Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pour and Pedal NJ



Pour and Pedal - wine + biking = winning!
New Jersey is home to close to 50 wineries (39 of which are officially part of the Garden state wine growers association), and is surprisingly the 7th largest producer of wine in the country! Fittingly, I recently made another great discovery on the Living Social website. For around $60 per person, we were signed up for an event called Pour and Pedal, which was a 15 mile bike ride between two wineries, including wine tastings and a picnic lunch. 

Brian and I joined up with Larissa fromThe Traveling Mortician  and her husband Angel, and yesterday the 4 of us got to finally experience this unique event we were looking forward to!

We arrived in New Egypt at Laurita winery, which was the starting point of the tour. After signing in and selecting our lunch order, we chose our bikes, were given some safety instructions, and off we went.

Pour and Pedal NJ
Ready to start the tour!


There were about 14 people in our group, and we were a mixed crowd with both younger and older couples, as well as a few groups of friends.

It was a very hilly 7.5 miles to our destination which was the Cream Ridge winery. The area was rural with farmlands on all sides, but there was much more traffic than I had imagined. Part of this was due to a Lacrosse tournament happening at New Egypt high school which we passed along the tour, so it may not always be like this. 

The scenery along the route
The rural scenery along the route
Pour and Pedal NJ
The road to Cream Ridge Winery

We crossed only one main intersection, and we felt safe as we rode on the shoulder along the roads. Once arriving at the winery, the pour and pedal staff showed us the vineyards and gave us a short introduction, and we then went inside for a tour, where we received a little more insight as to how the wine is made there.

Pour and Pedal NJ
THe 4 of us in Cream Ridge Winery - notice Brian's T-shirt :)

It was then time to do some tasting! We had about 45 minutes to sample up to 18 different wines on a special tasting menu. Sampling all 18 meant drinking close to a bottle of wine, so remember you still have to bike the 7.5 miles back! I stuck to tasting their specialty fruit wines, along with their chocolate berry and java flavors, since I have a serious weakness for chocolate and coffee.

Pour and Pedal NJ
Inside the tasting room
After our tasting, the group went outside where we took part in some pour and pedal trivia and learned the proper way to appreciate a wine tasting - the 5 s’s -  see, swirl, smell, sip, savor.

We were then given some time to purchase a few bottles of wine, I recommend the summer sangria, and the wine is driven back to our starting locations so we wouldn’t have to carry it back on our bikes.

After all the wine the 7.5 mile ride back seemed easy! Now back where we started at Laurita winery, we parked our bikes and went to the picnic area where lunch awaited us.   Lunch was a choice a ham, turkey, roast beef, or vegetarian sandwich, which was welcome after the 15 mile ride. After we ate, we were poured 5 different samples of Laurita wines ranging from white, to red, fruity, and chocolate, while taking part in some more trivia. 

Laurita winery NJ
Laurita winery vineyards

PASSPORT CHALLENGE

It was at the end of the tour where we found out about the passport program. This is a passport booklet with all 39 participating NJ wineries inside. For every winery you visit, you receive a passport stamp on that wineries respective passport page. Visit all 39 between now and May 2015, and you will be entered for a chance to win a trip overseas for a wine tasting vacation!! It is a new location every year, and last years winners will enjoy a trip to Austria and Hungary! 

wine passports NJ
Wine Passports
Challenge accepted! We plan on going on various “wine trails” throughout the next year to complete this, and as usual, we will be looking for active things to do on each trip! 

Two wineries down yesterday, 37 more to go! Follow along as I keep you updated on our wine trail adventures, and if you're into wine yourself, join in on the quest for the passport stamps! (The passport itself is free, costs for wine tastings and events vary by winery)

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