New Jersey's climate can be a challenge for viticulture, with high summer temperatures, heat waves and humidity. Varieties such as Pinot Noir and Sangiovese, which require cooler and less humid nights, are difficult to grow in the state. However, with careful planning and an open mind to tasting wines made from grapes that thrive in a changing climate, it is possible to start a successful viticulture operation in New Jersey. Good planning is essential for anyone thinking of opening a vineyard or winery in the state. The New Jersey Wine Grape Research and Education Center website contains links to information about wine grape production in the state, as well as interactive maps on the suitability of grape sites.
The State Committee on Agricultural Development (SADC) of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) offers a website, Resources for New and Aspiring Farmers, that contains links to information to help those starting out in agriculture get a successful start. Rutgers Cooperative Extension is also a provider and employer of equal opportunity programs. Depending on the area under cultivation and water use, irrigation of grapes may require approval and certification from the state of New Jersey. The Organic Certification and Production Guide provides potential organic producers with all the information necessary to certify their farm or vineyard as organic in New Jersey. Vanessa Murdock from CBS New York visited two vineyards to learn about the impacts of climate change on grapes and how producers protect their crops. New Jersey's most productive vineyards benefit from supplemental moisture through irrigation during planting years and periods of drought stress.
The Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station, State University of New Jersey, is located at 88 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525. With careful planning and research into the best varieties for the climate, it is possible to start a successful viticulture operation in New Jersey. Resources are available to help aspiring farmers get started, including websites with information about wine grape production in the state, regulatory issues, organic certification and more.