I hadn’t been to William Heritage Winery in a few years but noticed the winery garnering increased attention – touted as a “winery to know” in NJ and earning high marks for their wines (home of the first 90-point rated wine from NJ). This prompted me to ensure I made the trip, and I was thrilled I did.
I walked into a totally redone tasting room – sleek and modern. It used to be more of a charming, rustic farm store with a small tasting bar. The transformation was so complete; I wasn’t even sure it was the same place (it was). I was told the renovations started about a year ago and finished up a few months ago. They also changed their name and design, apparently last fall. I was pleased by all of it, particularly the winery experience.
The person conducting our tasting was very knowledgeable about wineries and wine areas, as he has a 40-year history of wine tasting across 27 states. He explained that he and his wife started wine tasting as an accident. They were on a trip and could not do their planned activity due to inclement weather, so they went to a winery instead, and they were hooked (I know the feeling).
Although he hadn’t worked at William Heritage long, he was knowledgeable about the winery and its wines. He explained that the Heritage family had farmed the land for five generations, and the sixth generation was soon to start work at the winery. Originally an orchard, the current owners cultivated grapes starting in 1999.
There were three tasting options – classic, reserve, and sweet. We selected reserve, but our excellent wine guide offered us a couple of wines off the list. This proved to be very educational, and it is also a good marketing move as I have often purchased a bottle of wine I tasted off-list. The wines and the company were so enjoyable that we added a sweet wine tasting. My significant other sometimes enjoy “other fruit” (non-grape) wines, and I quite honestly wanted the tasting to continue – a sure sign of a great tasting (or perhaps too much wine?).
A friendly, likable, knowledgeable person who finds commonality with the customers and offers a few well-chosen extra pours leads to an excellent winery experience. And certainly, in this case (no pun intended), a purchase of wine.