The day began with plans to drive to Philly on our day off. Being wine enthusiasts and it being a sunny winter day, we decided to stop at ONE vineyard on the way, Hopewell Valley Vineyards in Pennington, NJ.
The parking lot was almost empty and the walkway icy (VERY icy) when we stopped in that morning. The main room when we walked in was empty but has a large bar and stage which they utilize on weekend for live music. We walked up the steps to the second bar where we were greeted by a friendly bartender.
We each chose a variety of wines to taste, and between tastes, we browsed their selection of wine-themed gifts along the walls. It was while doing so that we happened upon one small book that would change the course of our day…. AND OUR YEAR. The book was a passport for all the wineries in New Jersey. The bartender explained that you can take the passport to all of the wineries in New Jersey. At each winery, they stamp the book, and once you’ve visited each of the wineries (however long it takes), you can submit it to be entered to win a wine trip to Europe. Our mission began.
Our mission, you ask?
“Julie you know what would be fun?”
“We should go to all of the vineyards… by the end of 2014!”
Needless to say, we never made it to Philly!
After completing our tasting, we purchased a bottle of their Spuma Rossa*, or as the bartender called it, “Party in a Bottle,” and began our search for nearby wineries. Now seeing as it was a Monday, in the winter, and a holiday, not many wineries were open, but we found a few wineries nearby in New Hope, Pennsylvania. We went to Crossings Vineyard and New Hope Vineyard, but since we are the NEW JERSEY Wine & Dine girls, we won’t get into those! (To be fair, though, they are certainly worth stopping at if you’re in the area!)
Let us tell you more about the winery! We didn’t get to explore too much of the outdoors as it was covered in snow and ice, but in the warmer months there is outdoor seating and beautiful views. We did explore the interior of the building and saw where they store all of the barrels, most of which were taller than us! It was nice that it wasn’t busy, but there is ample room for crowds for their music events on the weekends and space to host parties. Brick oven pizza is also available on the weekends. The wine tasting fee is $6 for 6 wines and you get to keep the wine glass as a souvenir. Between the two of us, we got to sample a majority of the wines.
When we left Hopewell, we didn’t know which wineries we’d visit on our next outing, but we had a date set!
*Spuma Rossa is a light-bodied, sweet red sparking wine. Easy drinking for an afternoon brunch or girls’ night in! We would also recommend the Chardonnay, which is oak-aged and has flavors of pear, apple and vanilla.