Sunday, March 10, 2019

My Newest Piece for THE CORK REPORT: Vineyard Designate: Pheasant Hill Vineyard (New Jersey)

The Cork Report

This is my newest piece for THE CORK REPORT. The idea is to showcase some of the best and most important vineyards sites on the East Coast and Midwest. We’re calling this new series “Vineyard Designate.”

Pheasant Hill Vineyard (credit: Unionville Vineyards)

Pheasant Hill Vineyard, which is owned and managed by Unionville Vineyards, currently has one of the largest and most celebrated blocks of chardonnay in the state, as well as blocks of pinot noir, syrah, viognier, and mourvedre.

It’s that chardonnay that has garnered the most praise.

The vineyard is located on the southern edge of the Sourland Mountains and is planted on a southern exposure, on a 12% south facing slope with a neutral ph, well-drained soil, over sandstone, shale, and clay. In short, an ideal location. The chardonnay comprises one whole block by itself.

The Pheasant Hill site was first planted in 1999 when friends and family helped Unionville’s managing partner Bob Wilson plant the first chardonnay vines on a south-facing field located below the Hunt House. A Johnson & Johnson executive for most of the 1990s, Wilson’s goal was to develop a vineyard, in his retirement, that would produce best possible wines. He had traveled extensively during his career, places like Europe, South Africa, Australia, and California, and in all these places he’d fallen in love with quality wines.

As fate would have it, he was not retired long. But fortunately, he was long enough to plant this unique vineyard site.