Saturday, January 24, 2015

And The Seasons Change

      When you work in our vineyard, it is impossible to overlook the change of seasons.  Today we experienced our first real snow of the season.  Although our pruning is well underway, we are also busy making our wine in the production facility.  It is so misleading today when you go to the grocery store and see bananas, pineapples and tomatoes even as the snow flies in the vineyard.  Here at Cassel Vineyards we keep our hand on the pulse of the changing seasons.  It's exciting to make our wine from the grapes which we grow in the vineyard.  As the winter passes and our wine rests and tranform in the tanks we choose to let the time and changing seasons impart their changes to the wine.  There are so many modern products which winemakers use to speed things up and transform their wines and hurry them into the bottle so they can maximize the turnover and profits from their product.  
      I can't imagine why anyone would want to change the seasons by hurrying their wines out of the tanks and into the bottle.  The weather will change soon enough, and so will our wines.  Time is our friend and the changing seasons just continue to make our wines better.  The days are getting longer and this Spring will bring our wines to bottle.  Soon, our new 2014 vintage will be available in our fruit and white and rose' wines in the tasting room.  The Summer will bring our concerts and long warm days to sip cool rose' or crisp white as we prune and prepare for our next harvest.  The seasons change and we here at Cassel Vineyards choose to live within the seasons and not hurry them along. Come out and enjoy us on March 14 as we watch the seasons change to Spring in our vineyards.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

1st Annual Hummelstown Winter Fling this Fri.

      This Friday, Jan. 24 from 7-10 on the Hummelstown  Boro square,  join us for the first winter carnival ever held in Hummelstown.  We are excited to take this opportunity to give samples of our Farm Show Award winning wines and our warm, spiced wines.  Its going to be a whole lot of fun with food, drinks, entertainment and music.  We are happy for this opportunity to give and sell our wines to our local friends and neighbors at a time when we would normally be closed for the winter.  Its going to bea great time so dress warm and bring the family out to join us.  See you on the square!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Bit of History from Cassel Vineyards

      I hear the question from our friends, guests and customers all the time, What made you want to to open a winery?  I tell them the truth, my Father said the next generation would need to find a way to support the farm and pay the taxes.  We planted some grapes because we didn't want to continue baling hay and shoveling manure.  Our sister is continuing to raise and race the horses with her family.  
   Another inevitable question, why grapes and wine?  And my mind always goes back to my gold medal award in the 2006 PA Farm Show.  It was 2 years before we planted our first vines and Chris and Greg were making some very good grape wines and I was making my peach meade.  That year the judges really liked our wines at the Lebanon Fair and the PA Farm Show so we were feeling pretty confident.  Little did we know that fair judges and actual wine judges are looking for two different things.
    After 10 years we are starting to get it all figured out.  In other words, the fair judges liked wine that tasted good and drank what the people like.  Wine judges need wine to look, smell and taste refined.  Those are two very different things.  Based on this years results, we seem to have it figured out.  6 wines and 5 medals shows we've come a long way!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Closed for the Season

      Thank you to all our friends and customers who continue to make our adventure in winemaking such a great experience.  At the end of the day, we again increased our sales by almost 1000 gallons this past season.  What is amazing is that we used to say we increased our sales by 100% for our first 4 years!  We started with around 350 gallons and 4 varieties that first year; Chanbourcin, Concord, Blush (Stueben), and Niagara.  Now, 6 years later we can no longer sustain triple digit growth while working our day jobs as teachers.  However, keeping all our customers returning and increasing our growth by 20-30% is just as gratifying.  

      Its been another great year and we look forward to new and exciting things in the upcoming year.  Things like our New deck, a new website, online sales and wine shipping and a gradual expansion of our vineyard so that we can contunue to meet the increased demand without compromising our commitment to grow and produce our own estate wines.  If you have never tried our wines, you'll understand why we want to control our own level of quality by growing our own grapes. In just a few months our fresh, new 2014 vintage will be released and we will be able to ship almost anywhere.  Now we can take it up to the next level.  First, national then the world!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year and Some New News

    For our friends out-of-town who don't read the official Harrisburg on-line news on Pennlive, there was a very nice article today which started our New Year off with some interesting news for our friends and customers.
Read it in the link below.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Here We Go Again

      We took advantage of the great winter? Weather today to begin pruning our vines.  Here are Drew, Zach and David starting on the Vidal Blanc.  With the sunshine and temperatures in the 50's we decided to get started a few days early.  It was just nice to work without being cold in some part of our body.  The boys are all familiar with our pruning procedureso we made good time and finished half of our Vidalby the end of the first day.  Hopefully, the weather will remain nice for tomorrow as we are planning to finish up the Vidal and then begin on the Chardonnay.  If you are reading this and would like to help, we plan to keep on pruning throughout the holiday break.   Anyone is welcome to join is and the lessons are free!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Feature Photographs

      Today Todd Espenshade and I worked in the winery today taking pictures for our new web site.  When we were done he shared a project that he did for his graphics design class with me.  It is a book of his photographs that he used to tell a story.  As you can see by my photos of his pictures, the subject was Cassel Vineyards.  These pictures do not do the book justice because the actual photographs are stunning.  We hope to use his pictures in a video story that you can see on our new web site.  Here are just a few of his photos.