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Sylvin Farms & Cream Ridge Vineyards Win 1999 Governor's Cups
For Immediate Release: March 13, 1999 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


A 1995 Cabernet Franc from Sylvin Farms Winery and a 1998 Cranberry Wine from Cream Ridge Vineyards and Champagne Cellars were the winners of the 1999 "Governor's Cup" and "Fruit Wine Governor's Cup" for the best New Jersey grape and fruit wines produced in New Jersey during 1998. A complete list of wineries and awards follows. The presentation of the Governor's Cups to winemakers Dr. Frank Salek and Tom Amabile was one of the highlights of the March 13 "Grape Expectations," a day-long symposium on viticulture and enology, the sciences of growing grapes and making wine. Presenting the Governor's Cup were Carol Shipp, Chief of Staff, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Zane Helsel, Director of Extension and Dean of Outreach at Cook College, Rutgers University. The annual event was sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Department of Agriculture's New Jersey Wine Industry Advisory Council. The annual symposium is a day-long series of lectures by outstanding professionals in viticulture and enology. The conference theme this year was "Vineyard Pest Management" and "Healthy Fermentations." Specific topics included cultural practices for managing vineyard pests, a review of pesticide record-keeping software, pre- and post-plant vineyard pest management, approaches to deer and bird management, and in-depth presentations on the the basics of fermentation and yeast strain management. Lectures were designed to present new and relevant information on pressing issues in the industry to professional, amateur and prospective persons involved with any aspect of grape growing or wine making. The Governor's Cup winner was selected from the wines submitted by New Jersey wineries during the 14th annual New Jersey Wine Competition held in February. The competition promotes excellence in the quality of New Jersey wine. Entries were judged on individual varietal character and enological merit. Sylvin Farms has been in existence since 1976, and was founded as a winery in 1985 by Sylvia and Franklin Salek. Nestled on a knoll between the Mullca and Great Harbor rivers, a maritime climate is created by the moderating influences of these rivers and the Atlantic Ocean and bays. Coupled with the vineyard's "gravelly loam" soil, the growing conditions closely resemble those of the most famous grape- producing regions of Europe. One of the smallest New Jersey wineries, Sylvin Farms is a true "roots to fruits" operation. Dr. Salek has personally grafted all of the vines onto phylloxera-resistant root stock himself. Sylvin farms has acquired a unique reputation as a farm winery by devoting its energies exclusively to the production of vinifera (European) grape varieties. Sylvin Farms is the only New Jersey winery growing some of the vinifera varieties. In addition to their award-winning >95 Cabernet Franc, Sylvin Farms also won two silver medals and three bronze medals. Owner-operators Tom and Joan Amabile established Cream Ridge Vineyards & Champagne Cellars, located on Route 539 in Cream Ridge, Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County, in 1988 and feature premium quality fruit wines made from locally-grown fruits grown, as well as champagne and selected European-style dry wines. Vintner Amabile is an enology lecturer and prize-winning professional winemaker with more than 25 years of experience. In addition to their award-winning >98 Cranberry Wine, Cream Ridge Vineyards also won two other gold medals, four silver medals, and five bronze medals for a New Jersey Wine Competition high of twelve medals. The 12 judges for the wine competition were members of the Society of Wine Educators, the American Wine Society, representatives of the region's largest commercial distributors and various wine industry publications. commended New Jersey wineries on the overall quality of the entries, noting continued progress in the effort to produce fine wines in the Garden State. Six gold medals were awarded to this year's competitors, including the Governor's Cup. The other gold medalists included a Blanc de Noir from Sylvin Farms, an Amalthea Winery Merlot, a Villard Noir from Tomasello Winery, and Cream Ridge Vineyards for A Perfect Blend and Cilegia Amabile. New Jersey wines have been winning awards since the first New Jerseyans cultivated wine producing vineyards for the British Empire in the mid-1700's. In fact, by 1767, London's Royal Society of Arts recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from colonial agriculture. Two distinctly different climatic areas exist in New Jersey, though both rely on the climate-moderating influences of the Delaware River and Atlantic Ocean. The viticultural regions in the south date back to the 1800s when a thriving wine and grape juice industry was concentrated in Vineland, Atlantic County. South Jersey vineyards are characterized by a maritime climate with flat or low hills and sandy soils. The northern viticultural regions have developed over the past two decades. This area is typified by hilly terrain and hillside vineyards with limestone or shale soils. In 1988, the first federally-designated viticultural area entirely within New Jersey borders was established in Warren County. The three major wine grape categories produced in New Jersey are Vinifera, French-American Hybrids, and Native American. Very little native American is produced anymore due to the more sophisticated palates of consumers. Although the New Jersey industry strives to produce more Vinifera wines due to their superior quality and consumer recognition, their inherently delicate nature makes them more prone to pests, diseases and cold intolerance. French-American Hybrids are predominantly produced in New Jersey because of their hardy nature and excellent quality. New Jersey's 16 wineries produce about 190,000 gallons of wine per year, placing New Jersey in the top 15 wine-producing states in the nation. Most wineries are family-owned and operated. All are open for tours and offer a selection of fine wines for tasting and sales. There are over 40 different varieties of wines available in the Garden State ranging from dry and semi-dry table wines to sparkling, fruit and dessert wines. Call the New Jersey Wine Line toll-free at 1-800-524-0043, or access the industry web site at www.newjerseywines.com for more information on industry special events. For more information on New Jersey wines, contact Bill Walker, New Jersey Wine Industry Advisory Council, (609) 292-8854; Dr. Joseph Fiola, Rutgers Fruit Research & Development Center, (609) 758-7311; or Dr. Gary Pavlis, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County, (609) 625-0056. For additional information about Sylvin Farms Winery, call (609) 965-1548 or (201) 778-1494. For additional information about Cream Ridge Vineyards, call (609) 259-9797.

