Monday, August 6, 2007

Renault Wine Tonic

Last week, I toured Renault Winery (72 North Berman Avenue, Egg Harbor Township, 609-965-2111). It's the longest continually running winery in the country. It was even open and doing business during Prohibition. How? It's a fun story:

During the 'dark ages,' Renault got itself a permit to keep making wine for religious and medicinal purposes. This wine went to the churches -- after all, how else were they going to drink the blood of Christ on Sundays if they didn't have wine? Renault also started making a medicinal product called Renault Wine Tonic. It was supposed to sooth an ailing stomach. But it also had an alcohol content of 22 percent -- that's not bad compared to today's wines, which clock in at about nine to 14 percent alcohol. The tonic's label warned that if the tonic was chilled, it would turn into wine. You can imagine what that did for sales.

They don't make Renault Tonic today (though you can see a poster on the tour), but they do make wine, and the grounds also include a golf course, two restaurants and the Tuscany House, which is a gorgeous and romantic spot tucked away from the general noise that is the Jersey shore, but close enough for it to be a vacation spot, which is why I'm writing about it here. That, and because the story of Renault Tonic makes me giggle.

What I'm Listening to: Writer's Block by Peter Bjorn and John.

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