Wine Festival Season Arrives with Annual “Blues & Wine” Event at Natirar Park

Two day wine festival includes New Jersey Wine Competition Awards Ceremony on Saturday

Online PR News – 15-May-2014 – Peapack, New Jersey – Eighteen of New Jersey’s premier wine producers will come together Memorial Day weekend for the Garden State Winegrowers Association’s annual Blues and Wine Festival, held at the sprawling and gorgeous 500 acre Natirar estate in Peapack-Gladstone. That’s “Raritan” backwards, for the uninitiated!
The two-day event highlights some of New Jersey’s finest wineries, which have doubled in number across the state in the last ten years. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to taste hundreds of wines, meet the winemaking teams, enjoy an array of delicious foods, and enjoy an afternoon of great blues bands. Dugan Thomas plays their brand of “smokin’ hot” blues on Saturday, and the Jody Joseph Band owns the stage on Sunday. The festival runs from noon to 5pm each day, with Memorial Day itself reserved for a rain date.
The annual event, which draws several thousand festival goers each year, is one of the New Jersey’s premier annual events, according to John Cifelli, Executive Director of the GSWGA. “The wine is fantastic, the music is great, and you can’t beat the setting,” he offered. “You can’t not have an incredible time, there’s an infectious, fun atmosphere about the whole day.”
Besides the rock and roll, there are a couple other events on the stage that set the Blues & Wine Festival apart. Guests will have the chance to cheer on their favorite winery as the winners of the New Jersey Wine are announced early on Saturday. The contest, organized annually by Dr. Gary Pavlis of Rutgers University, has been awarding three “Governor’s Cup” trophies for almost thirty years. In addition to the Winery of the Year award, Cups are given to the best overall, best dessert, and best fruit wine categories. Judges this year include sommeliers, fine wine distributors, boutique liquor store owners, and restaurateurs from across the state. Additionally, Pavlis arranges for certified wine judges from the American Wine Society, and even has NYC wine educator Harriet Lembeck casting her judgments this year. Over 300 wines were entered in hopes of earning the coveted trophies.
As Sunday draws to a close, one lucky person will be drawn to win an international wine trip! The GSWGA operates a passport program, with all association members included in the book. Those who travel the entire New Jersey wine trail and collect stamps from the wineries are entered into an annual drawing, traditionally held at the Blues & Wine festival. This year’s drawing will occur at the music tent, and the announced winner will have to get their U.S. passport ready for a grand wine vacation to Austria and Hungary.
This year as a special treat, the GSWGA is inviting all civil servants to enjoy discounted tickets at the gate. All police, fire, EMS, and military veterans will receive a $10 discount at the gate with proper identification. “It’s the right thing to do, to give back,” says GSWGA Vice Chair Anthony Riccio, an army veteran himself. “The support from the residents of this state has meant so much, we wanted to honor those who do some very important work in our communities.” Tickets to the event are $25 at the gate, but reduced rate advance ticket sales are online now. Ticket information, a festival guide, and the full list of winery participants can be found visit