We had a chance to head down to Cape May for a wine tasting at Willow Creek Winery, and it did not disappoint! If you’re looking for a fun afternoon at a South Jersey winery, open year-round, start with the tasting menu (our writer Nichole highly recommends the Wilde Cock Apple Wine!).
Willow Creek Winery is so much more than a winery. From the Wilde Cock wine/food pairings, Vinyasa in the Vineyard. and their Comedy Uncorked Dinner Series, there is truly something for everyone. I had the pleasure of attending the Fire Pit Friday event in June, and the experience did NOT disappoint. I tasted a lot of great wines, relaxed and even learned a little about their winemaking process.
Wilde Cock is not just a rooster with an attitude — it’s a very tasty brand of wine (It tastes just like apple juice but with a kick). According to the staff, the vineyard owners chose this spirited name because of the history and meaning each of the words represented for them — Wilde is their family name and Cock represents their passion for rescuing hens and roosters!
As the tasting went on, I learned about how their vintner team develops the various Sangria wine concoctions, over 50 different flavors every year, and the uniqueness of the labels on their bottles (they place each one by hand!).
I also was educated on their spin on the classic wine, Pinot Noir. This wine flavor is usually transparent, however, it isn’t at Willow Creek. Their 2015 Pinot Noir is cloudy, due to some small distinct requirements in Willow Creeks filtering process. However, these wine clouds are like welcome shade from the sun on a hot day — they don’t compromise the Pinot’s taste they only add an interesting element to the mix. Willow Creek is one of the only wineries in the region to make a Pinot Noir (due to the moisture in the air on the 50-acre farm!). In fact, the air is so moist, teams form the winery take turns shaking the grapes in order to make sure the moisture doesn’t get trapped and create mildew — cross winds from ocean and bay help though, ss they dry the grapes naturally.
Fun Facts about Willow Creek (and wine) you may not know:
- Wines with a higher sulfate can be aged, but those low in sulfates cannot — which means drink those quickly!
- The fermentation process ends sooner for a cider, but sweeter Apple Wine ferments longer
- In order to taste all of the flavors in the wine (like cocoa, raspberry, or oak), swirl your wine and breathe in as you taste it (this also works for craft beer)
Thanks so much, Willow Creek, for being such amazing hosts for my NJspots takeover! Special shout out to my bartender Mickey for obliging all of my questions and for killing every question with an amazing fact about the winery (or wine tasting in general). She even taught me the proper wine tasting etiquette; smell, swirl, smell, taste, enjoy — the palette changes with each inhale and swirl.