The Home Stretch

 Chambourcin grapes as they ripen. 

Chambourcin grapes as they ripen. 

       We are usually picking our grapes this week but things are a little different this year.   Our Chambourcin are in their final stage of ripening up.  However, it is our Concord and Chardonnay that usually ripen up first.  Our Concord should be ready in about 3 weeks but rignt now we are concentrating on our Chardonnay.  As you can see below, they are nearly ripe. 

 Chardonnay grapes on the verge of being ripe. 

Chardonnay grapes on the verge of being ripe. 

   We will begin testing the grapes for their sugar level, Total Acidity and pH this week and keep everyone informed about their progress.  Hopefully, Sept. 17 will see our first harvest day.  I will keep you informed.

New Releases and an Open House Sat. Sept. 3

Our addition to the original building is now complete and ready for use.  We added a production and storage facility to our winery because things were growing too fast and we were running out of room.  We have already begun several batches of new wine so stop out this Saturday and take a peek inside to see our new expansion.  We are very excited and hope you like the improvements.

 A view of the new addition shortly after completion

A view of the new addition shortly after completion

To celebrate the new building and the beginning of the Fall Harvest 2016, we are also releasing two new vintages for everyone to try.  The first is our estate grown 2015 Chardonnay finished for 3 months in French Oak.  The new Chardonnay is a bit fuller and richer in taste with hints of vanilla and caramel and a pleasant sweet note in its otherwise dry profile.  We are really enjoying it on these hot Summer evenings and now that the Winners Circle White is officially sold out this is my new favorite white wine.  

The second new release is our Royale Ruby Port.  This beautiful port is similar to our Chocolate Ruby Royale Port without the chocolate.  It has a beautiful taste of fresh berries and a nice finish with very little hint of its 18% ABV.  We think the two ports will make a beautiful holiday gift for someone who deserves a little something special this year.  Ask us for a gift box ifyou plan to pass our ports on to a friend.

We hope you can come out and join us this weekend.   Friday night our concert with Modern Blue (Jazz) will provide you with the last chance to enjoy Blazing Swine BBQ for this year.  Saturday, we celebrate with Matt Wenger as he makes his final appearance of the season at Cassel Vineyards from 4-6:00.  It's going to be an eventful holiday season so we hope you can make it out to join us this weekend. 

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Sweet Corn on the Sweetarrow Wine Trail

 Sweet corn ice cream was a big hit! 

Sweet corn ice cream was a big hit! 

 Last Sunday the sweetarrow wine trail celebrated our sweet corn trifecta.  There was a free shuttle to carry customers from Cassel Vineyards to Crosswinds and on to Springate.  Each winery provided a sweet corn item for their customers to enjoy.   

  At Cassel Vineyards we were going to serve chicken corn soup but at the last minute with the temperature soaring to 94 degrees, we decided to change things up and serve cold sweet corn ice cream instead of soup.  The sweet corn ice cream was simply a variation on vanilla flavor with 1 cup of fresh creamed sweet corn.  It is a common flavor at some Mexican food stores and restaurants.  Although there were many sceptics upon arrival, the general consensus was that the sweet corn flavor was perfect for the 90+ degree weather.  Watch for our next Sweetarrow Trail event on Sept. 11 with Italian Food and Fun.  Hope you can make it!

Grapes Undergoing Veraison

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   Here we are again at one of the most interesting and important times of the year.  The grapes are changing from green to purple.  Veraison happens every year as the grape plant begins to send sugar and nutrients up from the roots to the berries.  We have put the nets over all of the vines to keep the birds from eating the fruit.  For the last two mornings I have watched a flock of crows checking the ripeness of the fruit.  Sorry guys, its too late the nets are on.  Its a great feeling to know that our grapes are safe and getting ripe under our bird nets.

     Stop out and check out the grapes if you are in the area.  We are starting to think about harvest so keep watching our facebook for our harvest festivals in Sept. and October. 

