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Garden State Grub

Post-holiday, wind your way through N.J. wine trail

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Looking for a great way to blow off some steam after talking politics at the Thanksgiving table?

The Garden State Wine Growers Association is hosting its third annual Holiday Wine Trail weekend from Friday through Sunday.

Select wineries from Sussex County to Cape May will host events such as Christmas carols, bonfires, live music, farm and vineyard tours and more in addition to complimentary tastings and promotions.

Wine trail travelers will also receive a wreath and an ornament at their first winery stop of the weekend, and then additional ornaments from each participating winery visited thereafter.

“If you go to one winery, they will tell you about others,” Tom Cosentino, executive director of the GSWGA, said. “It’s about keeping people on the trail and spreading the wealth to ensure people keep coming back.”

With almost 2,000 acres of New Jersey farmland now dedicated to grapevine cultivation, wine is one of the fastest growing segments of New Jersey agriculture.

From just a dozen producers 15 years ago to now over 50 licensed producers in New Jersey, the nearest winery is never more than 45 minutes away from a New Jersey resident.

“What our wineries do is get people to visit otherwise rural parts of the state and appreciate what New Jersey truly has to offer,” Cosentino said.

Holiday Wine Trailblazers also should remember to bring their passports — the passports provided by the GSWGA, that is.

“You can bring your passport to each participating winery to have it stamped,” Cosentino said. “You have three years to complete it and mail it back to us for a pair of tickets to any of our wine festivals held throughout the year.”

The completion of the Passport Program — whether in print or via an iPhone or Android app — also enters participants in an annual contest to win a luxury trip to a renowned wine destination.

Happy trails!

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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