Southwind Vineyard Review
Address: 385 Lebanon Road Millville,New Jersey 08332.
Phone Number: 856-364-9690
Tasting Hours: See website for wine tasting details.
Region: Outer Coastal Plain AVA, New Jersey
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Review Date: 11/30/2013
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Southwind Vineyard and Winery is one of the newest wineries in New Jersey, having opened to the public in 2012. Since 1978 the Allen family has owned a horse farm in the town of Deerfield, deep in Southern New Jersey’s farm belt. The Allens were originally from Arkansas, and the farm’s name reflects their Southern origin and desire to provide Southern hospitality. Lorre Allen, a former French teacher, and her husband Joseph Riley, a practicing obstetrician, bought the 100-acre farm from Lorre’s parents in 2002. After many trips to France and years of home winemaking, Lorre and her husband planted a vineyard in 2006.
The winery currently has four acres of grapes cultivated by experienced viticulturalist Jamie Sherman, and produces around 800 cases of wine per year. Southwind is a member of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, and is located in the Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area, which consists of more than 25 Southern New Jersey wineries. The farm offers equestrian services including horse boarding and hunter pacing, and specializes in the use of Lippizan horses, a breed frequently utilized in dressage competitions. Southwind is not connected to a similar-named winery in Texas.
The farm is located in a heavily wooded area on a remote country road. Southwind’s entrance is marked by a blue and white sign. In the distance is a stately gray brick colonial-style house with an attached garage that has been converted into a winery facility. The vineyards are at the front of the property along the driveway. Next to the house is a field and barn with the family’s horses and two outdoor seating areas. The tasting room is small but charming. There are racks of wine bottles, a two-seat bar with overstuffed leather chairs, and a table for seating customers. On the other side of the wine racks are the fermentation tanks. Southwind is planning to build an underground cave that will be used for winemaking, storage, tastings, and entertainment.
Wines are made from nine types of grapes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Concord, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Blanc, and Viognier. Southwind also uses limes and peaches for winemaking. My server was very friendly, but was unsure about which grapes were used in various blends that I tasted. Chardonnay was lightly-oaked and smooth with a hint of acidity. I could see myself drinking it while eating salmon. Muscat Blanc was dryer than the Chardonnay but a little weak. This highly aromatic wine could be paired with a turkey dinner.
All the reds were aerated with a funnel before serving. Memories of Provence is a semi-sweet rose wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes using the vin gris method, where the juice is run off immediately after the pressing. Serve this wine at a picnic with sandwiches and cheese. Hunter Pace Cabernet Sauvignon was dry and slightly acidic. The Malbec was even drier, but not as full-bodied as I expected for this varietal. Blood, Sweat & Tears is a Bordeaux-style wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chambourcin. I really liked this wine. It was dry and smooth, and would go well with lamb.
H2 Oh Sparkling Peach, which is a Chardonnay wine with a splash of peach and lime juice added before carbonation, had a somewhat harsh taste. Grape Kiss is a sparkling wine made from Concord grapes. It was sweet and fruity and would make a good party wine. Though not on the menu, my server offered me a tasting of Cheval Fort, which is French for “strong horse.” This Cabernet-based port was full-bodied and sweet, and could be paired with any dessert, or could be used as an after-dinner sipping wine.
Southwind Vineyard combines a love of French culture with American ingenuity. The winery is located about ten minutes west of Route 55. They charge $5 to taste eight samples, and their wines range from $14 to $20 per bottle. Southwind’s wines can be bought on-site, or shipped to residents of New Jersey and 38 other states that permit wine deliveries.