Terhune Orchards & Winery Review
Address: 330 Cold Soil Road Princeton,New Jersey 08540.
Phone Number: 609-924-2310
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Sun 12:00-5:00
Region: New Jersey
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Review Date: 5/3/2014
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
In 1975, after returning from a stint as Peace Corps agricultural agents in the South Pacific, Gary and Pam Mount bought a 55-acre farm from the Terhune family. Over time, the Mounts more than tripled the size of the property, located in the town of Lawrence in central New Jersey. For many years, Terhune Orchards has been famous for their fresh produce and bake goods. After returning home from college in California, their daughter Tannwen suggested that the family become winemakers. In 2003 grapes were planted, and Terhune Orchards began selling wine in 2010.
Eight acres of grapes are under cultivation, and 1,800 cases of wine are produced each year from 12 types of grapes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonel, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottenell, Niagara, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc grapes. Terhune also makes fruit wines from apples, blueberries, and peaches. It is the only New Jersey winery that produces wine from Chardonel, a white hybrid of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc developed in New York in 1953.
A large sign marks the entrance of Terhune Orchards. There is an imposing white colonial farmhouse, a cute farm store, and a red barn converted into a tasting room. I visited twice and tried all ten of their wines. Service was excellent on both occasions, and on my first visit I met with Gary who gave me copious amounts of background information about the winery. Terhune is not located in an official viticultural area, but is a member of the Garden State Wine Growers Association and Vintage North Jersey, a subsidiary of the GSWGA.
Farmhouse White, a blend of Chardonel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Vidal Blanc, was slightly acidic and tart. Vidal Blanc was semi-dry with a smooth finish and would pair well with flounder.
Cold Soil White is mostly Traminette with small quantities of Vidal Blanc and Muscat Ottenell. Cold Soil was also semi-dry, but far more aromatic, undoubtedly because of its Muscat character. Front Porch Breeze is Terhunes blush wine, and this blend of Vidal Blanc, Muscat Ottonell, and Chambourcin has a very relaxed feel to it. I would serve Front Porch Breeze with a salad.
Chambourcin was dry and medium-bodied, but had a slightly harsh aftertaste. Barn Red, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, was just as dry as the Chambourcin but with a softer finish. Pair this Bordeaux-like wine with a duck dinner. Rooster Red is a Chambourcin with sugar added during the wine-making process. It reminded me of Welshs grape juice, but with more body and complexity. This playful wine would go well with Italian food.
Terhune makes three fruit wines Apple Wine, Harvest Blues, and Just Peachy. Apple Wine is made from Terhunes apple cider, but was much drier than other apple wines that Ive tasted. Harvest Blues is a semi-sweet blend of blueberries and apples. Just Peachy was the best of the fruit wines and in 2013 won a gold medal at the New Jersey Governors Cup. A blend of peaches and apples, Just Peachy tasted like apple cider, but not as sweet and with a very smooth finish. I could see myself eating a piece of homemade apple pie while sipping Just Peachy.
Terhune Orchards is a traditional produce farm that makes a variety of decent, unpretentious wines and offers excellent hospitality. Terhunes wines cost $15-$20 per bottle and are sold on-site and at local farmers markets. They can also be shipped to residents of New Jersey and 38 other states that permit wine deliveries.