With temperatures and vaccination rates across the region climbing, the great outdoors beckon.
If lounging in a shady spot with your toes wiggling in the grass and a cold glass of rosé in hand is your ideal spring and summer weekend afternoon, let’s be friends! And let’s meet up at Federal Twist Vineyard in Stockton. The boutique vineyard relaunched its weekly outdoor wine tasting series this month.
On most Saturdays and Sundays through the fall, you’re invited to bring a beach chair or blanket and set up right alongside the grapes for a free live concert. Federal Twist wines will be available for tasting and purchase (by the bottle). This month’s lineup features:
- JB Kline and Ed Wall (May 15, 12 PM)
- Chris Giakas (May 16, 12 PM)
- Crabdaddy (May 22, 12 PM)
- The BassBoards (May 23, 12 PM)
- The Rivertown Vintage Jazz Band (May 30, 12 PM)
If you’re someone who feels like you need to earn your cocktail, Federal Twist is hosting the UnWINEd 5K, Terra Vino Trail 5K, and Kids’ Grape Juice Run May 15 ($44 for either 5K and $26 for the Grape Juice Run).
Both of the 5Ks are technically trail runs, though the Terra Vino route winds mostly through deep woods on hilly single-track, while the UnWINEd course weaves throughout the grassy, mostly-flat five acres of the vineyard. (As does the half-mile Grape Juice Run.)
If you enjoy the scenery, stick around after race to sip some wine. And then register for the Run the Vineyards 5K/10K, which will be staged at Federal Twist the following weekend ($44, 5K; $50, 10K).
Federal Twist Vineyard sits just south of Bulls Island Recreation Area, along an especially picturesque stretch of Route 29 that’s flanked by steep, rolling hills and the canal and river. It’s somehow both right in the middle of everything that lures the day-trippers to this nook of the Delaware River Towns and yet separate from all of it. Amid the grape vines, a gentle breeze rustles the leaves and quiets the white noise.
While modest in size for a vineyard at a mere five acres, it’s owned and run by a large family that goes three generations deep. The tie that binds them, they say, is a stewardship of this land that’s served as a backdrop for much of their lives.
The vineyard, which they established nine years ago, is a means to ensure the land is responsibly managed and that their roots remain firmly planted there.
Federal Twist uses traditional methods that allow both the varietal and regional characteristics of its wines to come through. They include a Vidal Blanc that’s made from a blend Vidal Blanc and Traminette grapes, both a hardy white hybrid variety. It has a ripe citrus fruit flavor and a crisp acidity. The Chambourcin is made from a hardy red hybrid grape. It’s aged in oak barrels, which give it a silky texture.
In making its rosé, Federal Twist doesn’t allow the grape skins to have any contact with the juice, which is a somewhat unconventional approach. Most winemakers allow for a very brief contact period. The difference in techniques can be seen in the hue; Federal Twist’s rosé is lighter than most. It also has a slightly cleaner finish.
New to the menu is a rosé pétillant natural sparkling wine. Compared to processed wines, where technology can round out a lot of the quirks that can emerge in winemaking, pétillants can feel less predictable. But what they may lack in consistency, they make up for in unparalleled complexity and nuance. Federal Twist’s sparkling wine lands on the sweeter end of the spectrum.
From its easy-going tastings to its easy-drinking wines, Federal Twist is noticeably free of pretension.