What makes New Jersey's wine industry so remarkable is its diversity of grapes grown in the state. With its different growing conditions, New Jersey will never be known for having a unique variety, but it offers a unique and diverse group of wines for all palates in its different wine regions. By 1900, wine production in the area had peaked and eleven different wineries were producing 220,000 gallons of New Jersey wine. Over the years, New Jersey became famous for its native red wines.
Part of the Central Delaware Valley AVA is in New Jersey, but there are currently no New Jersey wineries in this wine-growing area. If New Jersey wants to accelerate fine wine production, Mike Beneduce believes that a culture of collaboration is vital. It doesn't make sense to be the “next Napa Valley” or “Willamette Valley”; the goal is to create New Jersey's first (and only) wine industry. In addition, the state seeks to certify wineries and allow the marketing of certain wines as part of its Jersey Fresh agricultural program, since they are produced with grapes grown in New Jersey.
The first vineyards in New Jersey were planted by Dutch colonists in the 17th century, and by the beginning of the 19th century, the state was home to more than 100 wineries. Major New Jersey farms produce some of the best bottles in the East, along with those found in New York or Virginia.
New Jersey winesquickly gained a reputation for quality, and by the mid-19th century, they were already being exported to Europe and Asia. These fruits are associated with New Jersey and can be purchased at many nearby farms throughout the Garden State.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has expressed concern that the wines made here are less and less dependent on grapes grown in the state and that business models are focused on obtaining grapes or juices for winemaking from other states. Authentic New Jersey wine was first cultivated in Vineland and Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, in the 1850s and 1860s. Thanks to the efforts of these producers, New Jersey once again has a thriving wine industry that is gaining international recognition. During a wine tasting at Beneduce Vineyards, he spoke at length about the potential for “exponential growth” of New Jersey wineries over the next decade.
His wine writing has appeared in dozens of print and online publications, including Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, Courier Post, Spirited Magazine, Edible Philly, Edible Jersey, USA Today, and Drink Philly. The state's climatic and geographical diversity provide ideal conditions for growing a wide range of grape varieties, and wineries in New Jersey are starting to experiment with new styles and blends. In 1985, the state legislature mandated the creation of the New Jersey Wine Industry Advisory Council, which serves to advise the state Secretary of Agriculture on the production and promotion of the state's wine industry. Today, New Jersey ranks seventh in the country in terms of total wine production, behind California, New York, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky and Florida.