WINERY REVIEW: Southwind Vineyard & Winery

This past weekend we decided to take a short road trip to visit a somewhat lesser known winery in the Vineland area, Southwind Vineyard. It's located a bit off the beaten path, but easy enough to find with the help of Google Maps. Driving down the long driveway you are greeted by a stately looking home and a barn with horses milling about. Parking is somewhat limited, though we did manage to get a spot. There is a bit of a hippy aesthetic to the furniture located in the yard, and I would be lying if I didn't say that the appearance of things outside didn't concern us a bit, but once we went in we immediately felt much better about our decision to visit.

There is only a small room for visitors inside, but it is quite cozy. There are a few small tables with comfortable seating and a rack of wine bottles for purchase. Most notable though is the quirky decor. The random mixture of older-looking items gives one the feeling of hanging out in an antique store, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. This is perhaps one of the most pleasantly uniquely decorated wineries I have ever been to. The 2 staff on hand that day, of which one seemed likely to be the owner, were both very friendly and knowledgeable. They seemed to really enjoy being there which made it even easier for us to enjoy our visit as well.

Of course, the most important thing is the wine, which we found to be mostly pretty enjoyable. Their tasting turns out to be one of the more unique presentations we've seen, with the samples arranged on a painter's palette. We found the Chardonnay to be crisp and pleasant, perhaps a bit closer to pinot grigio in flavor, but very enjoyable. Cabernet Franc has been one of my favorites lately, but there wasn't anything especially notable about this one, nor did we feel especially impressed by the Merlot. There wasn't anything wrong with either one, but we didn't find them to be very memorable. The Cabernet Sauvignon was very bold and dry, which I personally loved, but might be too dry for others. The Malbec had a pleasant dryness about it with stronger fruit notes, but the star of the red wines for us was their blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot labelled as Blood, Sweat & Tears. All of the levels were perfectly balanced on this one, being just fruity enough, just dry enough, and velvety smooth, even occasionally reminding me of butter. We really couldn't get enough of this one, as we went through 2 bottles there and another one when we got home.

We also got to try the Grape Kiss, which really does meet their claim that it tastes like grape soda, and the Sangria, which was reminiscent of Smarties candies. Both were smooth and easy to drink, though admittedly sweeter than I generally prefer. In addition we had a sample of the Sparkling Rosé, which was pleasantly dry and rich with just the right hint of sweetness.

Southwind is one of the region's smaller wineries, and therefore has a lot of room to grow, and not all of the wines are perfect. But it more than makes up for it in quirky charm and friendly atmosphere and is really worth the trip for the Blood, Sweat & Tears alone.


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