‘Signage for vine-age’: Murphy signs viticulture ad campaign bill

Thanks to Gov. Phil Murphy signing S1435, there will now be a marketing and advertising campaign for state wineries and viticulture attractions to promote and recognize New Jersey’s expanding wine industry. The legislation will raise awareness of wineries across the state and attract new visitors to enjoy New Jersey wines. Maybe it can be termed the “signage for vine-age” law! 

“New Jersey’s wine industry is a fast-growing part of our tourism economy,” Murphy said. “I am proud to sign this legislation that will support local businesses, encourage job creation and welcome visitors to experience our incredible wineries.” 

“This new, high-impact marketing and advertising campaign will be a great boost in further enhancing the visibility of New Jersey’s wine industry,” said Douglas H. Fisher, secretary of the Department of Agriculture. “This legislation will make it easier than ever before for consumers to find and experience New Jersey’s world class wineries.” 

Primary sponsors of the bill include Sens. James Beach (D-Cherry Hill) and Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May Court House), and Assemblymen Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) and Clinton Calabrese (D-Ridgefield). 

They, along with several others, spoke out in praise of the legislation:

  • “The growth of New Jersey’s viticulture industry has provided a significant boost to our state’s economy, increasing tourism and encouraging the success of many local businesses,” Andrzejczak said. “Over 100,000 people a year visit our wineries, and this legislation will help the industry continue to flourish.” 
  • “Residents and tourists alike view New Jersey wineries as go-to destinations,” Beach said. “The success of the industry has resulted in our state becoming one of the largest producers of wine in the country. This program will expand our capabilities to inform tourists of what New Jersey has to offer in the world of viticulture.” 
  • “New Jersey’s local wine industry is having an extremely positive impact on our economy,” Freiman and Calabrese said. “Having received national recognition and prestigious awards for the quality of our local wines, the industry is helping grow and diversify our economy, creating jobs and bringing more visitors to our state. To keep at pace with other neighboring states and fuel growth, it is important our state does its best to support the industry.” 
  • “Wine grapes representing the fastest-growing segment of New Jersey agriculture, and the wines made from these grapes are recognized as being of equal quality as those made anywhere else in the United States,” the Winemakers Co-Op said. “Statewide, there are grapes grown and wines made nearby all Garden State residents.”
  • “What our governor and legislators are doing for the wine industry cannot be overstated,” said Louis Caracciolo, chair of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. “By signing this bill into law across our state, residents and visitors will have a constant reminder that there is a thriving winery agritourism ‘wonderland’ right in their backyards.” 
  • “New Jersey has a long history of grape growing, dating back to the times of our founding fathers,” said Larry Sharrott III, managing partner at Sharrott Winery. “Today we are producing wines of great quality and interest that rival any in the world. More than ever, New Jersey’s farms need support and vineyards are growing. With the support of Gov. Murphy and the state Legislature, New Jersey will be a recognized quality wine region.”
  • “As the owner of Natali Vineyards, I thank Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for all of their efforts to increase awareness of New Jersey’s vibrant wine industry based on wine grapes grown within the state,” said Alfred Natali, owner of Natali Vineyards. 

This important step in helping grow our wine making industry is no doubt something for New Jerseyans to celebrate, so raise your glass and visit your local New Jersey wineries and experience the some of the best vintages in the country!

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For more information about New Jersey’s wineries, go to: newjerseywines.com.

Milestone in Newton: N.J.’s first vegan catering company

Looks like the town of Newton will have the distinction of welcoming the Garden State’s first vegan catering company. Green Cart Catering will open its doors in late September in a storefront that was vacated by the former Between the Bread eatery. The business’s new location is at 188 Spring St., as it moves from its current location in West Caldwell, where it operates a small kitchen.

Courtesy Photo
Green Cart Catering’s owner and chef Marisa Minor.

Green Cart’s catering business is “completely vegan,” with no meat, chicken or fish as an ingredient on the menu, and can also cater for vegetarian and plant-based diets. Owner/chef Marisa Minor said that, once the kitchen is open, she plans on featuring a variety of ethnic dishes on the menu and become certified kosher, as well.

According to Green Cart’s website, Minor has spent all her life in the food business. Her father owned an Italian restaurant in Bloomfield, and she worked there from age 13 until her mid-20s. Working in the family restaurant taught her two things — how to efficiently run a food operation, and a love of working with food. Shortly after, she and her brother opened a snack shop in Point Pleasant Beach. This grew into a homemade candy business, Munching Moose, which she ran for quite a few years. 

As she transitioned from becoming vegetarian to vegan, she found the joy of not only cooking for vegans, but creating food that could be enjoyed by non-vegans who might not otherwise think they would like it. Two years back, she started the vegan catering business.

Green Cart will primarily focus on off-premise catering, although Minor plans on having small space in the Newton location to accommodate catered private parties up to 45 people. She added that she does plan on using lots of local produce to supply her business. The nice thing about its catering capacity is the ability for Green Cart to do everything from small breakfasts and lunches to full-service event catering — formal or casual, small budget or extravagant — as well as social, corporate and wedding events, all within two to three hours in the tri-state area.

Congratulations, Marisa Minor, on your new kitchen for your business — and much success to you and your vegan vision!

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To learn more about Green Cart Catering go to: greencartcatering.com or call 201-885-4425.