Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wagonhoue WInery Blueberry Table Wine from New Jersey

Wagonhouse WInery is a family owned vineyard and winery in the heart of South Jersey. Tastings available daily at Grasso Girls Farm Market located at 353 Wolfert Station Road, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062.

Dan & Heather Brown own Wagonhouse Winery. While earning his degree in Agriculture (Plant and Soil Science) from the University of Delaware, Dan remained very active with the family farm. The Browns have been farming in New Jersey since the late 1800s. After graduation, he continued to work with his uncle to expand the hay and straw retail business and a custom farming business as well. In 2001 he moved on to and continues to work for the Gloucester County Soil Conservation District as an Agricultural Resource Specialist. The dream of opening a winery began when Dan started making wine for personal consumption in 1998.

Heather and Dan married in September 2003 and their son, Dallas Haddon Brown was born the following year. In the mean time Wagonhouse Winery, LLC was established and Dan and Heather found themselves working toward a goal that they had only dreamt of previously. As the vineyard continued to grow, so did their family. Dawson Pierce Brown was born January 10, 2007.

The Browns story is a personal one. It's about their story together, and about how the Browns chnaged around the model that their farming operation was based on, like some other farmers in the region, like the Heritage family. The culmination of Dan and Heather's backgrounds and the guidance and support of fellow wineries has allowed them to produce quality wines. Each bottle has had their individual care from planting and nurturing the vines, to crushing and fermenting the fruit, and finally bottling and labeling the wine.

Dominique and the family and I had been driving around New Jersey during the summer, when I begged Dominique to visit the Grasso Sisters Farm Stand so that we could taste some Wagonhouse Wine. We were in a rush, so I had to buy a bottle on the blind. The Blueberry wine has twice won awards, and so I took a shot. Dominique was not impressed with my selection.

Now, to say I am not the hugest fan of dark sweet wines other than ports, is an understatement. I am not usually a fruit wine drinker, though I know of several I like very much. But semi-sweet reds is not the field I play in at all. Nor Dominique.

According to the Browns, "The best fruit makes the best wine, so what better place to pick blueberries than the blueberry capitol of the world, Hammonton, NJ. Fermented dry and then lightly sweetened, off-dry to semi-sweet, this is a wine drinkers fruit wine."

Suffice to say, I bought it, brought it home, and promptly forgot about it. Then the other night, we had company and Dominique brought out a slew of fruit wines for after dinner enjoyment. And there was the Wagonhouse Blueberry Table Wine.

With some trepidation, I opened the bottle and poured a taste for my guests and myself. There was big blueberry on the nose, almost like bluebbery pie. A sip, and I was pleased. It was a light-tomedium red wine that tasted of blueberries. Blue berries are very hard to get across. But this was different. A wonderful, wonderful wine. A nice surprise. And the Brown's were right...it's a wine drinker's fruit wine. Not too sweet. Not cloying. Didn't taste like bad cough medicine, but like a well made semi-sweet wine. Very good!

Try some!!