My summer is never complete without at least one visit to the Jersey Shore.
Vacation week consisted of scattered day trips this year so beach time was at a premium. Fran and I chose Wednesday … a perfectly mild, sunny day to make the drive. It was on the back of my mind that almost exactly ten years ago on another perfect day we were walking on the boardwalk when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. I felt a lot of guilt as my family was enjoying a peaceful week by the ocean while there was this unimaginable chaos going on a few miles up the coast … and simultaneously in Washington, DC, a short drive south. God bless all those who lost their lives that day and the sacrifices made from all of those great people who fight for our freedom here in the U.S.
So Ocean City, New Jersey has been branded “America’s Greatest Family Resort”, largely attributed to the fact that you cannot purchase a drop of alcohol there. I think this is a good thing because it preserves the innocent feel that it has been known for for many, many years. You can purchase libations and bring them into town, as there is a popular liquor store (Circle Liquor) on the traffic circle in Somers Point just on the other side of the bridge. However they are facing a bit of competition from a new, more interactive wine store just up the street.
Passion Vines is a wine bar & beer/liquor outlet that offers a more personal experience for the wine and beer lover. I first heard of them on a Facebook ad and have been trying to visit for quite awhile now. They recently opened a second location in nearby Egg Harbor Township so it looks like their consumer friendly approach is working.
The large, square bar is the center of attention in the Somers Point facility. The walls are lined with a large selection of spirits and both local and international options for wine. Beer is located in the rear of the store.
We were greeted by Jessica, a friendly local who was overseeing the bar. She gave us the grand tour and offered some tastes of the current lineup. Passion Vines has rotating selections for wine and beer and my visit fell right in between the update. The new draft beer specials are focused on the seasonal pumpkin theme and they sell their own growlers here. I did have a taste of the wonderfully complex 2007 Kailani Cab Sav from Spelletich Cellars. Yes it was after noon and I had already eaten lunch hahaha (No judgement here, Passion Vines is open from 9 to 10 and 10 to 10 on Sunday). Jessica was very knowledgeable about her wine and per the company name, passionate about helping Fran and I find something to suit our individual tastes. In a personal twist, Passion Vines has partnered with DiBruno Brothers who sold me those awesome crab cakes on my birthday.
It was a short visit so I want to come back where I can spend more time and appreciate the Passion Vines experience more fully. They do have a Sommelier on staff but it was her day off. Sorry I missed you Amy. The sun and sand were calling but I’m glad that I had a chance to stop by. Thanks Jessica … time well spent.