My main goal for my blog is to promote the positive aspects of each winery, especially those located in my home state of New Jersey. Even if the tasting room is the size of a shed as long as the wine is good and the company amicable, I will put a positive spin on it. I so wanted to do the same for Alba Vineyards but alas, despite three separate visits over a six year period I can not in good conscience write the glowing blog I so wanted to do for them. Pity, because there is so much to love about Alba Vineyards. First of all, it has absolutely gorgeous, sweeping vineyard vistas. Second, they have two of my favorite things - great food and live music on a consistent basis. And third, their wine is really good too. For most people, it is all about the wine and since it was one of the positives of my visit that is where I will start.
Tastings at Alba Vineyards start at $40 with flights ranging from $22 to $34. I opted for the Classic, my dry loving friend Colleen went for the Red and my husband chose the Reserve. My semi-sweet loving palate thoroughly enjoyed the 2021 Grand Reserve Riesling from my husband’s flight as well as the 2021 Chelsea Dry Rose with its subtle strawberry notes but my overall favorite was the GTR Field White which was bright, light and perfect for the humid summer day. On the drier side both Colleen and my husband agreed that the smoky subtlety of the 2020 Heritage Cabernet Franc made it the clear winner.
Despite all these positives, Alba Vineyards falls short on the two most important aspects of a great winery experience – hospitality and value. As stated before, this was my third visit to this winery and all three times the employee attitudes ranged from cold indifference to downright rudeness. This is inexcusable especially given the fact that this is one of the highest priced wineries in New Jersey. While the average cost of a bottle of wine was reasonable, the tasting and flight fees are again, one of the highest if not THE highest in the state. Ditto for their food as well – but I will add that my pizza was fantastic. There is a $15 per person fee for live music (the charge is waived if you purchase a flight). Why? Since Alba doesn’t allow outside food or beverages you will no doubt be purchasing said items from them so they’re already making money. Most New Jersey wineries – even those that allow you to bring your own food – do NOT charge for music AND also offer table service, which Alba does not. Bottom line is that while Alba has much to offer, when it comes down to value for your overall experience, it simply falls short.
You can see even more of Alba Vineyard on my Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/bdQphd_Ib-o