Cree Wine Company opens at Hunterdon NJ Perryville Inn
The Perryville Inn is a brick-built Hunterdon County history book. For over two centuries, the stately structure of Union Township has served as a tavern, private home, American diner, and, for 2.5 years, Oink & Moo BBQ and Brew.
Its most recent use couldn’t be better suited to food and wine processing in Hunterdon County, which recently opened up farm-to-table restaurants, artisan cheese makers, wineries, markets and Moreover.
On November 10, Garden State’s sole master of wine, Christopher Cree, opens Cree Wine Company, a wine bar and event space, in the historic red brick building.
“For a while, I wanted to create a place where you could taste and learn wine in a fun, relaxed, relaxing and non-snobby environment,” said Cree, a Clinton resident who has worked in the wine industry for over. 40 years old. “Then there was this nice 1800s farmhouse that was empty here and it was like, ‘Yeah, this is the place.’ “
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The Cree Wine Company calendar will be filled with wine tastings, classes and dinners. The bottles are available to take away or delivery. A semi-private event space is open for corporate events, showers and special occasions.
A place for a drink with a lush view is not uncommon in Hunterdon County, which has five wineries that feature wines made locally from grapes grown just steps from the tasting room. But at Cree Wine Company, visitors can taste 50 wines by the glass or by tasting, and 400 by the bottle.
“We have a collection of wines ranging from small family estates to the best wineries around the world, which makes us very different from local wineries that offer their own wines that they make themselves,” Cree said. “I personally select and research each wine we sell. Our goal is to create a new way of tasting, learning and experiencing wine. “
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While wine is the center of attention inside the so-called “Brick Tavern,” as the Perryville Inn is often referred to, the Cree Wine Company will also have a light fare menu. Early items include cold cuts, salmon tartare, grilled leeks, charred octopus, and Sicilian fried chicken. The menu will change at least once a month.
“There is so much abundance here when it comes to produce and cheesemakers and wherever possible we will source our food locally,” Cree said. “There’s all this outbound trade in the country that’s happening. here and people come from the east and spend the afternoon. It has grown quite a bit since I’ve been here.
Everything will be served in a now modern farmhouse that has undergone a million dollar renovation, including floor-to-ceiling windows. The warm colors used help create an “elegant yet comfortable” aesthetic, Cree said.
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Visitors enter the 7,000-square-foot space through the 14-seat wine bar, featuring a large farmhouse table next to one of the old fireplaces at the Perryville Inn. It’s the home of walk-in tastings, which flows into the 23-seat lounge with benches and low tables, located next to another brick fireplace.
The 60-seat neighbor wine studio will be the location for classes, dinners and private events. It opens onto an outdoor patio with 30 seats accompanied by a gazebo. Upstairs there is another private event space.
The basic facade of the Perryville Inn, its six fireplaces and some of the original wide-plank pine floors will be exactly as residents of Hunterdon County remember it.
The inn first opened in 1813 along the Philadelphia stagecoach route in eastern New Jersey. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was named after Commodore Oliver Perry’s naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.
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The inn was moved a few miles from its original location in 1960 to make way for Interstate 78, and has been located at 167 Perryville Road ever since.
Just as the Perryville Inn had to move, so did Cree.
Inspired after a trip to Europe after graduating from high school, Cree’s life’s work has been in wine. He worked in wine retailing, importing, consulting and education, and also owned two wine shops in central Jersey. He traveled the world tasting and learning about wine.
In 1996, he became the 13th American to pass the Master of Wine exam from the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine. Today, there are 419 Masters of Wine in the world, 60 of which are in North America.
“I started my wine career in Flemington working in a wine and liquor store,” Cree said. “Hunterdon is home.”
Go: 167 Perryville Road, Union Township; 908-200-7772, creewineco.com.
Jenna Intersimone has been a staff member of USA Today Network New Jersey since 2014, after becoming a blogger turned journalist following the creation of her award-winning travel blog. To get unlimited access to his food, drink and pleasure stories, please register or activate your digital account today. Contact: [email protected] or @JIntersimone.