to interview Julianne Dean who spends more time at this winery than at home on the weekends. Laurita Winery is Dean’s favorite winery located in South Jersey and has recently became a Laurita Winery Preferred Club Member. She first visited Laurita three years ago for her best friend’s bachelorette party. Ever since there she has been to Laurita for many different celebrations. Dean makes sure she goes with a bunch of her friends to Laurtia’s events throughout the year. Whether its girls night or date night, Dean makes sure she is available to enjoy an evening during wine. One of her favorite events Laurita host is their annual Food Truck Festival. Listen to this audio to find out why this event is her favorite. 

 

The Inspiring Alison Crowe

 

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Here is Girl and the Grape blogger, Alison Crowe. Here you can see Crowe smiling with a glass of wine she produced in her hand. She enjoys making wine for a living and write about her experiences. (Photo/ Alison Crowe)

This week I have the privilege to speak with a fellow wine blogger, Alison Crowe. Crowe is a winemaker who runs the wine blog, Girl and the Grape. Which was awarded 2014 Best New Wine Blog. The blog posts about winemaking, grape harvest and wineries located in Napa Valley, California. When speaking with Crowe, I was able to learn about the origins of her blog, her passion for winemaking, her personal experiences from running a blog, and so much more.

Crowe has always surrounded herself near the wine country as she grew up in a beach town called Carpinteria, California. Currently she lives with her two sons in Napa Valley in California, which is known to be the main wine growing region of the United States of America and one of the major wine regions of the world.

Crowe started to write her blog, Girl and the Grape in 2013 as a way to share “Winemaking, life & the dirt” with the public, and still writes today. She used experience as a wine writer when Crowe was an undergrad as an inspiration to start her own blog.

“I really saw so much that was crazy and intimidating about wine and I wanted to break it down and uncover some of the myths about wine for the general public. Being a winemaker is pretty cool and is definitely a unique job. I use my blog as a spot to share news, educations and my musings with the industry and the public. It’s a place to peek under the hood of the life of a winemaker, if one is curious to do so,” said Crowe.

Writing Girl and the Grape has open many opportunities for Crowe. One of the most interesting and an exciting aspect of running her own blog is the engagement she creates with other wine lovers. She feels connected to the wine community “When other winemakers, the wine-consuming public or other wine bloggers and engaged beyond just the increasing “Facebook shares” tall. Then I know I’ve reached someone and impacted their day,” said Crowe.

Crowe never faces any shortage of ideas for post because she lives and works in a beautiful, fun place. Taking pictures to populate content is so easy and convenient for her. Yet, Crowe faces not enough time in the day to update her blog as often as she would like to. “The hardest part is finding the committed time between making wine and running my house and family, to sit down and actually get a post done,” said Crowe.

Crowe as a blog writer believes that blogging can be part of traditional journalism but all blogs are definitely not journalism and apart of the world of digital content.

“Blogs can come in many shapes and colors and have a multitude of agendas.  Some blogs are purely brand extensions of retailers, wineries and institutions and are there to further that brand’s story and provide shareable content.  Some blogs are political and can be more like the opinion columns of the internet.  Blog readers should take a good look at the “about” section of any blog and do some background research on the source so they have an idea of that person’s preconceived biases, said Crowe”.

After speaking with Crowe, I am inspired to keep posting interesting and meaningful material to my blog after her impactful advice. “Find a voice, have a mission and go for it,” said Crowe.

Wine Flights at Heritage Vineyard

This weekend I crossed another winery off my list as I enjoyed a wine tasting at Heritage Vineyard. Unlike your traditional wine tasting, Heritage offers Wine Flights, which consist of five different wines to sample. There are three different flights to select from. The Jersey Wine Flight consist of sweet wine such as Penlyn Place Moscato, Jersey Blush, Jersey Red, Jersey Shiraz, Jersey Apple. The Classic Flight consist more traditional wines such as 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Cuvee Blanc – 5th Edition, Cuvee Rouge – 3rd Edition, 2012 Merlot, 2013 Chambourcin. The last options is the Reserve Wine Flight which dry wines such as 2014 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, 2013 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Coeur d’Est, 2012 BDX. Explore these photos to see what wine flights we selected and what we enjoyed at Heritage Vineyard.