I was GOING to write this post as a Winery Review, but thought it was a little unfair because we are no strangers to Valenzano. The fact that we've only been drinking their wine for a year may lead you to believe that we are some kind of rookies but let me be clear - we have consumed A LOT of their wine over the course of this year.
We had our first exposure to Valenzano wine at their Winefest in 2009. Valenzano is located in the dirty Jersey - situated in the Pine Barrens in the lovely town of Shamong. (Hey, at least Jersey towns have funny names...). It is a little over an hour from our house, probably about the same distance from Philly. It is an easy drive, UNLESS you are going to Winefest, in which case it is likely that you will sit in Winefest traffic for at least 30 minutes and before you are rudely directed to your parking location by some power-hungry Jersey cop. Ahem.
We attended Winefest last year mainly because our greyhound group was holding a Meet & Greet there. Basically the equivalent of shaking hands and kissing babies - spreading the word about how awesome-possum greyhounds are. To do this + drink wine = pretty much heaven. So we went last year and were like WHOA this wine is delicious and didn't buy enough and had to have "buyers" in NJ hook us up for the next 11 months. Honestly we really like them as people too, but I'm not gonna lie that some conversations started with "OMG WE ARE OUT OF VALENZANO WINE, CALL OUR FRIENDS AND SEE IF THEY CAN BRING US MORE, AND OH, MAYBE HAVE DINNER AND HANG OUT WITH US?"
True story: They actually RAN OUT of Shamong White last year and sent us scrambling to alternate distribution sources. The market price skyrocketed and investors everywhere panicked. Did we have anything to do with that? Cannot be confirmed or denied.
At any rate, we were BACK for Winefest 2010 with Compass in tow - Mama ready for wine and Compass ready for loving from strangers. We kicked a couple of bottles of Shamong Red and worked though some Red White and Blueberry Sangria as we filled our donation jar and people everywhere fell in love with greyhounds. I also made a bazillion (read: 50) wine glass necklaces to sell for a fundraiser at Sharrott and sold a total of 2, and one was to my friend. Here at Valenzano, though, those things were selling like hotcakes. One lady bought TWELVE. I was so proud. $250 quick and easy in donations to help Compass' buddies still waiting for their forever homes. SWEET.
As the day wore on, we got a little frustrated with some of the L-O-N-G lines to purchase wines - seriously dudes, lines were CR-AZY. I hope that they can figure out a way to solve some of their execution issues because this event is seriously awesome and with some minor logistical improvements can continue to grow and be one of my personal favorite things about New Jersey. And we all know that I don't have a lot of terrific things to say about New Jersey.
After Winefest, we stopped by a lovely little BYOB Italian restaurant with outdoor seating and enjoyed dinner with our friends and our dogs. I feel thankful - once again - for Compass, and for all that he brought into my life when he joined it - including all the people that surrounded me. We toasted and drank, and ate and drank, and told stories and jokes and drank some more. By the time we had to go, I was full and giddy- from the wine, of course, but also drunk from the happiness that comes from a nearly perfect day. Can't wait for Winefest 2011.
PS about the wine -if you like sweet wine, this is the place for you. Shamong White, Blush and Red are all delicious. We also love their Red White and Blueberry Sangria, and for something a little different try their Blueberry Bubbly - an excellent sparkling Blueberry wine.