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Welcome Spring with a Trip to a NJ Wine Festival

Written by Joanne Colella

Spring approaches, and winter-weary New Jerseyans are more than ready to venture out and start enjoying day trips to all the season has to offer, including some fabulous festivals. Among them are some toast-worthy wine events, featuring tastings of outstanding wines from an array of award-winning Garden State vineyards. Wineries in New Jersey have become increasingly popular each year, both for the bottles they produce and for the welcoming atmosphere they offer to those who would like to make an outing of their wine sampling.

Perhaps the best, and certainly the most convenient, way to “visit” the wide assortment of wineries located throughout the state is by attending a weekend wine festival. There, you’ll find tents and tables staffed by friendly and knowledgeable representatives from participating wineries who are more than willing to offer free tastings of the labels they have on hand. Not sure if your palate prefers dry or sweet wines? Or are you wondering about some of popular and unique fruit blends? Maybe you’d even like to learn about how to mix different flavors of wine to create an enticing and refreshing drink. Perhaps you’re not quite sure what type of grape produces which kind of wine. All of this information and more is at your fingertips at a wine festival, without the risk of going out and buying an untasted bottle to find out on your own. Once you’re done perusing the tents and finished sipping the samples that intrigue you, you can circle back and make your purchases right on the spot, to be shared later with family and friends at home or at your next BYOB restaurant dinner.

waretown wine festival 2019

This month brings the Fifth Annual Waretown Spring Wine Festival, to be held on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 from 12 to 5 pm both days. It is located at the Waretown Recreation and Lake Area at 182 Wells Mill Road in Waretown, just a short distance from Long Beach Island. In addition to sampling wines from a nice variety of award-winning Garden State wineries, festival guests can look forward to live entertainment, crafters, retail vendors and food vendors. Come out and take in what will hopefully be a spectacular April day (festival is held rain or shine) while overlooking a beautiful lake under magnificent shade trees.

At press time, the participating wineries for the 2019 Waretown Spring Wine Festival were to include: Cedar Rose Winery, Cream Ridge Winery, DiMatteo Vineyards, Plagido’s Winery, Valenzano Winery, Villari Vineyards, Wagonhouse Winery, and White Horse Winery. Live musical entertainment will feature performances by acoustic rock artist Astronaut Jones and Crabdaddy Band and Tony Costa. Vendors are continually being added, with everything from Scentsy, Swarovski Crystals, and Judy’s Ink Creations to Mister Softee ice cream, Jersey Roll, and Latin Bites. For all of the most recent information, look for Waretown Spring Wine Festival on Facebook for frequent updates.

Jersey shore wine festival 2019

A bit later in the season will be the Ninth Annual Jersey Shore Wine Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 from 12 to 5 pm at FirstEnergy Park, 2 Stadium Way in Lakewood  – home of the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball team. Plans were still being finalized for the June celebration, with most of the same favorite wineries seen at the Waretown Spring Wine Festival returning here, too – so this is another chance to visit them if you missed the April event, or an opportunity to restock your favorites that you may have discovered before! The Jersey Shore Wine Festival, held rain or shine, will also feature live musical entertainment, crafters, vendors, and food offerings to be enjoyed throughout the weekend – all held on the grassy grounds outside the terrific stadium, with easy access to sit and enjoy the view across the baseball field. Follow updates at Jersey Shore Wine Festival on Facebook.

Advance tickets for either the Waretown Spring Wine Festival or the Jersey Shore Wine Festival are $20 per person (over 21 years of age only) if purchased by April 26; thereafter, they are $30 per person. You may also buy a two-day ticket for either festival for $30 if pre-purchased or for $40 that weekend. Individual day tickets can be used on either Saturday or Sunday. Are you planning to attend the festival with friends or family, but not sampling the wines? Your ticket price is only $5. Tickets may be ordered through Eventbrite.com (click on events and type the name of the festival you’re interested in) and on Groupon.com with special discount offers while they last.

Gather some friends and make plans for a great, grape-filled day trip! All of the net proceeds from both wine festivals are donated to Sylvia’s Children, a Holmdel-based nonprofit organization that has been working for more than 15 years to improve the living conditions for more than 1,000 children – 25 percent of whom are orphans – in the village of Mbiriizi in Uganda, Africa. For more information, call 732-946-2711 or email Sylvia.Allen@AllenConsulting.com.

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