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Jersey Shore Wine Festival
Jun 20, 2018

Cheers to the 8th Annual Jersey Shore Wine Festival!

By Joanne Colella

Jersey Shore Wine Festival

It was a toast-worthy weekend at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball team, where the Jersey Shore Wine Festival held its 8th annual event.

The festival on June 9-10 welcomed crowds of ticket holders to sample dozens of wines from an array of award-winning Garden State wineries, feast upon tasty food items, purchase crafts and other wares from various vendors, and listen to live music by the Crabdaddy Band and Tony Costa.

Sylvia Allen with volunteer

Sylvia Allen with volunteer

On the grounds surrounding the stadium, guests strolled from tent to tent, perusing the list of wines available at each stop before extending their commemorative glasses to sip a tasting and learn about the flavors, the fragrances, the grapes, and the ways they may be best served.

By the bandstand, couples and groups opened lawn chairs or spread out blankets to relax and enjoy music as they ate. Those who sought shade took shelter inside the stadium, where they could sit and survey the baseball field.

The Journal was once again a sponsor for this year’s festival, which showcased labels from Chestnut Run Farm, DiMatteo’s Vineyards, Four Sisters Winery, Monroeville Vineyard & Winery, Plagido’s Winery, Valenzano Winery, Villari Vineyards, and Wagonhouse Winery.

The Jersey Shore Wine Festival – along with its sister events, the Waretown Spring Wine Festival in April and the inaugural Cuisine on the Green Wine Festival in Little Egg Harbor in June – has become a popular tradition for Jersey wine fans, and a fun outing for those who are new to these unique Garden State varietals, which are not always available in retail wine and liquor stores.

Proceeds from the annual festival benefit Sylvia’s Children, a nonprofit organization founded by Holmdel resident Sylvia Allen after a trip to Uganda, when she earned the esteemed honorary title of “Grandmother” from the children there. Allen established Sylvia’s Children to support and expand programs offered at Mbirizi Advanced Primary and Day Care School in Uganda.

Jersey Shore Wine Festival

The Journal’s Nick Deckemejian and Deirdre Flanagan Ward

Over the years, the student population has grown from a few hundred students to more than 1,200, one-quarter of whom are orphans. Through the support of Sylvia’s Children, the children receive education, health care, safety, lodging, and food while learning life and career skills that allow them to be self-sufficient.

Each June and November, Allen travels to Uganda with volunteers who provide care, work, play with the children, and host much-anticipated annual birthday and Christmas parties, where students receive simple yet necessary gifts of shirts, dresses, candy, and small goody bags.

For information about Sylvia’s Children, visit For updates on the 2019 Jersey Shore Wine Festival, visit
Jersey Shore Wine Festival