By: Follow South Jersey Staff
BLACKWOOD, N.J. — Now in its second year, Camden County’s Lakeland Vineyard saw a record harvest this fall.
The vineyard’s second crop of chambourcin grapes had a 400% yield over last year. The county’s vineyard sits on an acre of land and its first crop last year yielded about 1,100 pounds of grapes. This year the county will be harvesting more than 7,000 pounds of grapes from the Sustainability Campus.
“The wine industry here in Camden County has grown immensely in the past couple of years and our Lakeland Vineyard has been a driving force in that growth,” Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said in a press release from the county. “This site has been paving the way for more opportunities in the wine industry, allowing several wineries here in Camden County flourish.”
In 2019, the Board of Commissioners wanted to support an expanding industry in Camden County which was the ever-growing wine making sector. Wine growers were creating jobs, creating a product unique to the county, and creating community through their small businesses. Based on that objective, former fallow open space, that was once used as a makeshift farm, was repurposed into the vineyard and now in year two has had a record harvest.
VineTech, a vineyard establishment and management service headquartered in Bridgeton, was hired by the county to plant and maintain the vineyard when it initially opened. The vineyard is comprised of chambourcin, a variety of grape that is one of the world’s most popular hybrid varieties and is noted for its distinctive dark coloring and herbaceous aroma. This vineyard supports the rapidly growing wine industry in the state and once harvested, the grapes will be put out for bid and sold to the highest bidder.
The Camden County Office of Sustainability in partnership with Camden County College is working to launch a Viticulture Certificate Program through the vineyard. The college’s viticulture program will be designed to prepare Camden County residents to work in this growing industry through an introduction to viticulture, wine marketing and sales, hospitality, winemaking, wine analysis and the science of growing grapes.
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