When it comes to festivals in New York, New Jersey tends to get overlooked. But I'm here to tell you it's worth it to travel to the other side of the Hudson - especially when wine is involved!


With my first wine sample in hand I looked around the Jersey City Wine Fest space, which included more than 60 tables and over 200 wine samples, and knew the strategy for my 5 hours of tastings was simple...a leisurely peruse. 

There were a myriad of choices covering almost every category you could imagine – Rosé, Malbec, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Red Blends, White Blends and the list goes on. Wineries from all over the world catered to not only vinophiles, but to the novice as well. And for those who wanted a little more information seminars by Marla Priest, a director at Mana Wine, were featured every 45 minutes, diving further into people's favorite varieties, with even more tastings. 

We were able to sample a 24 month aged blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah from California called "The Butler", an unreal Moscato from Italy, a cheeky Pinot Grigio name "Available", and a gorgeous full-bodied Malbec which surprisingly came from Bordeaux (not Argentina).

As VIP guests we were treated to a buffet prior to starting our tastings, and the food was amazingly inspired! There was bacon mac n' cheese with a pretzel crust, perfectly seasoned jerk chicken with rice, bleu cheese covered grapes, and a rum cranberry bread pudding. Take it from someone who isn't the biggest bread pudding fan, this was deeee-lish! 

One of my favorite tables featured wines from Trinchero Family Estates. In addition to their Menage a Trois Chardonnay and Red Blend I fell in love with the red and whites from Taken Wine Co. Founded by two friends in Napa, the wines immediately caught my eye due to their hilarious names, "Available", "Complicated" and "Taken". The "Available" Pinot Grigio was a perfect balance of ripe fruit and softness you long for in an Italian grape. "Complicated" was a delightfully fruity Chardonnay, oozing with classic Sonoma County grapes. And my personal favorite, the "Taken" Red Blend. Even though the name ironically doesn't mirror my personal life, it lingered perfectly with hints of dark berries, cherries and plum. 

Scattered throughout the space were additional food tables, as well as a handful of liquor and cider tables. Pre-made beverages are not usually associated with the words “well crafted cocktail” but Tres Papalote figured out how to perfectly curated a Mezcal Mule in a bottle. It was the perfect blend of citrus, ginger beer and a hint of smokiness. I was also impressed that so many of the wineries put as much care and thought into their packaging as they did in their varietals. 

La Catrina Vino  from Napa, California

La Catrina Vino from Napa, California

Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Sonoma County, California) Limited Edition  Director's Cut  - which pays homage to the history of filmmaking.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Sonoma County, California) Limited Edition Director's Cut - which pays homage to the history of filmmaking.

Gemma di Luna Moscato  from Italy 
Voga Italia  Limited Edition Pinot Grigio (L) and Rosa (R)

Voga Italia Limited Edition Pinot Grigio (L) and Rosa (R)

Not only did this night experience my palette for wine, it also taught me more about the fine art of identifying your alcohol limits when it comes to unlimited tastings. The wine community is a fascinating one full of innovation. The was an event well worth attending - even if I did have to travel across the East and Hudson Rivers to get there. 

**We were invited guests to the Jersey City Wine Fest. All opinions are my own**