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Drinking Our Way Through the Garden State: Part 1

Living in Jersey has it's advantages. We have the shore. We don't pump our own gas. And-little known fact-we have a TON of award winning wineries.

Last month, we signed up for a Pedal & Pour excursion (more about them here: Pedal & Pour) In a nutshell, it's winery hopping via bicycle. It was during this tour that we found out about the NJ Winery Passport Program.

Our bike tour luckily took us to two of the participating wineries in this program. You can ask any of the participating wineries for a passport when you have a tasting. The goal is to visit every single winery in a year (The program runs May-May). If you complete your passport (by having it stamped during a tasting at each winery), you mail it in for a chance to win a trip to a wine region in Europe. Completing this is no easy task-thus giving finishers probably the best damn odds ever of winning this trip.

As soon as we heard about it, we knew it was something that we absolutely HAD to do! So we decided to drink our way all around the state-and document it of course! I'm doing this challenge together with Janine & Brian from Travel, Run, Live .

August 2014

Cream Ridge Winery - Cream Ridge, NJ - Jersey Shore Wine Trail

Cream Ridge Winery was our very first stop-and one of my absolute favorites! I've been a fan of their wine for years, and this was my first opportunity to visit. I definitely favor the sweeter wines, and they are constantly coming up with some super unique flavors!  Pinot Mojito is exactly what it sounds like-Pinot Grigio with mint and lime. Other unique ones include Almond Berry (their signature wine), and Chocolate Berry.

If you're a sangria fan-you'll want to visit here at least once a season to try their seasonal sangria blends! We were there for their Summer Sangria, which had a strong citrus twist to it. I took home several bottles-plus one of their "sangria slush" packs also. I served this at a family dinner, and I was told to go back ASAP to bring back more. Harvest Sangria (with a splash of apple) is their autumn version, and available now.

Pedaling the 7.5 miles to Cream Ridge Winery (my knee quit sometime around mile four)

 Don't leave without trying:
Seasonal Sangria
Muscato Amabile

Laurita Winery - New Egypt, NJ - Jersey Shore Wine Trail

Laurita Winery was our second stop. This is the winery that our particular tour began and ended. Many of their wines spend time in oak barrels, and so I wasn't as crazy about them as I was about Cream Ridge. They do, however, have one thing that Cream Ridge does not: Chocolate Therapy Wine. This isn't a port, or a chocolate flavored wine. This is chocolate wine. And it tastes just like chocolate milk. Which is good going down. Bad when you accidentally kill a whole bottle because it tastes like chocolate milk. And as an added bonus, they also make Strawberry Wine, which tastes just like strawberry milk. And then someone realized that if you do a shot of each one together, it tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry. Oh boy.

They have a stunning property, which picnic tables that overlook the vineyards. They also have a small cafe inside where you can order a bite to eat to wash down all of the wine that you just finished chugging.

Grab a bite with a view!
  Don't leave without trying: 
Tailgate White
Chocolate Therapy (duh)

Current Count: 2 down, 37 to go!!

MUCH more winery fun to come, so check back soon!

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