New Jersey's wine industry is a unique one, with a significant portion of sales coming from non-grape fruit wines such as apple, blueberry, raspberry and blueberry. While the quality of the wines produced in the state is generally good, producers have yet to determine which grapes are ideal for New Jersey, leading to a variety of grapes being planted across the 200 miles from north to south. Rieslings show promise in higher areas of the north, while Bordeaux varieties could potentially thrive on the coastal plains of the south. Despite grape production increasing in New Jersey, it is not keeping up with the increase in wine production, resulting in the industry relying more and more on grapes from other states. When it comes to wine consumption, New Jersey ranks high on the list.
Johnny Grapeseed has been promoting the idea that New Jersey could become an internationally recognized wine capital. To achieve this goal, the Department of Agriculture has identified strategies to ensure the economic viability of the state's wine industry. To this end, Rutgers Cooperative Extension was contacted to create a center to better serve the New Jersey wine industry. Chardonnay is currently the most produced grape in New Jersey, but it does not define the state's wine industry. As more farmers grow grapes for winemaking, Rutgers plays a key role in providing them with science and experience to access an increasingly profitable sector of the state's agricultural industry.
George Taber, author of “The Judgment of Paris” was also contacted for his expertise. Research conducted by pomologist Ward has shown that New Jersey producers would do well to develop blended wines to achieve long-term economic sustainability and consistent, high-quality harvests. New Yorkers often head east to Long Island for local wine tours, but New Jersey wineries are closer and much less predictable. With its beautiful landscapes and distinctive wines, New Jersey has much to offer and could become an internationally recognized wine capital with the right strategies in place.