Sky Acres Winery’s Black River Red wine won Best of Class in the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Three NJ wineries win big at San Francisco wine competition

“Indeed, hybrid grapes can produce wines that evoke suggestions of dark fruits, provocative spice and simulating acidity, as shown by this Black River Red.”

That quote about Sky Acres Winery’s Black River Red wine came from Mike Dunn, a judge in the recent 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a contest that invites wineries from all over North America to enter their wines. Judges taste the wines blind. They don’t know who made the wine or where it was produced. So a Chardonnay from New Jersey can be tasted alongside a Chardonnay from California, and all the judges know is that the wine is a Chardonnay — and that it falls within a certain price range.

Sky Acres, which is in Far Hills, took home a Best in Class award in the Red Blend: Red Native/Hybrid category. The winning 2017 Black River Red, named after the Black River Road that owners Meera and Vijay Singh live on, is produced from estate-grown marechal foch, a hybrid French red wine grape.

“It’s a really nice, well-balanced wine,” says Meera Singh. “I find anyone who tries it loves it. It’s a good wine. End of story.”

Taking home the Best in Class award for this wine – meaning it was the best wine of all the wines submitted in that category – is a big deal for the Singhs. Marechal foch is a difficult grape to work with because it’s very acidic. To be able to produce an award-winning wine from it is impressive. What adds to that impressiveness is the method Sky Acres uses to make wine.

They use 300-gallon plastic bags for fermentation and aging instead of oak barrels or steel tanks. This GOfermenter system, which they developed in 2014, is unconventional. While it doesn’t have the romantic appeal of a cellar full of oak barrels, it’s effective. Sky Acres began winning medals with its very first vintage produced this way.

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