The William Heritage estate located in Mullica Hill, New Jersey provides a special place for growing wine grapes. The vineyards enjoy a unique location on the elevated western edge of southern New Jersey’s coastal plain. This region is specifically known as the Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area (AVA), one of the warmest locales in the Mid-Atlantic region, a key for growing fully-ripe, richly-flavored grapes.

Weather Patterns

The weather patterns in Southern New Jersey share some common similarities to Bordeaux, France.  These unique weather patterns provide William Heritage estate vineyards with a favorable environment for grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Additional grape varieties that flourish on this site including Chardonnay, Syrah, and Chambourcin, which is a dark-colored, richly-textured French-American hybrid grape that is often referred to as the “East Coast Red Zinfandel.”

Climates here are influenced by the maritime effects of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. This contributes to the long growing season which spans 190 to 217 freeze free days per year. Spring frosts that could damage buds or flowering are rare. Many of the vinifera varieties which are too cold sensitive to be grown in much of the mid-Atlantic region can be grown here since the USDA hardiness zones encompassed by the AVA range from zone 6B, 7A through 7B. Southeastern New Jersey vineyards are characterized by relatively flat or low hills and sandy or sandy loam soils. The well-drained soils with low to moderate fertility are quite favorable to grape growing.

Low environmental impact methods for controlling weeds & insects are applied. Time-tested techniques are used for vine pruning, cluster positioning, canopy management & yield control, which are all important steps in raising top-quality grapes.

Vineyard Sites

There are currently 60 acres of vineyards planted in four distinct areas on the William Heritage estate. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Chardonnay are planted in rocky, well-drained soils on the north side of busy Route 322 in what was once a gravel pit.

On the lower side of the estate, near the William Heritage tasting room facility, are two small vineyards, one planted to Chardonnay & Cabernet Franc,½ acre each, and another, near a large irrigation pond, planted to Chambourcin.

The “other half” of the estate faces southward, sloping downhill from Harrisonville Road that essentially bisects the property. This angled southern exposure allows maximum capture of summer sunlight for the best possible ripening of wine grapes.

Along this H-ville Slope are planted blocks of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Sauvignon Blanc. Finally, below the winery, near a gently sloping pasture often grazed by American Indian painted horses, is planted a two acre block of Chambourcin in what is now called the Painted Horse Vineyard.