Bellview Winery Review
Address: 150 Atlantic St. Landisville,New Jersey 08326.
Phone Number: 856-697-7172
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00
Region: Outer Coastal Plain AVA, New Jersey
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Review Date: 12/14/2013
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Jim Quarella of Bellview Winery has long been at the forefront of farming innovation. In order to compete with global competition in the produce market, he planted specialty Asian vegetables in the early 1990s. Jim’s great-grandfather Angelo Quarella emigrated from Italy and, in 1914, started a 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm in Landisville, which is in Southern New Jersey’s farm belt. Jim had been growing wine grapes since age 16, and in 2000 a full-scale vineyard was planted at Bellview. The winery opened to the public the next year, and since 2003 the farm has been exclusively dedicated to wine production. The name Bellview is of Italian origin, but Jim wasn’t sure if his great-grandfather named it after a specific place in Italy.
Bellview now has a total of 150 acres of land, with 40 acres under cultivation with grapes. The farm produces 8,000 cases of wine per year, is a member of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, and is located in the Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area. Wine is made from 19 types of grapes, all of which are estate-grown Blaufrankisch (Lemberger), Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cayuga White, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Fredonia, Ives Noir, Merlot, Muscat Ottonel, Niagara, Petit Verdot, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, and Viognier.
Bellview also makes fruit wines from black currants, blueberries, cranberries, and dandelions. They are a limited number of wineries in the United States that produces wine from dandelions, including Maple River Winery in Casselton, North Dakota. They are also the only winery in New Jersey to use Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional, which are red vinifera grapes indigenous to Portugal. Bellview participated in the Judgment of Princeton, a blind tasting where $20 wines from New Jersey outperformed $600 French vintages. The winery likes to experiment and frequently comes out with new wines.
The road to Bellview is marked with maroon-colored signs detailing the distance to the winery. The winery is in a converted one-story house surrounded by farmland. Outside the house is a picnic table, and beyond a split rail fence is the vineyard. Upon entering, there is a gift shop and seating area overlooking the tasting room where patrons can enjoy a glass of wine. Below the landing is an open area with the tasting bar along the side wall. Even during very unpleasant weather, bright lights, yellow wall paint, and a sunshine logo give the winery a cheerful appearance. There is a rack of wine behind the bar, and a chalkboard listing their prices.
Because of the extensive variety of wines offered, I visited twice, and tasted 21 of their wines. I found the servers to be friendly but not particularly knowledgeable about the wines. The Pinot Grigio, Traminette, and Chardonnay were all decent, but the Viognier was the best of the dry white wines. The Traminette was also very good, possessing a strong fruity flavor that would go well with an Asian stir fry. I did not care for the off-dry Jersey Devil White, a blend of Cayuga and Traminette, nor Nana’s Wine, which is a Cayuga-based. I liked Under the Arbor, a rose wine made from Cayuga, Ives, and Fredonia. This light-bodied wine should be served with sandwiches or other picnic food.
Jersey Devil Red is an easy-to-drink blend made from seven different grapes. The Cabernet Franc was a little weak, but the Merlot and Chambourcin were dry and smooth, and should be paired with lamb. Homestead is made from Ives and Fredonia, with a small amount of Cabernet Franc added. I could see myself drinking this red blend while eating pizza. Winter Spice, a vinifera-labrusca combination flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel was served mulled. Bellview’s Port, made in the traditional Portuguese style using Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional grapes, was very strong.
Lettizia and Starlight Blues, sparkling wines made respectively from Muscat and blueberry, were rather harsh tasting. Cristallina, a Vidal-based ice wine, was sweet and fruity. Fiesta is a blend of various red grapes and cranberries, and can be used to make a sangria. My two favorite wines were Black Currant and Dandelion. The Black Currant was smooth and effervesced with the sweetness of fruit. This wine deserves to be paired with the richest piece of chocolate cake. The Dandelion wine is based on an old family recipe and was just as sweet and smooth as the black currant, but with an herbal kick.
There is a wine for everyone at Bellview, and Jim Quarella’s willingness to experiment has produced some uncommon and interesting wines. The winery is less than a mile from Route 40 and offers tours on Saturdays. Their wines range from $10 to $25 per bottle, and are sold in farmers’ markets, liquor stores, and festivals throughout the state. They can also be shipped to residents of New Jersey and 38 other states that permit wine deliveries.