I’ve made a point of visiting all six of the wineries in Cape May County. The fact that I’m getting to Turdo Vineyards and Winery last has nothing to do with their reputation for quality; only that they seem to fly under the radar. While other wineries are advertising live music, food, and festivals, Turdo is quietly making good wines that sell out without all the hoopla.
Turdo Vineyards and Winery was established in 1998 when Sal Turdo purchased five acres of woods in the town of North Cape May, New Jersey. Working as an electrical contractor and licensed electrical inspector in Northern New Jersey, Mr. Turdo began planting the vineyards and building the winery on a part-time basis, commuting to Cape May for long weekends.
The Turdo family chose to set up shop in Cape May because of its proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, creating a microclimate that is perfect for growing vinifera grapes. Grapes cultivated in this climate have several extra weeks of growing season as compared to areas just north and west. The longer growing season allows the grapes a more leisurely ripening process with longer hang time on the vine. Also, Cape May’s sandy soil provides excellent water drainage. As a result, the vines focus their nutrients and energy on the grapes, rather than finding a steady source of water.
The winemakers at Turdo are a father and son team. Father Sal produces the Turis line and son, Luca, makes the DiLuca line. Between the two lines, they produce about 2000 cases of wine per year. All the Turis wine grapes are estate grown on their five acres of vineyards located behind the tasting room. The grapes are harvested by hand at peak maturity starting in mid-September for the white varieties and ending in early November for the reds. After fermentation, the wines are aged in French oak anywhere from a few months to 3 years, depending on the variety.
Turdo Vineyards specialize in old-world style dry wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Bordeaux-style blend, as well as classic Italian varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nero D’Avola, and Sangiovese. They also make a Port wine from Cabernet and Merlot, fortified with Italian grappa.
We arrived at the “enoteca” or tasting room where we sampled five wines from the Turis line (DiLuca wines had sold out). One of the more unusual wines we tasted was the 2020 Turis Arancio “Orange Wine” made from 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Cataratto, and 10% Grillo. Orange wine is made by allowing more contact between the skins and the juice of white grapes. It was light copper colored in the glass with aromas of apple and hazelnut, tropical fruit on the palate, and bright acidity and minerality. Their signature 2020 Turis Nero D’Avalo, aged for 10 months in French oak, was a personal favorite with its currant, fig, and spice notes. The 2020 Turis Pinot Noir was quite complex with layers of cranberry and currants integrated with vanilla and toasted oak.
Wines are for sale by the glass and by the bottle and may be enjoyed on the attractive patio overlooking the vineyards. Light snacks are available for purchase to pair with your wine. For contact information visit Turdo Vineyards and Winery – Cape May, NJ