PILESGROVE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It's called the Garden State for a reason. And New Jersey's wine industry is rooted in just the right soil to grow rapidly.
"We're one of the last emerging wine destinations internationally," said Devon Perry. "And we have a lot of leadership positions that are now held by women in the industry."
Perry, in fact, is the first female to hold the title of Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association.
And just a few years ago, they formed a subgroup with the title, 'Women in Wine Caucus.'
"We want to open doors up for anybody who's curious about learning how to get involved," said Perry, "Whether it's behind the vines, in the tasting room."
The caucus has grown to include some of the best wine makers, tasters, and industry-shakers that New Jersey has to offer.
One of them is Julianne Donnini, the wine maker within the husband-and-wife-duo that owns Auburn Road Vineyards.
"My husband and I were both lawyers in Philadelphia and we wanted to change our careers," she said. "Then, we saw promise in New Jersey wines and ended up relocating here, buying the land, planting a brand new vineyard."
Just recently, Donnini played a part in bringing New Jersey wines to an international stage. The process started seven years ago when Sally Semeria, a Sommelier Food & Wine Expert from Milan, reached out to bring the taste of small American wineries to Italy.
As a result, the Garden State Wine Growers Association created the "New Jersey Wines to Italy Project," which celebrated an incredible milestone last month.
The partnership debuted in late June 2023 during a Judgment of Princeton International Wine Summit Media Tour. In it, Semeria and her colleague, Davide Gilioli, visited various wineries across New Jersey.
This was followed up by the stateside Jersey Wine Ambassador Reception on June 22.
And it culminated with a trip overseas where Donnini and her husband visited Rome, Italy. There, they shared the flavors of New Jersey wines at the US Ambassador's residence, the Villa Taverna. An estimated 3,500 people were in attendance.
"It was absolutely amazing," said Donnini. "New Jersey, we are an incredible destination for the regional drinker and now this has just opened the whole world to us."
To learn more about the Women in Wine Caucus and The Garden State Wine Growers Association, visit their website.