As the countdown begins, people across NJ are buying bubbly to help kick off the new year. In fact, more than 20% of sparkling wines and Champagne sales in America take place between Christmas and New Year’s; according to the Guild of Sommeliers, one of the largest trade associations for wine professionals. But have you ever wondered how that came to be? How did Champagne come to be the star of New Year’s celebrations?
New Year’s celebrations date back thousands of years, at least to ancient Rome. Romans celebrated the winter solstice with festivals of wine and rich foods. As the Roman empire spread throughout Europe, the pagan winter celebrations became a part of the cultural fabric of Europe. After Rome fell, and Christianity spread through the western world, it was only a matter of time before pagan winter solstice celebrations morphed into the New Year’s celebrations we know today, complete with bubbly.
These days, it’s almost impossible to think about New Year’s without sparkling wines anywhere in the world. Here in New Jersey, there are many choices to add a bit of Garden State spirit to your NYE countdown. Check them out below. (For more New Year’s content, here are some alcohol-free mocktails, plus delicious NYE finger-food recipes.)
The Best Sparkling Wines from NJ to Drink on New Year’s Eve
5. “Maggie’s Magic” Semi-Dry Sparkling Wine, Four Sisters Winery
This is a sweeter sparkling wine harvested from grapes grown in Belvedere. It opens with ripe apple aromas that echo those in the nearby apple orchard, lush white flowers, and even a touch of peach. It’s perfect for sipping your way into the new year.
4. NV Villa Neri Spumante Secco, Hopewell Valley Vineyards
This sparkling wine (“spumante” means “sparkling” in Italian), made from grapes harvested at the base of Sourland Mountains near the Delaware Valley, mixes classic Old World techniques from Italy and Greece with New World sensibilities. It’s made in the same style as a classic Italian dry Prosecco, and opens with crisp green apples and faint white flowers. The combination of bright acidity and bubbles make it a refreshing start to any celebration.
3. NV Tomasello Blanc de Blanc Extra Dry, Tomasello Winery
This sparkling wine is made from whole-berry Vidal Blanc grapes using the same methods used to produce French Champagne. Slightly sweeter than Tomasello’s Blanc de Blanc Brut, this wine opens with soft aromas, green apples, white flowers, and just a touch of brioche. Zippy acidity helps carry the wine along to a delectable finish and the desire for more.
2. NV Sparkling Rkatsiteli, Tomasello Winery
This award-winning sparkler is made in New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain AVA from grapes originating in the Republic of Georgia, one of the world’s oldest wine-growing regions. The lightly spiced wine includes hint of Bosc pear that helps carry it to a long finish, making it as good a partner to New Year’s Eve celebrations as New Year’s Day desserts.
1. “Blanc de Blanc” Sparkling Wine, Old York Cellars
This wine, produced from 100% Chardonnay by winemaker Scott Gares offers a Garden State spin to a French-style classic. Brioche and toasted bread help lead the bouquet and flavor of yellow apples, which carries through from sip to sip. Crisp and refreshing, it’s a great way to kick off your New Year’s celebrations in style.