DAY TRIP TO RENAULT WINERY
By Joanne Colella
It is a rare and wonderful day trip that combines historical highlights, an educational tour, fine dining, the chance to sample award-winning wines, a lovely Tuscan setting, and perhaps even a round of golf – all within an easy drive from home. Renault Winery, located on 1,400 picturesque acres in Egg Harbor City, is one of the Garden State’s most popular tourist attractions and boasts the impressive distinction of being America’s second oldest continuously operating winery, founded in 1864, and recognized as a New Jersey State Historical Site.
Renault Winery was established by Master Vintner Louis Nicholas Renault, who came to America from France in 1855 after Europe’s wine industry was ravaged by parasitic insects, with hopes of growing a vineyard in the new world – and found a thriving native American grape that would make that dream come true, right in the heart of southern New Jersey. Today, visitors who take the guided wine tours learn the fascinating history that followed, as Renault went on to produce prize-winning wines and champagnes, weathered – in the most creative of ways – the limitations imposed by the Prohibition Era, and allowed descendents and subsequent owners to build and design the property to become the showcase it is now. Be sure to examine the exquisite collection on display in the wine glass museum (with some pieces dating back as far as the 13th century) and the antique wine-making equipment along the tour. Learn the intricate process of wine production, both past and present. Afterwards, tour guests are invited into the tasting room, where they are each given a souvenir etched stem wine glass and served an assortment of wine varieties and vintages – all best sellers in the onsite gift shop, which also offers a selection of unique gift items.
After your tour –or perhaps before, if you’re arriving for brunch – be sure to indulge in a delicious meal at one of the property’s two dining establishments. The romantic Gourmet Room, offering three-course dinners and a fabulous Sunday brunch, is situated inside the winery, with dark wood and stained glass accents, soft lighting, and seating available in private booths crafted within oversized wine casks. Equally tempting is Joseph’s Restaurant, located in Renault’s Tuscany House Hotel, with a delectable menu of diverse dishes.
Golfers come to Renault to enjoy the 18-hole championship golf course known as Vineyard Golf, which opened in October 2004. The impressive, meticulously maintained 7,200-yard course is surrounded by majestic vineyard views. Vineyard Golf is open to public play as well as yearly and lifetime members.
Although certainly near enough for a day’s outing, Renault is also an ideal weekend getaway destination. Entering the lobby of the 50-room Tuscany House Hotel, built in 2001, is like stepping into a Mediterranean piazza, and the accommodations are well-appointed and comfortable. The site is also a popular choice for groups, conferences, weddings, and other celebrations. Throughout the year, day trippers and overnight guests alike flock to Renault Winery to partake in the numerous, hugely popular special events that fill the calendar, such as holiday dinners, murder mystery nights, food and wine tasting events, golf outings, and much more.
Renault Winery Resort & Golf is located at 72 Bremen Avenue, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215. Find out more by calling (609) 965-2111, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting the website at www.renaultwinery.com.