Food & Drink

Blues & Wine Festival at Natirar Park

Credits: Walter Pardo, Managing Partner

Beautiful Natirar Park in Peapack-Gladstone in Somerset County will once again provide the scenic backdrop when the Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA) hosts their annual Blues & Wine Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-26 from Noon-5 p.m. each day. Rain date is May 27.

This year, the GSWGA’s first outdoor wine tasting event of the year will offer a sampling of more than 250 award winning New Jersey wines from over 20 wineries and gourmet foods within the confines of one of the most beautiful park settings in the state. Admission is $25 per person at the door and includes a souvenir wine glass. Attendees will be able to purchase wine by the bottle and case. Advance tickets are also available for $20 by going online at All of the wines available for sampling have been locally produced and feature a number of gold, silver and bronze award winning vintages from major national competitions including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, The Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and the Beverage Testing Institute Wine Challenge.

“There’s no more beautiful a setting than Natirar Park,” said Ollie Tomasello, Chairman of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. “This is an ideal opportunity for people to come out and sample the finest wines in New Jersey while enjoying the natural beauty of Natirar Park.” Winners of the New Jersey Wine Competition will be announced at the event on Saturday and will be showcasing their medals. The 2013 New Jersey Winery of the Year will also be unveiled. On Sunday, the GSWGA will draw the winner of this year’s Passport competition. All completed passport books will be placed in a bin and one lucky winner that visited every GSWGA winery and had their passport stamped will win a trip for two to wine country in Portugal. In addition, next year’s trip to Austria & Hungary will be released.

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Outstanding local musical talent will take the stage each day at the event. Featured performers include: May 25- Chuck Lambert Band: May 26- D DeanSHot Blues Band: The Chuck Lambert Band is a powerhouse blues band. While drawing upon the influences of many Blues genres, such as Chicago and Texas-style blues and Kansas City jump, they also inject an original perspective into their performances. Playing the blues for over 40 years, Chuck Lambert complements his fiery guitar playing with compelling vocals. Chuck delivers string after string of blues "bullets," but he can also sound as soft as an acoustic 12-string guitar. Chuck has led the band as they opened for popular artists, (such as Little Feat and Kenny Wayne Shepard), performed in popular places (such as NJPAC and The Count Basie Theatre) and performed at many, many festivals over the years. More than 10 years of festivals include Festiblues International de Montreal; Riverhead Blues Festival; Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival at Six Flags Great Adventure, Freehold, and Toms River, New Jersey; Westfield Jazz & Blues Festival; Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival; Clearwater Festival at Sandy Hook; the Jazz in the Park Series in Red Bank; just to name a few. Vocalist and Guitarist DeanSHot is an artist of the highest form, hailing from New Jersey. Dean's singing and playing explode with soul, self-expression, emotion and creativity. Dean's playing incorporates many diverse musical influences and draws from his unique experiences growing up in Northern New Jersey, surrounded by various cultures. Finding inspiration in a large variety of early American music, Dean's influences can often be clearly heard, yet he delivers a strong style that is all his own.

Wineries at the Festival include: 4JG's, Colts Neck Auburn Road Winery & Vineyard, Pilesgrove Bellview Winery, Landisville Cava Winery, Hamburg Chestnut Run Winery, Pilesgrove Coda Rossa Winery, Franklinville Cream Ridge Winery, Cream Ridge DiBella Winery, Woolwich Twp. DiMatteo Vineyard, Hammonton Four Sisters Winery at Mattarazzo Farms, Belvidere Heritage Vineyards, Mullica Hill Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Pennington Old York Cellars, Ringoes Plagido's Winery, Hammonton Renault Winery, Egg Harbor Sharrott Winery, Winslow Silver Decoy Winery, East Windsor Tomasello Winery, Hammonton Unionville Vineyards, Ringoes Valenzano Winery, Shamong Ventimiglia Vineyard, Wantage Wagonhouse Winery, Swedesboro To purchase tickets in advance and for more information on the Garden State Wine Growers Association, visit

The Blues and Wine Festival is Supported in part by a Grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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