I came across Fox Hollow Vineyards when I was searching for some breweries or wineries in the Holmdel, NJ area.
My husband and I were going to be attending the Evanescence + Lindsey Stirling concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel that evening, and we were looking for some place to hang out for a couple of hours prior to the show. If you’d like to read more about the concert, click here:
A quick Google search for “wineries near Holmdel, NJ” brought me to Fox Hollow Vineyards. It was only a few minutes from the venue, so we decided to give it a try. Keep reading to find out more about Fox Hollow Vineyards and our visit.
ABOUT NEW JERSEY WINE
I’ve written several times about different wineries in Pennsylvania and the fact that it isn’t a well-known wine region. New Jersey is in a similar situation. When you think of New Jersey, you think of things like tomatoes and corn, not grapes.
New Jersey was first recognized for making wine in 1758. It was in that year that Great Britain’s Royal Society offered a prize of 100 pounds to any colonist who could produce a wine that was “of acceptable quality”, which basically meant that it was equivalent to a wine that would come from France. After no one came forward, the prize was raised to 200 pounds. That’s when two New Jersey residents – William Alexander and Edward Antill – accepted the challenge. And guess what? They won!
While the wine industry was slow to grow in New Jersey for many years, it has grown exponentionally since 2000. New Jersey has four designated AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) – Cape May Peninsula, Warren Hills AVA, Central Delaware Valley AVA, and the Outer Coastal Plain AVA. Today, there are over 50 wineries across the state of New Jersey.
Not only has the industry grown, but the quality of the wine has not been hindered by that growth. In June of 2012, a blind taste test was conducted between 10 New Jersey wines and 10 French wines. The result was a tie – there was no significant difference found between the New Jersey and French wines.
Fox Hollow Vineyards is located on Holmdel Road in Holmdel, NJ. It’s just a few minutes off the Garden State Parkway. The property is 94 acres in size and is owned by the Casola family.
The Casola family has a long history of farming the land, and decided to expand their farming into winemaking. Because they have expertise in both farming and winemaking, they look at the production of wine all the way from growing the grapes to bottling the wine.
The Fox Hollow Vineyards tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Friday they are open until 9 p.m.). They have a Happy Hour in the tasting room every Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Tastings are $12 and you can taste five of their wines. They also have a “Reserve Tasting” for $18, which allows you to taste three of their reserve wines and two other wines of your choice. Fox Hollow is also currently doing a Rosé tasting for $15, which allows you to taste five of their Rosé wines. All three tasting options come with a souvenir wine glass that you can take home with you.
Tip #1: Be aware that they do not allow you to buy a bottle of wine and drink it at the winery. Seems like a strange rule, but it appears that you can only do a tasting or purchase wine by the glass to consume in the tasting room. When we completed our tasting, we were considering buying a bottle and sitting outside to drink it, but were told that they couldn’t sell it and open it. We ended up buying a bottle and taking it with us to the concert venue and drank it in the lot.
Fox Hollow Vineyards does not allow outside food. They do have food to purchase. Food options include meat and cheese plates, as well as panini’s. Every Thursday, they run an all-day lunch special. For $12 you get a panini, chips and a glass of wine.
Tip #2: There are three panini’s to choose from. I had the eggplant and mozzarella, which had sundried tomatoes and balsamic on it. My husband had the chicken and mozzarella, which also had sundried tomatoes and balsamic on it. Both were ready quickly, very tasty and filling.
Tip #3: We also ordered a meat and cheese plate. We wanted the Italian salami and Manchego cheese plate, but they were out. So, we settled for the Prosciutto and aged Mozzarella cheese plate. Note that the meat and cheese plates are pre-packaged. However, they are sourced locally and very fresh.
Fox Hollow Vineyards has a beautiful outdoor patio area. It contains lots of seating as well as a couple of nice outdoor fire pits. While we weren’t there for a concert, it looks like that’s where they hold the concerts when the weather is good.
The vineyard hosts live music every Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. Entry to the concerts is free.
Fox Hollow Vineyards also has a grassy area outdoors, which is where they hold yoga classes. The classes are held once per month on Sunday at 11 a.m. The cost to attend the yoga class is $10.
My husband and I both did a regular tasting during our visit. He tasted all whites, and I mixed it up between whites and reds. Here’s the list of the five wines I tasted.
2015 Riesling: The Riesling is aged in stainless steel. It’s very crisp and light. The wine has a lot more citrus on it than I’m used to in a Riesling.
2015 Traminette: The Traminette was definitely a sweeter wine. Also aged in stainless steel, I did notice a little bit of a funny taste on the end. It starts sweet but ends a little tart. This is one of the wines Fox Hollow Vineyards makes slushies out of.
2017 Pink Flamingo: Fox Hollow Vineyards has six different Rosé wines on their tasting menu, so I wanted to make sure I tried one of them. This particular Rosé is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc. I got a lot of strawberry taste from this wine. It’s a very nice summer wine to drink chilled.
2014 Chambourcin: Since Chambourcin is not a very common varietal, I always like to give it a try when I see it on a tasting menu. Fox Hollow Vineyard’s Chambourcin is very nice. It has that “earthy” taste that you typically get from a Chambourcin, but it also has a lot of cranberry on it.
2015 Cabernet Franc: A friend had recommended trying the Cabernet Franc, so I made sure to pick it for my tasting. The wine is aged 18 months in French and American oak. It was a very nice wine. Very smoky and very smooth.
Tip #4: When doing a wine tasting, be sure to taste the wines in the proper order. You always want to start with the dry whites, then move to the dry reds. Finish up with any semi-dry wines or dessert wines. The person giving you the tasting should be familiar with each of the wines they are serving, and can tell you what order to taste them in. If the tasting room has crackers available, you may want to eat a cracker or drink some water to cleanse your palate as you move from style to style.
Tip #5: It’s ok to not like a particular wine. Any good winemaker will understand and will not be offended if you “dump” wine that you don’t like. Wine is very subjective, and everyone’s palate and tastes are a little different.
Tip #6: A lot of people believe they should rinse their glass with water in between tasting each wine. When you rinse, you typically leave water in the bottom of the wine glass, which will water down the next pour. The proper way to transition from wine to wine, is to have the person doing your tasting pour a little bit of the next wine in your glass, swirl it around and dump it out. However, unless you are tasting a very expensive wine, there is no need to do this either.
If you are looking for something to do before a show at PNC, check out Fox Hollow Vineyards. And be sure to pick up a bottle to go for your tailgate! You can find out more information about Fox Hollow Vineyards on their website at www.foxhollowvineyards.com.
Have questions about the wines at Fox Hollow Vineyards? Need help planning your visit? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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