We were already going to be in Cape May overnight for the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge, so it seemed like a great idea to also hit up the Cape May wine trial while we were there!
We arrived at Cape May Winery a little after 5pm on a Saturday after making 9 stops for the challenge and climbing 789 stairs. We sure earned that wine! They were starting to close up for the night so they weren't doing wine tastings anymore, but they did let us purchase a glass of wine to enjoy out back on their patio. I, of course, couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a glass of their ironically named Lighthouse Blush, which was delicious. The winery had a nice little set up with a fire pit, and people brought in their own cheese assortments to enjoy with their wine. Be sure to try and arrive earlier than we did to get the full experience!
|The wine tasting list|
|Cape May Winery Grapes|
|Cape May Winery|
We lingered for a bit to take pictures and rest our legs, and then made our way to Cape May lighthouse. Afterwards, we headed to the only other winery with evening hours, Willow Creek Winery. Unfortunately for us, the winery was holding a wedding that night and was closed for tastings, but we did manage to see the vineyard and property and it looked like a nice place. We will get back down there some day to do a proper tasting! (The private event was listed on their website, we just overlooked it. Lesson learned, always check the websites first!)
The next morning, Brian and I woke up extra early to do the Run the Vineyards 5k at Hawk Haven winery. Larissa and Sara arrived a little after 9 to enjoy the wine and take some pictures while we sweated through the vineyards. After we finished, we walked around the property which was set up with tents, a patio, a few makeshift tasting areas, and food. We decided to do a tasting of their white wines, ending with a red for a little contrast. All were delicious!
|Tasting wine at Hawk Haven Winery|
A few miles down the road was Natali Vineyards, so we made our way over there for our next tasting. This winery had all sorts of fruity wines, which excited me because I have a serious sweet tooth. I tasted their fruity Merlot, then went through the list of Peach, strawberry, and the first banana wine I have ever tasted. As if it wasn't enough that I was in fruit wine heaven, the owner likes to pair the wines with a little tasting morsel, so we got regular and white chocolate to go with the wines, and some peanut butter chips to go with the banana.
|Natali Vineyards wine tasting menu|
|Banana wine and peanut butter morsels. Yum!|
And, as an added bonus, he gave us an extra tasting of one of their port wines, which was great! I couldn't resist purchasing a bottle of their amazing Merlot, and afterwards we were off to Jessie Creek Winery, our last stop on the Cape May Wine Trail. We arrived quickly as it was only a few minutes away from Natali Vineyards, and the tasting came with free wine glasses which is a nice touch. We tried 5 of their wines, and then the owner took us on a mini tour of the winery. Afterwards we chatted with the owner and staff for a bit, who were really nice and friendly people. It almost inspired us to open our own vineyard!
|Jessie Creek Winery|
|Jessie Creek Winery|
By this time I had a decent buzz going, so we stopped for lunch then made our way to the remaining 3 lighthouses, which seemed easier to climb whilst fueled with wine! In total - we did 14 lighthouse stops, 1 5k, and 5 wineries to finish out the weekend. Busy, but awesome at the same time. The cape may wine trail is one of my favorites so far, not just for their tasty wine, but also because they had some of the friendliest people we have encountered so far. I highly recommend checking all those wineries out!