Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Sunset Toast

      Yesterday evening in the vineyard we had a little gathering of friends.  The sun was setting and we had a special bottle of wine so we offered up a toast to a special member of our group who was missing.
      Lilly Hoffman passed away 2 weeks ago as a result of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  The most tragic thing was that she was only 3 years old.
She would have loved to be with us, because the vineyard was one of her favorite places.  She loved grapes and helped us pick the grapes for the wine we were toasting.  Last year our Late Harvest Vidal which will be released in November was picked with Lilly's help so we affectionately call it Lilly's Wine.  It has an extra special sweetness imparted by her extra sweet little girl.  
      Lilly's grandparents have set up a foundation to benefit research on Childrens Diseases and the Milton S Hershey Medical Center's Childrens Hospital.  Please help us help other children in Lilly's memory.

The Lily Bennett Foundation
C/O Northwest Savings Bank
1048 East Main Street
Palmyra, PA. 17078

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Hershey Band Booster Event at the Vineyard

      Coming up on Sept. 27, Cassel Vineyards will host a Hershey Band Booster Club Event at the Vineyard.  The event was a huge success last year and includes live music, a catered meal and wine tasting all for $25.  The meal is catered by Dafno's Restaurant in Hershey and the Live music features Dave Knott playing jazz music.  This year everything is under the tent so the event will go off rain or shine.  It's going to be a great evening and you can join us by contacting Tonya and Barry Krushinsky at or by calling them at 717-592-8164.  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

3 Weeks to Harvest


      Here are the Chardonnay  grapes in a picture we took last night.  It shows just how far we are behind this year.  Last year we were preparing to pick and everything was ripening as the sugar levels were rising.  However, this year we are just starting to see a rise in the sugar levels so I think it will be 3 weeks until we are ready to pick.  
      The Chambourcin are also starting to show their color but they are also a long way from ripe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fruit is Changing Color

      Its that time of year when every winemaker starts to get excited over the prospects of an imminent harvest.  The change in color of the fruit known as veraison is taking place.  Green fruit that looks unappetizing and small, changes over the course of a few days into beautiful, delicious looking berries.  Thankfully, we finished installing and zipping down bird nets last weekend.  We have enjoyed two hot, dry weeks for the first time this summer.  Suddenly, the vines have stopped growing and are putting their energy into reproduction.  In the next 4-10 weeks the berries will ripen as the seeds harden and mature.  All this is an attempt by the vine to spread its fruit and seeds by means off hungry birds and animals.  That is where we draw the line and plan to intervene.  We want to take those grapes at the peak of ripeness and turn them into your favorite flavor of wine.  Like I said this is the time of year when we start to get excited about the prospects!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fruit Wines


      This is what 1000 lbs. of fresh peaches and 500 lbs. of strawberries look like.  We just finished mixing up our Peach and Honey as well as our Strawberry wine for next year.  The winery has the rich smell of fermenting fruit which we love because it means the little yeast cells are doing their job.  Chris and Greg are working to tweet their strawberry recipe and reduce the amount of ABV (alcohol by volume). I on the other hand have added a little mote honey to boost the ABV of the Peach and Honey while changing to a new tannin to soften the feel of my recipe.  It's little changes like these that make it so interesting when we are experimenting with our batches year after year.  Each year the quality of the fruit presents one changing variable so we have to be very careful that we don't alter our recipes and  change our product completely.  On the other hand the only way to improve is to identify a weakness and improve upon it if possible.  We will know the answer by this time next year!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Little Bit of Main Street

       Yesterday, we worked with a contractor to put in a new driveway to the winery tasting room.  Since we opened last June, the stone drive has become worn and tired.  It had to be fixed so we asked a friend to help us out and in 6 hours we got a new driveway.  Fact is, these are some of the millings that were ground up and removed from the repaving job on Hummelstown's Main Street.  Tomorrow we will get a roller in to pack it all down and by Friday evening when our Music In The Vines resumes our new driveway will be just like Main Street.
      It was nice to see so many visitors taking advantage of our ADA accessible tasting room, rest room, and concert area.  We have had several folks with wheelchairs comment on how easy and accessible everything at our facility is.  Thanks for the compliments!��. We try very hard to share the beauty of our family farm and vineyard with everyone who wants to come and visit.  Stop by and take a look.  We have a full schedule of Friday concerts through the first Friday in September.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Out With the Old and in With the New

     We are almost through our 2012 Stainless Steel Aged Chardonnay with only 3 cases remaining.  We ran a Trifecta special last week selling the remaining 13 cases at a buy 3 get the 4th bottle free promotional discount.  We never expected such an amazing response but we sold 10 cases in 3 days. Get it while it's hot because next week it will return to the regular price as we release our new 2013 vintage.  This is very exciting because 2013 was such an exceptional year for our vines.  The 2013 Chardonnay was prepared using the same sleek, stainless steel profile but our grapes were just bursting with luscious Chardonnay flavored.  The flavores are amazing, and we hope to introduce you to what is sure to be everyone's new favorite wine.  
      Stop by next Friday to get the last few bottles or come in on Saturday and try our new vintage.  The choice is yours and you can't go wrong either way!