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MIDDLETOWN, NJ – On Friday, January 13, a group of local residents learned how to become vintners at the Vintner’s Circle Winemaking  Shop located in The Fountains Shops, Highway 35 South, Middletown. 

Nestled in a charming courtyard setting, The Vintners Circle Shop evoked an old world setting for a complementary evening of wine tasting and fondu extradinaire.  Hosts were proprietors Don and Mary Gordon, and staffer Bill Normyle.

First time visitors, Ellen and Bruce Rathbon, veteran vintners discovered that they could now make wine an easier way by starting with the juices of the wine flavours from around the world rather than with grapes.  Their first selection will be a kiwi, raspberry wine with an elegant and refreshing taste.  John and Dorothy Zignauskas  were by now veteran vintners and have previously brought friends and a relative to join in their fun pastime.  The range of wine making is from light-bodied and sweet to full-bodied and everything in between, including sparkling wines and dessert wines. 

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from left: Bill Normyle,, Bruce and Ellen Rathbon, John and Dorothy Zignauskas,and Don and Dorothy Gordon

Kim Purcell and John Mascucci, were first time visitors and availed themselves of the wine tasting while learning how to be vintners.  It is not difficult with the Gordons and Bill Normyle giving assistance at each step and the whole process may be done right there in the shop over several weeks.


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Although wine tasting is offered every day,  Open House is held twice each month from 6 PM to 8 PM.


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Avatar of Allan Dean

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...