Plagido’s Winery Review
Address: 570 North 1st Rd. Hammonton,New Jersey 08037.
Phone Number: 609-567-4633
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00
Region: Outer Coastal Plain AVA, New Jersey
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Review Date: 5/26/2013
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
I first visited Plagidos Winery in August 2007, a week after it open to the public. At the time, it was known as Placidos Winery, but would change its name within a year because a winery with the same name exists in Tuscany. The winery is a nondescript, gray building on a quiet street in Hammonton. Hammonton, located in southern New Jerseys Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area, is the epicenter of New Jerseys wine production. If any region of New Jersey looks like French or Italian wine country, this is it.
The winery consists of a tasting room in the front and a larger back room where the wine is made and events are held. Go outside and youll see fourteen acres of well-tended vines and a matching gray house where the owner Ollie Tomasello (no relation to Tomasello Winery) lives with his family. Ollie, a former Atlantic City casino employee is quite down to earth and bubbles with friendliness; its not a surprise that he is also the president of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. Even when Ollie is not around, the winerys family atmosphere and lack of tasting fees make it a popular destination.
The winery is named for Ollies great-grandfather, Placido Tomasello, who immigrated from Italy in the late 1800s and started a farm in Hammonton. For decades, the family grew fruits and vegetables like many small farmers in New Jersey. Since they first settled in Hammonton, the family had always grown a small patch of grapes that they used to make wine for personal consumption. In 1999, Ollie and his father, Ollie Sr., decided to become commercial winemakers and planted nine varieties of grapes.
Plagido currently produces wine using Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Concord, Fredonia, Marquis, Merlot, Niagara, and Vidal Blanc grapes, all of which are estate-grown. Honoring their heritage as a fruit farm, wine is also made from apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, and peaches. Ollie told me that the winery now produces 4,200 cases of wine per year.
On my most recent visit to Plagido, I tried six of their wines Antonio Rosso, Empire, Niagara, Plagidos Choice, Plagido Red, and Vino de Casa. Among the whites, Plagidos Choice was my favorite. The wine is made from the Marquis grape, a seedless white hybrid developed in New York state in 1968. Plagido is the only winery in the state that grows Marquis grapes, which is surprising considering that the wine has the fruity flavor of a Chardonnay, but the crispness of a Pinot Grigio.
Unlike most of the state’s wineries which do better with fruit wines and white wines, Plagido has mastered the reds. Plagido Red and Antonio Rosso were highly satisfying as usual. These mild wines go perfect with Italian food. For diabetics, Plagido makes their Corys Zucchero Esente, a wine made with Concord grapes and a sugar substitute. However, what was truly amazing was their new Empire wine. Strong-bodied but as smooth as silk, this after-dinner sipping wine is among the best red wines that I have ever tasted.
The winery is less than 10 minutes from either the Atlantic City Expressway or Route 206. If you cannot make it to Hammonton, Plagido has a tent or table selling wine at nearly twenty festivals around the state every year. Plagido can also ship to residents of New Jersey and 38 other states that permit wine deliveries.