Global Programs
May 2017 Field ​Study
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Facilitating Trade

Student Bloggers:
Caitlyn Ashley, John Cox, Arild Doerge, Mengyuan Fang, Jordan Jensen, Enrica Martey, Sara Murdock, Kaitlyn Pound, Elizabeth Spencer-Berthiaume and Steven Traeger
Jersey students

La Mare Wine Estate Visit​

After out last meeting in Jersey, we had an entire afternoon to ourselves and decided to use that time to visit Jersey’s famous winery: La Mare (“may-er”). Located on the north side of the island, it was about a 40-minute bus ride from Liberation Station in St. Helier.

We arrived for the 2:30 p.m. tour and were joined by two French nationals who put our tour guide on her toes with their wine knowledge. The tour started with the vineyard where they grow six varieties of grapes: three reds and three whites.

Surprisingly, the first vines were only planted in 1972. Our guide explained that from 1797 to the 1940s the estate was a large farm where apples, potatoes, and cauliflower were grown.

During the Nazi occupation and the subsequent rationing of food and other supplies, the estate was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 1968 the Blayney family bought the farm, and decided to make it into a winery.

After a walk through the vineyard, our guide led us to the facility where the grapes are pressed and fermented in large steel vats. For their red wine, “The Bailiwick,” La Mare matures it in toasted barrels from France (which delighted our French companions).

Moving on to the tasting room, we were given samples of the wines we just discussed and because it was national wine day, we were also given a “sparkling wine.” According to our guide, it was essentially champagne though it can only be called “Champagne” if it was made in the Champagne region of France – and our French companions confirmed this as well and were quick to correct if someone misspoke. Sparkling wine or Champagne, it tasted delicious none the less.

​We were then shown the distiller where La Mare creates their famous apple brandy. The process begins with La Mare’s hard apple cider that is poured into a large bright red cognac distiller. It is distilled twice before being stored in oak barrels bought from the United States. The barrels are from Tennessee and were originally used to mature whiskey so the apple brandy picks up all those wonderful spicy and smoky flavors. We were then given samples of La Mare’s apple brandy crème in dark chocolate tasting cups. The crème was like Bailey’s [Irish Cream] but using La Mare’s apple brandy instead of Irish whiskey. It made for a smooth and slightly sweet finish – I nearly bought a bottle myself.

Wrapping up the tour, we were taken through La Mare’s candy and preserve making kitchens. La Mare makes fudge from Jersey dairy products, various chocolates, and Jersey’s famous Black Butter. Black Butter sounds gross and even looks slightly off-key because of its dark color, but it is easy to see why it is famous. Black Butter is actually a heavily spiced apple butter. It’s made from apple pulp (the remains after cider is pressed), spices like cinnamon and licorice, and a touch of hard cider. It’s called Black Butter because it is black and it spreads like butter – though no dairy products are used in creating it. Definitely worth trying if you ever come across it.

After the tour, we stayed and drank several glasses of wine and ate a small dinner at the estate’s restaurant. Some of us chose to walk the grounds where we came across the apple orchards in full bloom and a few miniature ponies.

Over all, it made for a very serene and beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of St. Helier.


winery signFront entrance of the wine estate
Jersey wine barrelsA few of the barrels that are used to age the wine before bottling
Winery GroupIt was a beautiful day at the winery that the whole group enjoyed