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Willow Creek Winery

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Willow Creek Winery
Location160-168 Stevens Street, West Cape May, NJ, USA
Coordinates38.942778 N, 74.946927 W
AppellationOuter Coastal Plain AVA
Other labelsWilde Cock
First vines planted2005
Opened to the public2012
Key peopleBarbara Bray Wilde (owner)
Kevin Celli (viticulturalist)[1]
Acres cultivated40
Cases/yr6,000 (2013)
Other productsEggs, flowers, fruits, honey, poultry, tobacco, vegetables, wormwood
Other attractionsBed and breakfast, picnicking permitted
DistributionOn-site, home shipment
TastingDaily tours and tastings

Willow Creek Winery is a winery in West Cape May in Cape May County, New Jersey.[2][3] Formerly a produce farm, the vineyard was first planted in 2005, and opened to the public in 2012.[4][5] Willow Creek has 40 acres of grapes under cultivation, and produces 6,000 cases of wine per year.[6][7] The winery is named for a large willow tree near the owner's residence, and the Pond Creek, a stream that borders the farm.[8][9]

Wines and other products

Willow Creek Winery is in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA, and produces wines from Albariño, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Corot noir, Malbec, Malvasia bianca, Merlot, Muscat blanc, Pinot noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Seyval blanc, and Syrah grapes.[10][11] The farm also produces eggs, flowers, fruits, honey, poultry, tobacco, vegetables, and wormwood.[12][13] Willow Creek makes wine from apples and pumpkins, and has a separate brand for non-estate wines, named "Wilde Cock" after the owner and the roosters that live at the farm.[11][13] The winery has expressed interest in producing absinthe in the future.[9][14] Willow Creek is the only winery in New Jersey that produces wine from Malvasia bianca, which is a white vinifera grape indigenous to the northwest coast of Italy.[9][15]

Licensing, associations, and other properties

Willow Creek has a farm winery license from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which allows it to produce up to 50,000 gallons of wine per year, operate up to 15 off-premises sales rooms, and ship up to 12 cases per year to consumers in-state or out-of-state.[16][17] The winery is a member of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, but not the Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association.[18][19] In 1996, the owner of Willow Creek founded The Southern Mansion, a 24-suite bed and breakfast in the neighboring town of Cape May.[14][20] Food produced at the farm is served at The Southern Mansion.[13][21]

The timber frame in the 12,000 square foot tasting facility at Willow Creek Winery was designed and built by Lancaster County Timber Frames, Inc. from Pennsylvania.
The timber frame in the 12,000 square foot tasting facility at Willow Creek Winery was designed and built by Lancaster County Timber Frames, Inc. from Pennsylvania.


Willow Creek has had conflicts with municipal, county, and state authorities regarding the hosting of weddings at the winery. The West Cape May borough council has expressed concerns about potential noise and traffic from events, and several local and county officials have said that Willow Creek misrepresented how its facilities would be used.[1][6] In 2012, the Cape May County Agriculture Development Board and the New Jersey Agriculture Development Committee stated that because the winery is on preserved farmland, it could not hold weddings or other non-agricultural events.[1][22] Willow Creek maintains that the deed of easement granted when the farm was preserved does not prohibit celebratory events.[22] The winery has since sued the mayor of West Cape May in federal court, stating that she has a conflict of interest in her land use decisions because she is also a marriage officiant.[23][24] In June 2016, West Cape May decided to settle the lawsuit and agreed to pay Willow Creek Winery $550,000 to prevent a trial. In addition, the borough has had to make payments for violations of the Open Public Records Act due to withholding of requested public information.[25][26]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Degener, Richard. "State and county preservation groups fighting West Cape May farm's plan to host weddings" in The Press of Atlantic City (10 July 2012). Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  2. ^ Urgo, Jacqueline L. "Southern Shore yields fine wines" in The Philadelphia Inquirer (25 September 2012). Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  3. ^ Westrich, Sal. New Jersey Wine: A Remarkable History. (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2012). ISBN 9781609491833.
  4. ^ Pavlis, Gary C. "Fresh Spirit: Small Fortune, Sweet Reward" in Edible Jersey (Fall 2012). Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  5. ^ Fichter, Jack. "West Cape Winery Readies to Sell Fruit of the Vine" in The Cape May County Herald (16 June 2012). Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b Linehan, Mary. "Residents worry state law will increase noise at Willow Creek Winery" in The Cape May Gazette (12 July 2012). Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Willow Creek Winery - Cape May" in American Winery Guide. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  8. ^ Fichter, Jack. "Willow Creek Vineyard Producing First Year of Wine" in The Cape May County Herald (31 October 2010). Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Toms, Charlie. "Willow Creek Winery - Cape May Review" in American Winery Guide (5 October 2013). Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  10. ^ Willow Creek Winery. "Willow Creek Winery: Our Wines" (commercial website). Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b Gioquindo, Debbie. "Willow Creek Winery Opens in Cape May, NJ" on Hudson Valley Wine Goddess (blog) (7 February 2013). Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  12. ^ Kummer, Megan. "Kegs & Corks: Willow Creek Winery" in The Cape May County Herald (13 August 2013). Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Willow Creek Winery. "What's New at Willow Creek Winery" (commercial website). Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  14. ^ a b Fox, Karen. "Pour the Wine…" in Cape May Magazine (Fall 2012). Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  15. ^ Bettiga, Larry J. Wine Grape Varieties in California. (Davis, CA: University of California, 2003). ISBN 9781879906631.
  16. ^ New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "New Jersey ABC license update" (16 April 2013). Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  17. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 33:1-10". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey.
  18. ^ Garden State Wine Growers Association. "GSWGA Wineries." Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  19. ^ Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association. "Outer Coastal Plain Wineries." Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Southern Mansion" in The Cape May Times (17 August 2003). Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  21. ^ The Southern Mansion. "Fresh farm food grown for The Southern Mansion by their Willow Creek Winery and Farm" (commercial website) (28 February 2012). Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  22. ^ a b Chamberlin, Cain. "Borough residents tell commissioners about alleged Willow Creek wedding" in The Cape May Star and Wave (29 May 2013). Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  23. ^ Simpson, David. "Willow Creek Winery suing West Cape May, mayor over alleged harassment" in The Press of Atlantic City (11 October 2012). Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  24. ^ Willow Creek Winery, Inc. et al. v. The Borough of West Cape May, New Jersey et al, Case No. CV-06329 (D.N.J. 2012).
  25. ^ http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/news/government/article_663e921a-2c1d-11e6-bb5a-e72d945ad992.html
  26. ^ http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/west-cape-may-agrees-to-pay-k-to-settle-lawsuit/article_b8a8a8d4-2776-11e6-b5a9-e30e4a3ec4af.html
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Willow Creek Winery
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