By Bob Behre 

Unionville Vineyards makes and sells wine. Diamond Nation teaches baseball and softball and produces excellent teams and results on the field. Who would have thought a vineyard and a baseball/softball school would be so similar.

Unionville Vineyards of Ringoes, N.J. and Diamond Nation in neighboring Flemington have the identical goal of producing a world class product while completely satisfying a demanding but deserving clientele.

“We are a 100 percent estate winery. Every bottle of wine that we make is crafted from grapes that we grow,” said Unionville Vineyards’ general manager John Cifelli. “We farm over 40 acres under vine at five unique sites across the area. This intensive, hands-on process allows us to make wines that are true expressions of Hunterdon County.”

A visit to Unionville Vineyards at 9 Rocktown Road in Ringoes is so much more than a wine tasting experience.

“We love to share what we do with everyone who visits,” says Cifelli. “When you visit, you don’t just taste wine, you learn about grape growing, farming, wine making and the local history behind it. It’s a cultural experience and the wine is darn good, too.”

A Wine Enthusiast magazine columnist has declared that Unionville, “belongs on the Mount Rushmore of East Coast wine making.” Unionville Vineyards is celebrating its 25th year in business. “Many of our bottlings are single vineyard wines -- they’re made from grapes farmed at specific properties we manage,” said Cifelli. 

If you asked Cifelli and the managers at Diamond Nation what gives them the most joy in their day-to-day operations, the answers would certainly sound similar.

“Our joy comes from knowing you are part of a team that is striving to make a world class product,” said Cifelli, “and in delivering a world class experience for our guests. That is inspiring. Managing an 89-acre preserved farm has its perks, too. The surroundings are beautiful. You are truly transported when you are here at Unionville.”

Unionville Vineyards is one of only two New Jersey wineries rated 89 points or higher by The Wine Advocate, and has been prominently featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Unionville was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 500 U.S. Wineries in 2017.

Cifelli and his Unionville Vineyards team are continually honing their skills, improving their product and looking for ways to grow, all for the benefit of their clientele.

“We’re constantly growing -- more vines in the ground, more wine in the cellar,” said Cifelli. “We have a brand new tasting bar on Main Street in New Hope, Pa. We will probably open another tasting bar in a hip downtown somewhere in a 50-mile radius during the next five years.” 

Unionville Vineyards’ Tasting Room is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Walk-in tastings, reserved private tastings and group tastings are available. Food, wine and music events are scheduled at Unionville each month.

“Our partnership with Diamond Nation has just begun but it’s been a great start to a great relationship,” said Cifelli. Visit unionvillevineyards.com or call Unionville at 908-866-6529 to make a reservation.