When you think of wine, what comes to mind? Ok, let’s see. Grapes. California. Europe maybe? How about New Jersey?

Yes! It’s true.

The Garden State is actually a budding location for the wine industry and it’s actually becoming more and more popular each year.

New Jersey is known for its fresh produce. Wine is actually the fastest growing agriculture segment in the state. With 39 wineries in the state and 16 applications waiting in the wings, it continues to increase in popularity. The whole industry is highlighted in the March issue of New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

According to editor Ken Schlager, the climate of the state makes it an ideal place to grow the grapes necessary for that glass of Chardonnay. He says “it’s interesting because many people don’t realize before prohibition, there were hundreds of wineries in New Jersey. Many of them voluntarily closed or were shut down. Some operated illegally. There’s still a large interest in wine development in the state.”

In addition to the historical aspects of the industry, the publication convened a panel of experts for a blind taste test. There as good and bad news according to Schlager. He says “in every category, the participants found some wines worthy of praise. Some of the Merlots were bad and one wine was judged to be too chewy.”

As of May 1st of this year, wineries around New Jersey will finally be able to ship bottles to customers. Up to now, you could only go to a winery or buy a bottle in a liquor store that carries homegrown wine. The law will change that which Schlager feels will help distribution.

The March issue of New Jersey Monthly hits newsstands next week. For more information or to find locations where you can obtain your copy, visit the New Jersey Monthly website.