Here’s Why Hunterdon Is Finally Being Recognized As a Wine Destination

Pictured is Mount Salem Kitchen founder Peter Leitner and his then-two-year-old-daughter, Sophie-Anne, in their Hunterdon County garden in 2005.

Today, visitors from the Garden State and beyond regularly wind down Hunterdon County roads, stopping at the county’s half-dozen wineries set atop lush grounds, and for good reason.

Wine critics and writers regularly give our local wineries praise. Here at Mount Salem Vineyards, we receive messages from customers all the way in Vienna. Our winery is even in the globally-recognized Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Guide.

We’re not Napa, and we don’t want to be. But what we are is a wine destination that is finally finding recognition, and also one that’s perfect for people who are less concerned with labels and big names and more concerned about quality.

Our high quality makes logical sense. World-class wines are made from grapes in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, including Northern Italy, modern-day Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and southern Poland. Hunterdon County’s climate is very similar that region’s climate. Our same grapes, and thus, wines, prosper equally.

Looking back

But 40 years ago, that wasn’t possible. Not even close.

After years of efforts, the NJ Farm Winery Act, which was written by Hunterdon County residents, passed in 1983. This finally meant that New Jersey farmers could grow grapes, turn them into wine, and sell the wine to consumers at their farms. A new industry was finally able to flourish in the region, but due to a learning curve, naysayers, and business obstacles, there was a long way to go.

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As the years went by, that path grew smoother. The colossal New York City and Philadelphia markets, which amounts to 20 million people, made their way to the Hunterdon County middle ground. Wine writers, critics and enthusiasts started tuning in. And most recently – even this year – county government started pushing dollars towards artisan beverage and food tourism as well as economic development.

Finally, we’re literally enjoying the fruits of our labor, but we still have a way to go. However, we can get there with your support.

How you can help

Do you drink 12 bottles of wine per year? Then buy one case of Mount Salem Vineyards’ wine – we even offer case subscriptions and case club memberships. In Hunterdon County, there are more cases of wine of wine produced than there are households – so if every household bought one case, all of us would sell out every year.

Read more: Private Events, Including Wine Dinners and Cooking Classes, Are Back at Mount Salem Kitchen

Sound like a pipe dream? It’s not. That’s exactly what happens in Switzerland each year – the country’s lovely wine barely ever makes it out of the country. We can get there, too.

Contact us at or 908-735-9359 for more information about your case subscription or case club membership.

100% Guarantee

We believe your satisfaction with our products is paramount, so we stand behind every purchase made at with our 100% Guarantee.

If we do not meet or exceed on any of the criteria below, and you Contact Us within 5 business days of receiving your order, then we will issue a refund or replacement:

  1. We will ship the correct item(s) and quantity of what you ordered (if an item is out of stock, we will attempt to contact you promptly to discuss your options).
  2. We will ship your item(s) to the address you entered during the online check-out process.
  3. You will be satisfied with the quality of our products.

We want you to love our products as much as we do.