Julianne Donnini, the Winemaker:
Julianne Donnini is co-owner and winemaker at Auburn Road. Her winemaking career began the traditional way – with a degree in literature from St. Joseph’s University and a law degree from Villanova Law School. She practiced law for ten years in Philadelphia specializing in commercial litigation – both living and working in the city. A long way from life in the city, Julianne is now the mother of two teenage sons, an entrepreneur, and a self-taught winemaker with a passion for creating the high-quality wine which is the centerpiece of the agri-tourism experience at Auburn Road. Hers is an old world style – small batch fermentation, gentle use of oak, and a keen sense of balance as a frame to present the beauty of the fruit.
Meet the Vineyard:
We currently cultivate 23 total acres of grapes over two distinct lots:
- The Auburn Road Vineyard, which surrounds the Enoteca, is comprised of approximately 10 acres which includes the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Chambourcin
- The Woodfield Vineyard is located a mile north on Sharptown-Auburn Road. It is approximately 13 acres and on it we grow the following varieties: Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio.
The oldest of the vines were planted in 2003 and some are as young as 3 years old. Much of the vineyard has been established for 5 years or more and is in the prime of its grape producing life. We have two very good sites that are very different in terms of soil composition and grade. Our climate is among the best in New Jersey as we are within 10 miles of the Delaware River to the west and 50 miles of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. This has a mellowing influence on our weather such that it is rarely exceedingly hot or cold. We are learning about the nuances of each lot and are beginning to understand better what out vineyards are capable of and what varieties grow best and in what locations.