Wednesday, April 25, 2018

John Cifelli Spreading the Good Word About New Jersey Wine (NJ)

I used to think I knew  lot about New Jersey wine. And for many years, I did. Even as many wine writers scoffed, I fought the good fight to promote quality focused New Jersey wine. While my fortunes took me elsewhere, I continued to try to fight the good fight, but I was also touting the charms and artisanal products of my adopted state of New York. Hard to devote your heart to both.

Enter John Cifelli. He is without question the new Pinball Wizard and has been for the last five or seven years. He is doing everything he can. I first met John I think when he was with the Garden State Winemakers Association, where he did a terrific job. He is currently the General Manager at Unionville Vineyards and the spokesperson for the Winemaker's Co-op. And in a stroke of good luck for New Jersey, he is the most vocal advocate of quality wine in the Garden State, and has been for some time. And he's doing a great job of it.

Here's John's bio from the Unionville Vineyards website: John is a 15 year veteran of the New Jersey food, beverage, and hospitality industries. John combines his passions for world-class hospitality and fine wines to define Unionville as a benchmark for East Coast wine production. John held management roles at New Jersey dining landmarks The Stockton Inn and Blue Morel. John is on his second tour of duty at Unionville, with a two year stint as the Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association in between. Besides focusing on business development, marketing, and guest experience at Unionville, John also currently serves as the Executive Director of The Winemakers Co-Op. John is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and hosts a monthly wine tasting club at the winery. He lives in Hunterdon County with his family of ardent Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Here's a photo taken at a tasting that wine writer Lenn Thompson and I attended of The Winemaker's Co-Op. John has done a great job getting these quality wines noticed.

John is a whiz kid from Rutgers agricultural and enology program.

For those of you who don't know, the Winemaker's Co-op was created by four New Jersey wineries to promote the fine wine movement in the Garden State.  The goal is to highlight and encourage premium New Jersey wine production with exclusive events, press outreach, and industry investment.
Founding wineries Beneduce Vineyards (Pittstown), Heritage Vineyards (Mullica Hill), Unionville Vineyards (Ringoes), and Working Dog Winery (East Windsor) are dedicated to encouraging the movement for fine wines in the Garden State. We hope that you will join us in celebrating this exciting venture at a crucial moment for the New Jersey wine industry. John is the person who gave us the tour, and explained the new landscape of New Jersey wine. There are many other good quality producers that aren't part of the co-op but this is an exceptional first step in promoting quality wine in the state.

Every state or region needs such as person. Glad to see NJ has one of the good ones. John has done a great deal as a regional wine promoter and deserves the kudos! Go John!