The first time I saw the ad for ‘Run The Vineyards’ in South Jersey, I was over the top ecstatic. I used to be an avid runner in a previous life but that was several years and quite a few quarter pounders ago. In my mind at least, I’m not much older than a college student, so I entered the race in the spirit of exploring new ground for my readers.
What is the definition a 5 mile run through some grape vines followed by a wine tasting? Some morning fitness with a touch of class? A little hair of the dog? There’s something for just about everyone here apparently.
Normally I’m able to get a few people together socially for stuff like this but today I was on my own. My wife had a wedding shower so she was off the hook. I don’t know if it was too early on Sunday morning or if the daunting idea of exercise scared people away. I apparently wasn’t the only one who thought this sounded fun, though. The entire field sold out in a matter of days … the 5 miler, the fun run, and the walkers. Looking back, I wish I would have taken the time to read the fine print that said that walking was one of the options. Live & learn.
Heritage Winery was awarded New Jersey’s “Winery of the Year” in 2011 by the Garden State Wine Growers Association. The facility is beautiful with a large tasting area, a well stocked gift shop and plentiful outdoor seating. They offer a wide selection of estate grown wines onsite and in New Jersey liquor stores. Some of the limited releases are available in the tasting room only. A number of New Jersey produced sweet & semi-sweet wines are also produced and marketed by Heritage.
The run began propmptly at 9:00 for the 2.5 mile fun run and about ten minutes later for the 5 miler. The five mile course started and ended in the vineyard with about four and a half miles of paved road sandwiched between. For you runners out there, it was a nice course, fairly flat with some gradual inclines and two water stops. If you are a couch potato however, it was a steep price to pay for a taste of wine at the end. Scattered among the mile markers there were signs reminding us how much distance remained for the tasting. And judging by the reactions from some of the runners, it was a bit of motivational genius.
I finished in under an hour, around the middle of the pack and wasn’t dissatisfied with that. Bagels, bananas and Power Bars were provided afterwards along with a taste of your choice of one of Heritage’s select wines, keep the glass. Due to the large volume of race participants, a full tasting for everyone wasn’t really feasible but the option of going back for more tastes if one desired was there. The winery was also offering 10% off all bottles and a 20% discount on cases for race participants. Mixed cases included. Not a bad deal.
I plan to come back this summer to take advantage of a full tasting with friends. Though enjoyable, I don’t think that the sample of the medium bodied Cab Franc that I had was an ideal digestif* after 4 bagels and 2 bottles of water.
My body is still punishing me three days after this event. But will I do it again next year? Absolutely.
*Digestif – Opposite of Apertif. Look it up.