Winery: Unionville WineryYear Winery Established:  Planted in 1988, Opened in 1992.
I got into the wine industry by getting out of the restaurant industry. I worked in restaurants to pay my way through the last 3 years at Cook College at Rutgers University. I graduated with a BS in Meteorology. I actually moonlight as the OCM for NJTV News, whenever the weather is significant enough to be deemed newsworthy. The day job was restaurant management, and the long hours and late nights left me another casualty of the grind. I developed an interest in wine, and so the switch to managing Unionville Vineyards was a natural transition. I was able to stay in food, beverage, and hospitality while keeping a healthier schedule. My family certainly appreciates that too! ?After 2 years at Unionville, I had the privilege of representing the state wine industry for two years as Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. I returned to Unionville in early 2016, and added the role of E.D. of The Winemakers Co-Op shortly thereafter. During my years in the wine industry I passed the Introductory and Certified Sommelier exams proctored by the Court of Master Sommeliers. I love what I am doing, every day.
What is something unique about your farm or business?
  1. We use 100% estate fruit. Every drop in our bottles came from a grape grown by hand in our vineyards.?
What is your favorite thing to grow?Rhone varieties. Our Syrah, Rhone white blend, and dry rose’ are all part of my regular sipping rotation. ?What is your favorite recipe or cooking technique using Jersey Fresh?Really good wine should be in the glass, rather than the sautee’ pan. That said, when cooking great New Jersey produce and meats, a wine glass should never be too far from reach.?
“New Jersey wine should be made from grapes grown local to the winery. It isn’t easy to grow grapes in New Jersey, but great wine is worth the challenge.?”
John Cifelli

General Manager, Unionville Winery

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