Sunday afternoon the sweetie and I were heading down to Mays Landing for some crabs (review to follow) when I spotted a sign for Monroeville Vineyard & Winery just a mile off our route. I’d never heard of this winery before so I was excited to make a small diversion to check it out. And I’m so glad that we did!
Located on a sleepy stretch of Richwood Road, the winery is set in a beautiful area of farmland, grapevines growing behind tall tassels of corn. The winery is quite new – not even listed in the Garden State Wine Growers Association Passport yet – but what we tasted Sunday afternoon proved to me that they are serious about producing some great tasting wine from both local and imported grapes.
Their tasting room is spacious and inviting, with a long bar, racks of wine bottles, plenty of tables to sit and relax. They even had a guitarist performing Sunday afternoon, creating a nice festive atmosphere for the tasting. One can sample up to 4 wines each for free, and the pours were generous enough to get a real taste for each wine. Since we had a bit of a drive ahead of us yet and another winery to visit, we didn’t quite sample as many as we could. But we both fell totally in love with their two Chilean grape wines – the Basile made from Merlot grapes and the El Primero from Syrah. These were smooth, full bodied, and elegant – we had to take home a bottle of each, and I look forward to tasting their New Jersey Cabernet Franc which will be released this fall, given their obvious hand with dry red wines. They have Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner and Moscato grapes planted in their vineyard currently.
We sampled also several sweeter wines, including the New Jersey-grown Moscato, Villard Blanc and Monroeville Red. I liked the Moscato the best – it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. The Monroeville Red is your classic Concord grape wine, but still with a better flavor than I’ve tasted at other local wineries and one that could be fun for parties and perhaps sangria, when you want something like and fruity. My partner also really liked their Semi-Dry Plum Wine, which was a nice change of pace from your typical fruit wines.
In talking with the owners, they have some great ideas about opening the tasting room space for artists, jewelry makers and other crafters who would like to host parties and workshops in the tasting room. I myself plan on following up on that offer to perhaps host a jewelry party this fall before the holidays. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend checking out Monroeville Vineyard & Winery.
Monroeville Vineyard & Winery
314 Richwood Road
Tasting room hours: Friday and Saturday 11am – 7pm; Sunday 12pm – 5pm.