New Jersey has more wineries than you’d think, forty-eight to sixty, depending on whose list you use. While researching where to go in the Cape May area, I was intrigued by Willow Creek Farm & Winery, as the only winery located on the island of Cape May with a microclimate that they claim is “reminiscent of Bordeaux”. Willow Creek is also a working farm.
I booked a tour with Willow Creek for myself and my girlfriend, Samantha. On the day of, we were running fifteen minutes behind. When I called to let them know, they were very accommodating. Arriving late, we checked in with the front desk and our tour guide was ready to go.
The tour at Willow Creek is different from previous wine tours that I’ve been on. We did the forty-five minute vineyard tour in an electric cart. The tour first heads directly to the vines, where all tours should start :).
As we stop at the outskirts of the vines, we can see an “Alison in Wonderland” themed chessboard by a local artist named, Carole King. Our tour guide explains that the chess board hardly gets used, as the wind tends to blow over the chess pieces making it hard for guests to play.
She continues by explaining how Willow Creek in West Cape May is a microclimate, with cool mornings and evenings, but warm afternoons. It may rain just off the island, but it won’t rain here as the winds tend to keep storms away. They rarely see snow and their winters are normally pretty mild.
To the right of us are the vines, which are part of an “Adopt a Vine” program that Willow Creek has. Our tour guide tells us stories about a guest “adopting a vine” to propose and that there is even a vine dedicated to the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LII.
As we continue the tour through the farm we come across a couple of different cottages. Our tour guide explains that they have a handful of cottages you can stay at. So cool!
One of our last stops on the tour was at the cabernet sauvignon vines. We’re told that these vines are not used for winemaking, but instead used as “buffers.” She explains that if mold, disease or bugs were to attack the vines it would be these first. If that happens, they can stop the infestation before the damage spreads to the rest of the vines.
Our tour ends back where it began, in front of the tasting room.
We thank our tour guide for the informational tour and head into the tasting room for lunch and a wine tasting.
I had thought that I had booked a tasting and tour. However, through my mistake I had only booked a tour. Thankfully, because we were famished, we ate lunch quickly and made our way over to the tasting bar.
My favorite wine of the day was the 2016 Malvasia Bianca. This is an Italian varietal mostly found around the Mediterranean. This wine starts and ends with a fruit forward peach-like taste. Perfect for a summer day.
The Wilde Cock Prestige Rosé was another memorable wine. It was a blend of sauvignon blanc and grenache from California. It had citrus and cherry notes. My father-in-law told me that some wineries he visits in New Jersey were using California grapes. However, I was still surprised to see it.
I didn’t get a lot from the wines at Willow Creek, however the tour was very nerdy and our tour guide spoke to the wine nerd in me. If you’re looking for new fun wine words this is the tour for you.
Willow Creek has a lot of events throughout the year. If you’re around the South Jersey shore, I would check out their website to see if any of their events peak your interest.
Until next time Cuties, keep tasting!