On our drive back from the Cape May County Zoo we drove past several signs for Balić Winery in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Since we had already detoured for a walk on the Wildwood boardwalk we decided to visit the Balić Winery another day. We were hungry and Jo Jo’s Pizza was calling us.
We love visiting wineries in general. But this one really piqued our interest because the name sounded very Croatian. And Eve, our sweet and wonderful daughter in law, is Croatian. So the next day we headed to Mays Landing. Though only about a half hour west of Atlantic City it feels like a different country entirely. Mays Landing is part of the New Jersey Pinelands and has Victorian houses and small farms. It is also part of the Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area consisting more than 25 southern New Jersey wineries.
As we drive up to the winery and vineyards we were smitten with the idyllic setting. Grapes growing as far as the eye could see. We pulled up to the large building in front of the vineyard which is multipurpose. The building houses a beautiful tasting room and wine production facility. Upon entering we were greeted by Bojan Boskovic, the owner, and winemaker, who is originally from Montenegro. And when he heard about Eve’s heritage he was thrilled to give us some history.
Apparently, this area has a long history of grape cultivation. The Balić vineyard was initially planted in the early 19th Century by descendants of the original settlers of Mays Landing. In 1966 Bojan’s uncle, Savo Balić, bought the 57-acre farmed and opened the winery. Balić was born in New Jersey but actually grew up in Europe where he operated a vineyard near the Adriatic Sea. And in 1993 his nephew Bojan came to America to work for his uncle and escape the Yugoslavian Civil War. Bojan has inherited the winery and expanded the variety of wines produced here.
Balic produces over 25 different New Jersey wines which were lined up on the tasting bar. On display in the glass cabinet behind the bar were Balić’s awards. The winery utilizes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, Vranac, and Zinfindel grapes. One of only a handful of wineries in the country that produces wine from Vranec, a red grape that is indigenous to Montenegro, it is the only one in New Jersey. Balić Winery also produces fruit wines from almonds, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, mangoes, pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries.
We tasted several delicious fruit wines at Balić Winery in Mays Landing, New Jersey and left with a little assortment to savor later.