If you needed more incentive to uncork one of NJ's prized wines — it's "National Drink Wine Day!"

More than two dozen Jersey wines were award winners just last week, at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. That's out of more than 7,000 entries from across 28 states. We can drink to that!

Here's some NJ wines to try out, whether at their tasting rooms, events, or by picking up a bottle at the store.

1. Valenzano Winery 

Valenzano Winery in Burlington County was among the most and highest awarded this month. Its Red Native Hybrid Blends 2014 Old Indian Mills Blend was dubbed a Best in Class. Gold medalists were Shamong White and their 2013 Malbec. Silver medals went to Valenzano's 2013 Sangiovese and 2013 Zinfandel and the 2014 Vidal Blanc got Bronze.

Valenzano's vineyard is along Route 206 in Shamong and its wines are carried widely throughout NJ. 

2. Alba Vineyard

Alba Vineyard in the village of Finesville, which seems to straddle the border of Warren and Hunterdon counties. Its 2012 Warren Hills Alba Estate Chambourcin was awarded “Double Gold," meaning it was approved unanimously by a five-judge panel.

3. Unionville Vineyards

Unionville Vineyards in Hunterdon County also saw “Double Gold" for its 2013 New Jersey Chardonnay. It's actually a collection of four New Jersey farms, with over 300 acres operated by a group of local landowners. The tasting room in Ringoes is open daily.

4. Heritage Vineyard

Heritage Vineyard in Gloucester County was a Gold Medalist for its 2014 Outer Coastal Plain Chardonnay. The Mullica Hill estate vineyard also was highlighted recently by Palate Press, which put Heritage in the ranks of renowned wineries across the globe.

5. Bellview Winery

Bellview Winery in Atlantic County was a gold medalist this month for its 2013 Outer Coastal Plain Cab Franc. Bellview's tasting room is open 7 days a week and their wine also is stocked in dozens of NJ stores and restaurants.

6. Sharrott Winery

Sharrott Winery in Hammonton had five wines awarded medals last week.  They scored Bronze with the 2013 Outer Coastal Plain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Outer Coastal Plain Chardonnay, Outer Coastal Plain Port Wicked and 2014 Outer Coastal Plain Chardonnay. Sharrott's Outer Coastal Plain Tango also won a Silver in San Fran.

Their tasting room now is open every day of the week.

7. Old York Cellars

Old York Cellar's New Jersey Blackberry wine scored a Silver medal in San Francisco last week. Its 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon also scored Gold at the Denver International Wine Competition last season. The vineyard and winery is in Ringoes with tastings offered daily.

8. Cream Ridge Winery

I'll give an "honorable mention" spot to Cream Ridge Winery in Monmouth County. It specialize sin fruit wines and definitely has some distinct flavor profiles. Wines currently being offered include their Harvest Sangria and JavaBerry, which is made with blackberries and locally roasted espresso beans. Their tasting room is on winter hours, which means open everyday but Mondays, until April.

4JGs Winery in Colts Neck was also among San Francisco medalists this month. 4JGsis closed for a bit, but promising more fun come March with a Wine Madness event.

Which ever you settle on, raising a glass of Jersey vino is a great way to ward off winter's chill!

Erin Vogt is a lifelong Jersey Girl, whose first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.


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