A few years ago, while researching deforestation for a college paper, I gained a greater appreciation for the environment and of the animals to which it plays a host…all creatures great and small, you could say. Since then I have looked for companies that embrace that spirit and with whom the notion of a better environment and habitat resonates. I believe I have found yet another one while browsing Instagram recently.
On that particular day, I came across a post from Jessie Creek Winery in Cape May Court House, NJ. In that post, they introduced their Conservation Series. Out of each bottle sold, Jessie Creek donates $1.11 to The Wetlands Institute, “a non-profit organization devoted to the education, conservation, and research of wetlands and coastal ecosystems,” as Jessie Creek’s post states.
I was quite excited and was at their winery two hours later to pick up the complete series – Red Knot Rosé, Monarch Chardonnay, and Living Fossil Port. I sampled the whole series at the winery and thought they were quite enjoyable. I also picked up their 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon as I didn’t want the Conservation Series bottles to be lonely on the car ride home.
Because of the immediate impression made upon me by their project I reached out to Noelle Feliciano, General Manager and Head Winemaker, at Jessie Creek to learn more about their story.
Wanting to be more than just a “winery that made and sold wines”, a driving force of Jessie Creek Winery is to bring awareness to the “community, environment, and wildlife.” At the inception of the project, during a brainstorming session aimed at highlighting facets of local life, they zeroed in on the Red Knots, Monarch Butterflies, and their migrations. Nothing says local more than your own backyard; the beach area behind the winery is closed each May/June to accommodate the Red Knots on their “roughly 9,000-mile migration.” Noelle also notes the lengthy Monarch Butterfly migration which makes a pit stop in Cape May County.
Education, awareness, and being good stewards are some of the values that Noelle holds dear. It is these attributes that helped decide upon partnering with The Wetlands Institute as a beneficiary because of their educational programs. Noelle remembers having taken part in some as a child. (As a side note, Sean and I have both been to The Wetlands Institute and even adopted a Terrapin egg!)
The whole project took about a year and a half to come to fruition between the initial idea, developing the wine, and finding an artist that would espouse the spirit of the Conservation Series. They scored a win with the selection of Terri Amig, a local artist.
When I initially reached out to Jessie Creek Winery, I mentioned the great artwork and Noelle graciously forwarded my compliments to Terri with whom I communicated about her involvement with the project.
Terri, like Noelle, also has a passion for the environment, her work “has always been involved with the environment in some form of another.” Her father had a degree in forestry and about 20 years ago Terri started an environmental project entitled, “Now You See It”, that received a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Spanning two years, the project focused on the “beauty in the marshes, bays, and beaches” and worked with “photographers, painters, sculptors, musicians and writers.” The project also provided an opportunity for Terri to take part in some field-based activities like bird-banding and counting horseshoe crab eggs.
When approached about doing the artwork for the Conservation Series, it was an emphatic, “Of course!”
I’m no art critic but, to me, Terri’s work for the Conservation Series has a rustic appeal that I think really captures the essence of the environment.Art Gallery. For the month of June, they will be showcasing works by local photographers, Suzanne Kulperger and Terri Amig. Also, please check out Terri’s work, through the links, and see her beautiful creations. Her work may also be seen at SOMA Gallery in Cape May, Trendz in Stone Harbor, and Chora/Leone Gallery in Somers Point.