New Jersey wine growers are urging state lawmakers to approve legislation that would ensure they could continue to sell wine from their tasting rooms and allow them to ship their products directly to consumers.
There are about 50 wineries in New Jersey. They say a court case brought by an out of state winery could end their retail business, and they don’t produce enough wine to attract a distributor.
Audrey Gambino owns Villa Milagro Vineyards in Warren County. She says being able to sell right to the consumer is critical for the future of her business.
“I produce only a thousand cases a year, and without this legislation which gives me direct access to consumers and to be able to sell a small amount of my wine through retail outlets, without the legislation I’m out of business,” said Gambino. “They literally will padlock my doors.”
Bob Clark owns Chestnut Run Farm in Salem County. He says his farm is devoted to producing wine.
“My winery will close without this legislation, and I’m not the only one,” said Clark. “If we want to keep the farms in agriculture we have to preserve more than the farm. We have to preserve the farmer. This is a way of doing it.”
Jersey wineries are hoping the legislature acts before its summer vacation to protect their business and the farms that grow their grapes.