(HOLMDEL, N. J.) — It’s not just businesses and out-of-work employees that are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Nonprofits, which depend on donations, are going through the same agonizing times. Sylvia’s Children produces two wine festivals each year: the Waretown Wine Festival and the Jersey Shore Wine Festival, both of which raise funds for the nonprofit and have had to be rescheduled from their spring dates to the fall. This postponement is not only devastating to the organization but to the wineries, as well, that are now being challenged. 

            Recognizing this, Sylvia’s Children is launching the first-ever Virtual Wine Festival©. This is a chance for virtual festivalgoers to still learn about and enjoy unique New Jersey wines in their own homes, without jeopardizing their health by going to populated places, and lend vital support! Every week, new wineries will be added along with new wines from participating ones.

The first three featured wineries are White Horse, Auburn Road, and Wagonhouse, each presenting their wines and small plates for virtual wine tour offerings.

White Horse (Hammonton)

White Horse Winery, located at 106 Hall Street in lovely Hammonton, N. J., opened their doors in July of 2016. Situated on a gorgeous 60-acre farm, White Horse specializes in fine, Old World-style wines. Under normal circumstances, they offer a beautiful tasting room as well as fire pits and picnic tables outside. Their tasting room offers artisan pairing boards such as gourmet cheese and antipasto. And don’t forget about their spirited vineyard dog, Macie. She is there most days to greet customers and ask to be petted!

Their first featured wines are an Estate Chardonnay and OCP Cabernet Franc.

Auburn Road (Pilesgrove)

Established in 2003, Auburn Road Vineyard, Winery, and Enoteca are located in Salem County just outside Woodstown, New Jersey. In addition to its own 23 acres of vines, Auburn Road supports other local vineyards that supply grapes to the winery, where more than 14 wines are made each year. With a passion for creating high-quality wine, theirs is an Old World style using small batch fermentation, gentle use of oak, and a keen sense of balance as a frame to present the beauty of the fruit. The wine is the centerpiece of the agri-tourism experience at Auburn Road, which also offers delicious wood-fired pizza, gelato, cappuccino, cheese plates, and regional music every week at their beautiful vineyard wine bar called The Enoteca – itself a warm and inviting work of art.A delicious pizza from Enoteca goes well with either wine here.

The first featured wines are The White Bottle 2018 and Gaia 2016

Wagonhouse (South Harrison Township)

In early 2004, Dan and Heather decided to start a vineyard and winery. They leased some land from Dan’s family – who had been farming in Mickleton for over a century – planted some grapes, and hoped for the best. Twelve years, 18 to 25 wines, and three little boys later, they are still moving forward with all the energy and creativity they started with! The name, by the way, came from the old wagon house on the Brown family farm. The idea was to build a tasting room someday, modeled after that very building. Ironically enough, the building that is now their tasting room was once the site of the original wagon house for the farm, located at 1401 Route 45 – and they have the pictures to prove it!

Easter is just around the corner and their first virtual tasting features a wonderful (and easy) Easter brunch option, as they are featuring Kick in the Glass, their tomato wine! To accompany it at your brunch, they are suggesting a Bacon and Egg Flatbread

               Future Virtual Wine Festival tastings will feature DiMatteo Winery, Villari Vineyards, Plagido’s Winery, Four Sisters Winery, and Monroeville. These tastings will be released weekly, with updates every two weeks on new wines and tastings from the previously listed wineries.

            Stay at home…but still enjoy! Marketing support for this virtual tour is provided by Beasley Broadcasting, The Journal Publications, Press Broadcasting, the Lakewood BlueClaws, Colella Communications and New Jersey Monthly. For more information, contact Sylvia’s Children at 732-946-2711 or sylvia@sylviaschildren.org. To take the tour and visit all the participating wineries, just go to https://sylviaschildren.com/wine-festivals/.


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