  • AMALTHEA CELLARS, Louis Caraciollo, Proprietor, 267A Hayes Mill Road, Atco, (609) 768-8585

    Gold Medal: '97 Merlot
    Silver Medals: '97 Chancellor Reserve, '95 Chardonnay Reserve
    Bronze Medals: '94 Metis Sparkling, '91 Chancellor Reserve, '91 Chancellor, '92 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

    SYLVIN FARMS, Dr. Frank Salek, Proprietor, 24 No. Vienna Avenue, Germania, (609) 965-1548 or (201) 778-1494

    Gold Medal: GOVERNOR'S CUP & Best Vinifera - '95 Cabernet Franc
    Silver Medals: '97 Sauvignon Blanc, Best Sparkling - '94 Blanc De Noir
    Bronze Medals: '95 Merlot, '95 Cabernet Sauvignon, '95 Pinot Noir

  • TOMASELLO WINERY, Charles Tomasello, Jr., and Jack Tomasello, Proprietors, 225 White Horse Pike, Hammonton, 1-800-MMM-WINE

    Gold Medal: Best Hybrid - '97 Villard Noir
    Silver Medals: NV Red Raspberry, '98 Tre Monet
    Bronze Medals: '96 Chambourcin, '97 Epilogue, '97 Cabernet Sauvignon, '97 Chardonnay Oak Reserve,
    '97 Cabernet Franc


  • CAPE MAY WINERY & VINEYARD, Bill & Joan Hayes, Proprietors, 709 Townbank Road, Cape May, (609) 884-1169

    Bronze Medals: '97 Cabernet Sauvignon, '96 Merlot, '97 Chardonnay Reserve, '96 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve


  • KING'S ROAD VINEYARD, Nicolaas Opdam, Manager & Winemaker, Route 579, Asbury, (800) 479-6479

    Silver Medal: '97 Riesling

    POOR RICHARD'S WINERY, Richard Dilts, Proprietor, 220 Ridge Road, Frenchtown, (908) 996-6480

    Bronze Medals: '95 Chambourcin, '95 Seyval Blanc (Barrel-Fermented)

  • UNIONVILLE VINEYARDS, Kris Nielsen and Patricia Galloway, Proprietors; John Altmaier, Winemaker, 9 Rocktown Road, Ringoes, (908) 788-0400

    Silver Medal: '97 Windfall Seyval
    Bronze Medals: '97 Hunter's Red Reserve, '97 Fields Of Fire, '96 Hunter's White Reserve, '97 Cabernet Sauvignon,
    '97 Chardonnay, '97 Hunter's White, '98 Riesling


  • CREAM RIDGE VINEYARDS AND CHAMPAGNE CELLARS, Tom & Joan Amabile, Proprietors, Route 539, Cream Ridge, (609) 259-9797

    Gold Medals: FRUIT GOVERNORS CUP & Best Fruit/Dessert Wine - '98 Cranberry, '97 A Perfect Blend,
    '98 Ciliegia Amabile
    Silver Medals: '98 Raley's Red, '98 Apricot, '98 Aurelio, '98 Red Raspberry
    Bronze Medals: '97 Riesling, '98 Plum, '98 Blackberry, '98 Rhubarb, '97 Chardonnay


  • ALBA VINEYARD, Rudy Marchesi & Tom Sharko, Proprietors, 269 Route 627, Milford, (908) 995-7800

    Bronze Medals: NV Mainsyl White, '97 Heritage, NV Old Mill Red, '97 Vidal Blanc, NV Red Raspberry,
    '98 Riesling, '97 Riesling

  • FOUR SISTERS WINERY AT MATARAZZO FARMS, Robert Matarazzo, Proprietor, 10 Doe Hollow Lane/Route 519, Belvidere, (908) 475-3671

    Silver Medal: Best American - NV Beaver Creek Red
    Bronze Medal: NV Cedar Hill Rose, NV Holiday Seasoned

  • BALIC WINERY, Savo Balic, Proprietor, Route 40, Mays Landing, (609) 625-2166

  • RENAULT WINERY, Joseph Milza, Proprietor, 72 N. Breman Avenue, Egg Harbor/Galloway, (609) 965-2111


  • VALENZANO WINERY, Anthony Valenzano Sr. & Anthony Valenzano, Jr., Proprietors, 340 Forked Neck Road, Shamong, (609) 268-6731


  • AMWELL VALLEY VINEYARD, Jeff Fisher, Proprietor, 80 Old York Road, Ringoes, (908) 788-5852


  • LAFOLLETTE VINEYARD & WINERY, Mimi Summerskill, Proprietor, 64 Harlingen Road, Belle Mead, (908) 359-8833


  • TAMUZZA VINEYARDS, Paul Tamuzza, Proprietor, Cemetery Road, Hope, (908) 459-5878