The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area (AVA) covers over 2.25
million acres in Southeastern New Jersey and includes more than 20 wineries and commercial vineyards.
Climates here are influenced by the maritime effects of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. This contributes to the long growing season which spans 190 to 217 freeze-free days per year. Spring frosts that could damage buds or flowering are rare, allowing many of the vinifera varieties which are too cold sensitive to be grown in much of the mid-Atlantic region to be grown here. Award-winning wines are being produced with vinifera, French-American hybrids, and native-American grapes. The AVA is particularly well suited for vinifera such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lemberger, Cabernet Franc and Viognier; French American hybrids such a Vidal, Chamboucin, Traminette and Villard Noir; and native American varieties such as Ives and Cynthiana.
Vineyards within the AVA are characterized by relatively flat or low hills with well-drained sandy or sandy loam soils of low to moderate fertility - quite favorable to grape growing.
Viticulture was established in the region in colonial times. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. Viticulture flourished in Southeastern New Jersey in the mid-19th century. One of the AVA’s wineries, Renault Winery, was established in Egg Harbor City in 1864, and is the oldest continuously operating winery in the United States. Around the same time, Dr. Thomas Welch founded the U.S. grape juice industry in Vineland, New Jersey. In the early 20th century, Prohibition devastated the area’s wineries, but immigrants and their descendants, largely Italian, continued to promote viticulture and winemaking. Today, improvements in grape growing and wine making techniques and the relatively high per capita wine consumption of New Jersey residents have sparked new interest in establishing commercial vineyards and wineries in the Outer Coastal Plains AVA.
~ Dr. Lawrence Coia
Appellation America has entered its second decade on the web. Much has changed since the start, but the core focus remains characterizing the unique flavor profiles of North America’s appellations and the natural influences and human cultural forces which influence them.
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