Like any battle-tested soldier, Renault Winery has its share of scars. The paint on its gigantic champagne bottle on Route 30 is faded and peeling and the outermost vineyards are overgrown with weeds. But if there one thing to be said about New Jersey’s oldest winery is that it is a true survivor. From prohibition through bankruptcy, Renault endures not only as merely a winery but also as a resort featuring an 18 hole golf course, the Chateau Renault hotel, a spa, and Joseph’s Restaurant.
The original tasting room is currently under construction so our tastings were conducted at the bar inside of Joseph’s Restaurant. Five bucks netted us a cheese plate (with chocolate!) and six wine samples, the standouts of which were the off-dry but fruity Sauvignon Blanc and Pink Lady, the sweetest of their offerings. Afterwards, we were free to wander the grounds and marvel at the high ceilings and breathtaking murals of the Chateau Renault. For now Renault may be a winery in transition but I will definitely return to check out their new tasting room when it opens this fall.