Spirit Cruises Summer 2019 Leaderboard

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
spacer

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:
 
Enjoy Fall Weather & PA Ciders in a Historic Setting at CiderFest, October 15 & 16

Enjoy Fall Weather & PA Ciders in a Historic Setting at CiderFest, October 15 & 16

Fall is here and what better way to celebrate than at CiderFest at the historic Woodford Mansion in Fairmount ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 13, 2022
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
WitchCraft: Halloween Themed Beer Fest in the Middle of the NJ Woods Returns October 14 & 15

WitchCraft: Halloween Themed Beer Fest in the Middle of the NJ Woods Returns October 14 & 15

The team behind the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival have conjured up a spellbinding event - WitchCraft - a...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 12, 2022
SPONSORED
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
LMNO: An Inside Look at Their 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Cocktail Menu

LMNO: An Inside Look at Their 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Cocktail Menu

Fishtown has a new Baja Mexican destination for tequila and mezcal fans...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 14, 2022
Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

In this installment of Behind the Bar, we sit down with Barry Johnson, better known as "Bartender Barry" of Instagram and as cocktail catering special...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 9, 2022
Victory Brewing's New Philadelphia Location on the Parkway Now Open

Victory Brewing's New Philadelphia Location on the Parkway Now Open

Victory Brewing Co just launched their newest venture right in the heart of Philadelphia, making the former TG...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 26, 2021
Philly Cider Week Returns This Year, October 26-31

Philly Cider Week Returns This Year, October 26-31

Cider fans rejoice because after taking a hiatus last year, Philly Cider Week is back for it's third year....read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 14, 2021
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
 Victory's New Philadelphia Brewery on the Parkway to Open this Fall

Victory's New Philadelphia Brewery on the Parkway to Open this Fall

Victory Brewing Co. is opening its first Philadelphia taproom and brewery in the heart of Center City at 1776 ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 12, 2021
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close