After graduating from Vassar College in 1997, vintner Tom Carroll Jr. continued his education in California, where he taught himself about viticulture and enology to achieve a lifelong dream of opening a winery. Three years later, he returned to his hometown to found Crossing Vineyards on a plot of land situated a short distance from George Washington’s Delaware River crossing. The winery mingles historic charm and pastoral surroundings with modern technologies, such as a sterile HVAC bottling system and solar-energy panels. Tom and his parents, also co-owners, built the facility around eco-friendly winemaking practices, such as composting waste and using cover crops, a technique that prevents topsoil erosion and helps vintners sing the young grapevines to sleep.
Crossing Vineyards' European-style wines have won more than 115 awards in both national and international competitions over the past 12 years. The winery offers tastings and wine-pairing classes in an onsite educational area and hosts an annual summer wine-and-music series on its sprawling, 15-acre property.
Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.
When its first location opened in 1996, Valenzano Winery was a modest endeavor, producing about 1,200 gallons that year. But since then, Valenzano has expanded to three vineyard locations and 99,000 gallons of wine per year, each location crafting wine made mostly from grapes grown at southern New Jersey farms. From reds and whites to fruit wines?such as cranberry and blueberry?Valenzano's pours span a wide range of flavors and aromas.
Since locally crafted microbrews with delicate, complex flavors take years to perfect, and because you're not likely to possess the license required to run a brewery, it's more economical and rewarding to let someone else do it for you. With today's Groupon, $10 gets you $25 worth of locally brewed beers and tasty eats at Triumph Brewing Company. Taste the ethereal spectrum of hoppy goodness with friends, and put gourmet fuel in your tank for all-night conversation and heated surgery competitions. If she says yes, she is into you. Also, you are at a Star Wars convention, not a bar, and you probably shouldn’t be drinking.
European wines might as well run through the veins of Sergio and Violetta Neri, who each come from families with histories that are deeply rooted in the terrain of Greek and Italian vineyards. That passion and history has translated into a decade of award-winning wines at the Neri family's Hopewell Valley Vineyards. Visitors are welcome to tour the picturesque acres of sunny fields, or hang out in the tasting room to listen to live jazz on the weekends and sip one of the vineyard's carefully crafted white, red, or rose wines.