Renault winery sits on 1,400 acres in the small town of Egg Harbor City, New Jersey.
Renault Winery History
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but the "Garden State" of New Jersey has been producing wine for over two centuries. First opening its doors in 1864, Renault is one of the oldest, if not the oldest winery in the state. The historic winery even managed to keep its doors open during prohibition, labeling their wine as "tonic" and selling it to pharmacies. Though this winery survived the Prohibition era, it almost didn't survive the 1970's.
Not that the late 1970's was a particularly turbulent time period, it was just that the old buildings on the Renault winery estate had seen better days. The winery and its buildings were old and decrepit and the winery itself was losing money for the second time in its long history. Only ten years after filing for bankruptcy, the historic winery was slated for a date with a demolition crew…that is, until Joe Milza stepped in.
Saving the Winery
At the time, Mr. Milza was not in the wine business, he was a newspaper man that sort of fell into wine. Milza had what he called an "undependable" food writer who would, more often than not, miss her deadline and not write her column at all. When she didn't write, he did, learning a lot about food and wine along the way.
At first, Milza sent another reporter to go visit the winery and bring back a few bottles. He was not thoroughly impressed with the wine, but was impressed with Renault's long history. The newspaper man was so enchanted by the winery and its buildings that he bought it, restored it and called it home for over 30 years.
No Longer Just a Winery
Restoring the winery back to its former glory was not the only transformation Renault has undergone since the 1970's. The estate is now known as Renault Winery Resort and Golf Course. Here's a list of the amenities:
- The Vineyards Golf Course - A 7,000 yard championship golf course.
- Joseph's - Specializing in more casual fare, Joseph's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- The Gourmet Restaurant at Renault Winery - More upscale than Joseph's, the Gourmet Restaurant at Renault winery serves dinner and brunch on Sundays. The dinner menu changes weekly, making it a new dining experience every seven days.
- The Tuscany House Hotel - The hotel looks like an intimate Mediterranean villa, featuring 45 spacious rooms.
What About the Wine?
Renault has typical red and white wine offerings, peppered with a few atypical wines:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Baco Noir
Here are the white varietals produced and poured at Renault:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Vidal Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
Awards and Accolades
Just so you don't think that Renault winery is all show and no substance, here are a few awards the winery has won:The 2007 New Jersey Wine Growers Competition
- 2005 Cynthiana (Norton) - Silver Medal
- Non-Vintage Fresello - Silver Medal
- 2006 Merlot - Silver Medal
- Non-Vintage Blueberry Champagne - Bronze Medal
- Non-Vintage Burgundy - Bronze Medal
- Non-Vintage Cabernet - Bronze Medal
- Non-Vintage "May Wine" - Bronze Medal
- Non-Vintage "Pink Lady" - Bronze Medal
- Non-Vintage "Vineyard Meritage" - Bronze Medal
Not Just for Wine Lovers
Renault winery has a lot to offer with its award winning wines, gourmet foods, outstanding golf and beautiful views. It's a quaint and quiet getaway on the Jersey Shore that seems out in the middle of nowhere, but it is only a short 20-minute drive from the bright lights and cling-clang of slot machines in Atlantic City. So, take a weekend and visit the winery, take a drive to Atlantic City and then go back to the quiet calm of the Tuscany House Hotel and you'll have the perfect weekend of just enough relaxation and just enough excitement.