AWG Correspondent

Charlie Toms

Balic Winery Photos

Balic Winery Review

Regions: Outer Coastal Plain AVA, New Jersey

Reviewed: June 22, 2013 by Charlie Toms
Published: July 10, 2013

Driving near Atlantic City, you’ll see a billboard different than the rest. Instead of trumpeting casinos or night clubs, the black and gold signs advertise Balic Winery. Balic is in Mays Landing which is only a half-hour west of the gambling mecca but seems like it’s a different country. Instead of glitzy casinos, boardwalk kitsch, and crashing waves, Mays Landing is a town of Victorian houses, pine forests, and small farms. The area is in the New Jersey Pinelands, and is part of the Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area which consists of more than 25 Southern New Jersey wineries.

Upon arriving at Balic Winery, you’ll notice a structure that looks like a large farm stand with a seemingly endless vineyard behind it. The building serves as a tasting room and wine production facility, and is operated by Bojan Boskovic, a winemaker originally from Montenegro. The land has a long history of grape cultivation – the vineyard was first planted in the early 1800s by descendants of the original settlers of Mays Landing. Boskovic’s uncle, Savo Balic, bought the 57-acre farm and opened the winery in 1966. Though born in New Jersey, Balic grew up in Europe, and had operated a vineyard near the Adriatic Sea. To escape the Yugoslavian Civil War, Boskovic came to the United States in 1993 to work for his uncle. He has since inherited the winery, and has expanded the variety of wines produced.

The tasting room is spacious but plain. Balic produces over 25 different New Jersey wines, all of which were lined up on the tasting bar with a glass cabinet behind the bar displaying Balic’s awards. The winery utilizes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, Vranac, and Zinfindel grapes. It is the only New Jersey winery, and one of only a handful in the country that produces wine from Vranec, a red grape that is indigenous to Montenegro. Balic also makes fruit wines from almonds, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, mangoes, pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries.

Balic has quite an independent streak; it is not a member of the Garden State Wine Growers Association or any other organization, it has unusually long operating hours, and it refuses to disclose any production statistics. However, the owner is very friendly, quite knowledgeable, and gave me a detailed description of each wine. I tried nine different wines – Alexander the Great, Blackberry, Blueberry, Country Red, Mango, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pomegranate, Red Velvet, and Riesling. Napoleon Bonaparte is based on a wine that was actually consumed by the French emperor. A blend of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, it was dry and strong, and would pair well with salmon or other flavorful fish.

The Riesling was just as dry, and had a very refreshing finish. Country Red consists primarily of Cabernet Franc, and was semi-dry and light-bodied. I could see myself at a barbecue, eating a hamburger, and drinking Country Red. Red Velvet, which is Cabernet Sauvignon blend, was also semi-dry but had a fuller taste. Alexander the Great is made from the Vranac grape, which is known to have been a favorite of the ancient Greek leader. Alexander was drier than the other reds and loaded with tannins. This very masculine wine needs a giant steak or game meat to accompany it.

Boskovic was very eager for me to taste his fruit wines. The blueberry wine was moderately sweet with a smooth finish, whereas the blackberry had a bit tarter taste. I really liked both of these wines since they did not have sickeningly sweet taste or syrupy texture that often plagues berry wines. Mango is Balic’s newest wine and was light and fruity. I could see this wine being served at an outdoor cocktail party in the summer. Last, I tried pomegranate wine, which is Balic’s signature wine. The pomegranate wine has an intense purple color, an amazing sweet and sour flavor, and a crisp finish. This wine could be paired with any dessert, or could be used as an after-dinner sipping wine.

I really enjoyed visiting Balic, a winery that’s a bit different than most and offers some unusual wines. The winery is located on Route 40, about 10 minutes from the Atlantic City Expressway. If you cannot make it to Mays Landing, Balic has four outlet stores in New Jersey. Balic wine is also sold at various farmers’ markets and festivals throughout the state and can be shipped to residents of 39 states that permit wine deliveries.

Address & Contact Information: 6623 Harding Hwy (Route 40) Mays Landing, New Jersey 08330. Telephone: 609-625-2166, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-8:00, Sun 11:00-7:00.

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