Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cape May Winery & Vineyards


Our last stop in our daytrip to Cape May, NJ was Cape May Winery & Vineyards - it also was the main reason we headed into Cape May for the day.

I had bought a deal on Philly Dealyo for 2 for 1 tour and tasting tickets - and I couldn't have redeemed it on a better day.   Adam and I have done probably about a half dozen winery tours or so - and Ive done another couple without Adam - and for the most part - they start to get redundant.

This one though had a few things that none of the others ever had on my previous tours:
  • We came on a day that they were bottling their port, so we didn't just get to see the bottling area - we actually got to see the process in work - which was really cool.    
  • We got to pick a grape off the vine and use a cool (expensive) tool that could show you the sugar content of the grape.    
  • We got to taste a brand new wine that hasn't even been bottled yet
  • We got to taste wine straight from the barrel
To start with, we got there super early, so they told us that they had a deck that we could hang out on, as that would be the only place the tour wouldn't take us, so Adam went upstairs to the deck - and that would be an awesome place to just hang out with friends, a bottle of wine and some food.   They have an indoor and outdoor area that are well furnished and decorated.   When outside, you have a beautiful view of the vineyards.
 












After hanging out for a bit on the deck, we went back downstairs and met the tour guide where we were directed.   At that time, she took us outside right in front of the vines and had us taste our first wine.   It was their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay - which was unfortunately out of stock   It was a really nice, dry white, slighlty fruity flavors, but not sweet and very smooth.   Adam and I were both fans of it and would have totally bought 1 or 2 bottles if they had it.

At this point on the tour we started to get a history of the vineyard and their process.   It was actually at this winery (before it was a winery) where grape growing started in the Cape May area.   The owner at the time had a farm on the land, and was approached by Rutgers (I think it was Rutgers) to see if they could test the ability to grow grapes for wine on the land.   It thrived, and the owner ended up planting many more vines and it only grew from there.   I also learned something that I had never seen/heard on any of my other tours.   This winery has a rose bush at the end of each row - the reason being that the rose bush is susceptible to all the diseases and bugs that the vines get, but will show earlier, so they check the rose bushes everyday, and if something is wrong, they will know how to handle it before it even affects the vines. 

Next stop on the tour was the bottling facility, where they were currently bottling their port.   I had seen many bottling facilities, but never when they were actually in action.   I tried to get a video, but there were some SUPER annoying North Jersey folks on the tour who stood in the middle and barely let the rest of us in - so alas, no good video. 

From there, we went in to their brand new tasting room - which is where they used to keep all the barrels (and still are keeping many of them).

Then on to our last stop - the barrel room, where they had cheese and cracker display for us, as well as some cabernet grapes that were taken off the vine for us to try (pretty good!).

In the barrel room, we got to try a couple wines that weren't bottled yet, and therefore we were tasting them directly from the barrels.   This was a new experience for me - and was pretty neat.



















In here we got to taste the majority of their wines, and unfortunately I can't find my tasting sheet and can't remember all the wines - but I know that I liked the majority of their wines.   Adam's palate is different than mine - he likes more sweet, I like dry.   I prefer smoother wines, but do like a lot of dry wines that have some "boldness" to them - whereas Adam only likes them dry if they are smooth.   So with that, we only agreed on 3 wines - so thats all we walked out with.

We also learned something random on our tasting.   Many people get headaches after (even during) drinking red wine, and the reason (they think it) is because of the sulfites.    We were told that red wine actually had much less sulfites than other food and drink that we consume often - instead its because of the histamines in the wine - and that you should take an antihistamine to prevent the headache.    She actually joked/encouraged taking the antihistamine with your wine - even though we are directed not to mix OTC drugs and alcohol - LOL.

Anyways, we really enjoyed this winery for the wine, atmosphere and the educational and fun tour - so if you are in the area, I highly recommend the tour.   As I mentioned in the beginning, we bought it as a 2 for 1, but Id even recommend it at the full price of $20 per person.   You get a good tour (and if you go around the same time we did - end of August - you might also get the opportunity to see so many things you don't normally get to see on these tours), a free glass, lots of wine to taste and plenty of cheese and crackers to snack on.

Click here to see all the pictures I took during the tour.

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