Warren County Vistas

Along the Vintage North Jersey Trail

Warren County boasts more preserved farms than any other county in New Jersey. The county’s gentle hills are not only a haven for rural tradition and idyllic vistas, but also sanctuary for progressive ideas in agriculture. A portion of the western part of Warren County, along the Delaware and Musconetcong rivers and their tributaries, has been designated by the federal government as a wine grape-growing region. The soils and terrain of this part of the county, the Warren Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA), are most suitable for French-American hybrid grapes like Cayuga, Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin and Leon Millot. Take a leisurely ride from one Warren County winery to another and find out what happens with those grapes!

According to Bob Matarazzo, owner of Four Sisters Winery in Belvidere, the ability to grow French-American varietals allows him to produce superior Leon Millot and Seyval Blanc. The Frontenac grape is a favorite for blending with the winery’s popular Warren Hills Red. Many of Four Sisters’ blends bring the fruit forward, some with a crisp finish and balanced acidity.


At Brook Hollow Winery in Columbia, owner Paul Ritter recently added five acres to his vineyards, which now host Noiret and Traminette, two grapes—one red and one white—developed at the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station at Cornell University, in Geneva, NY. Both hybrids, bred to flourish even in the cooler extremes of North Jersey’s growing season, provide excellent fruit structure for the quality dry wines that Ritter produces.

Using sustainable and organic practices, Villa Milagro Vineyards grows vinifera, varieties of grapes that thrive in Europe and California. Unlike hybrids created specifically for challenging climates, vinifera struggle with the shorter number of growing days, cold winters and moist summers of the East Coast. Even so, Villa Milagro successfully grows seven of these varieties—including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Sangiovese—from which it makes European style blends. The limestone soils at the winery are well drained, wicking away summer rains that threaten vine roots; and a gentle southern slope increases sunlight exposure in the vineyard, effectively extending the growing season.


You'll find more great wineries and events along the Vintage North Jersey wine trail.

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Last Frontier Angler
  • Guided fly fishing excursions, beginner to expert, instruction also available. Catch trout in spring, smallmouth bass in summer, ice fishing in winter. Explore the Paulinskill, Flatbrook and wild trout streams.

    Blairstown, 908-878-6289

  • The RoseMary Inn
  • A luxurious Bed & Breakfast with one-of-a-kind accommodations, picturesque scenery, 3 course European Style breakfasts, all while blending old world charm with modern conveniences. Minutes away from a variety of naturalist activities including hiking, biking, canoeing, riding, skiing and bird watching.

    88 Hainesburg River Rd., Columbia 07832, 908/496-8855

  • Wild Ridge Plants
  • Native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs grown using all natural methods in an organic potting mix. All plants are local provenance, seed-grown at our family farm. Mail order and web-based retail. Pick up by appointment only. Botany and restoration services.

    , Pohatcong, 908/319-7230

  • Rutherfurd Hall
  • Consider Rutherfurd Hall as refuge and sanctuary in similar ways now, as it served a distinguished family a hundred years ago.

    1686 Route 517, Allamuchy 07820, 908/852-1894

  • Jenny Jump Observatory
  • The UACNJ facilities in Jenny Jump State Forest, near Hope in Warren County, are 1,100 feet above sea level, one of the few dark sky locations left in the state.

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This story was first published: Spring, 2013
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