Wine experts say that fall is prime time for visiting wineries in New Jersey because it is the harvest season, when grapes are ripe on the vine.  

Over the years, the Garden State has earned credibility as a quality wine-producing state, in great part due to its fertile soil.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day this season, consider a trip to one of these wineries:

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Beneduce Vineyards in Pittsown

Beneduce Vineyards is a 50-acre farm nestled in the rolling hills of Hunterdon County. Its laid-back atmosphere is both kid- and pet-friendly, and essentially designed to be a meeting place for members of the local community.

Claim to Fame: Recognized as one of the “Top 25 Vineyards in the US” in 2018 by Travel + Leisure for its unique combination of estate-grown wines and picturesque farm setting. Owner and Winemaker Mike Beneduce recommends their 2017 Blaufrankisch, which is an Austrian-style red. It drinks like a Pinot Noir, with darker fruit and a slightly smoky finish that pairs great with duck or pork dishes.

Bellview Winery in Landisville

On Fridays and Saturdays between 4 and 8 p.m. from now through Oc.t 16, you can enjoy live music and munchies here from local food trucks. They’ve also created seating for private fire pit rentals to mimic a cozy backyard setting so you and your friends can sip on wine selections near the warmth of a fire.

A seasonal special called Canelle is a sweet white wine with pumpkin pie spices. It's very tasty cold, and fun to mix with heated apple cider on a crisp fall evening.

Claim to Fame:

Bellview Winery takes pride in growing all of its grapes on premise, as not every winery grows its own fruit. They strive to make wines that measure up to the quality of other great winemaking regions like Europe and California and they’ve won competition medals to back it up.

Cream Ridge Winery in Cream Ridge

Keeping it simple is how they roll. While other wineries have larger facilities, Cream Ridge opts for small batches of wine through sustainable practices. After all, this practice has been working for them for over 32 years.

Claim to Fame:

“Diverse Wines for Diverse Living” is the mantra. “We make a very diverse menu of wines that most wineries will not attempt,” said CEO Tim Schlitzer. “Many wineries like to focus on grapes only, while we try all kinds of wines, from grape to apple, blueberry, mango, passionfruit, pineapple, apricot, plum — you name it.” 

The Wine Room in Manalapan Township

If you are looking for a unique experience or want to make memorable family traditions, The Wine Room in Manalapan is the place to come. A certified sommelier will lead you in a multi-session class to make your own wine.

Claim to Fame:

As the only hands-on winery in Monmouth County, The Wine Room allows guests to experience the excitement of hand-crafting your very own wines from over 25 varieties of select grapes brought in from California and Chile. (For those who like to get a jump on gifting ideas for the holidays, consider personalized wine stocking stuffers.)

Hawk Haven in Rio Grande

The farmland of Hawk Haven has been lovingly cultivated by the same family for three generations. Starting as a cattle farm in the 1940s, the farm evolved through growing pumpkins and other produce, and currently thrives as an expansive vineyard. This sense of history and kinship has endured throughout the years. Once you are at Hawk Haven, whether you are staff or guest, you become part of the family.

Claim to Fame:

“Our guests say the best thing about Hawk Haven is the friendly and knowledgeable staff,” said Wine Consultant Lynsie Patterson. “The customer experience is one of our top priorities, and we do our best to make sure guests have a great time while they're here, try something different, discover their new favorite wine and leave feeling excited to return again.”

More on NJ Flavor:

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Check Out These NJ Honey Farms During National Honey Month

New Jersey Date Night: San Gennaro Festival, DIY Style

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