Bird Netting on Early This Year

 

As a result of the hot, dry weather, our grapes on the verge of changing color, so we decided to begin putting on the bird netting early this year.  You never know what the weather has to hold and now the weatherman is talking about more rain this Friday.  I'm not complaining about the weather because it isn't worth complaining about something you have no control over anyway.  At least we are continuing to get the hot weather.  The sun has been out and the rain has not caused any fungus problems.  We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly.  So far our crop load looks great.  I only hope that we don't have any unfortunate surprises everything is stacking up to be a great vintage year.

 

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Community Pig Roast

A $20 donation to the fire company gets you a delicious pork dinner, 4 hours of great music and a free wine tasting.  Plus you support a volunteer organization that works hard for our community.

This Sat. From 4:00-8:00 Cassel Vineyards is holding a fundraiser with the Unon Deposit Volunteer Fire Company in the form of a pig roast.

 

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Lessons from Italian Winemakers

   Mark this year down to remember to try our 2016 Cab Franc, chambourcin and Winner Circle Red in 2 years.  Even before we left, Chris and I began making some changes in the vineyard.  Here is a picture of our Cab. Franc with post extenions.  Our vines can now grow 2 feet taller on the top wire of our split canopy (Scott-Henry) trellis system. This is going to allow our fruit to more fully ripen in a more uniform manner.  Here is a picture of the vines with the post extensions.

 Cab Franc a full 7 feet tall

Cab Franc a full 7 feet tall

   The next thing we plan to adjust is the amount of fruit we allow each vine to ripen.  Upon my return I immedietely began dropping fruit on our Chambourcin like we do every year.  This year I did it throughout the vineyard.  We plan to do the same to our Cab Franc as soon as the fruit begins to change color. 

 

   The final change we wii impliment this fall is in the wine making.  It involves the pressing of our cab franc grapes. Up until 2016 we have maximized production by using maximum hydolic pressure to press our skins, pulp and seeds after primary fermentation  This year we plan to separate out the free run andlight press from the final press using hyrolic pressure.  

 Our Chardonnay after we completed the tucking, taping  

Our Chardonnay after we completed the tucking, taping  

   It will be great year for our dry red drinkers in two years so remember to mark this vintage on your calendar. 

Florence Days 11 & 12

  The trip is winding down and I can't tell you how sad it is. I am sitting in the Rome airport waiting for Chris and Colton after their 38 hour Odyssey from Harrisburg to Greensboro, NC to Charlette, NC to London, to Rome.  Welcome to Italy guys, without your luggage of course! Now relax and enjoy your vacation while I head home.  I feel their pain so I am drinking this bottle of awsome Chianti to wash away OUR pain. 

 The house wine here tastes like $25 bottles back home! 

The house wine here tastes like $25 bottles back home! 

  We left Firenza (Florence) today at 12:00 and of course The Children and Becky all wanted to come  home with me as you can see from the anguish in their eyes. We walked to the train station this morning to get their tickets for a day trip to Venizia tomorrow after I am gone. 

 

 Our apartment in Florence on the morning of my departure. 

Our apartment in Florence on the morning of my departure. 

  My consolationwas my trip to the Laurentian Library and Michelangelo's Medici Chapel before I left town.   20 uears ago I wanted to see his staircase, chapel and tombs more than any other landmark.  This year I was nearly shut out again.  Today I saw and it was everything I expected and more ($160 more and 4 different tickets)!

 

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  Yesterday we went to the Uffizi and I was able to see some of the greatest pieces of art which I studied in college and taught students about in my high school humanities class.  The top 3 were.. 

 

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Love it or hate it those are my choices.... Wrestling, wine and bathing beauties I felt the connection to these 3 paintings.  Unfortunately none had anything to do with Florence or the Renaisance. 

 

We also visited the Boboli garden at the Piti Zpalace where we took a parting shot for the hood of Hummelstown.  Florence has nothing on you Hummelstown!  We have the same Top 3  LD Wrestling, Cassel Vineyard's Wine and Hummelstown Pool......?

 

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Florence Day 9 & 10

Traveled up through the beautiful Tuscan countryside yesterday.  We drove through a large chunk of the Chianti Classico region (DOCG) and enjoyed the sights of so many hilltop villages and miles and miles of vineyards.  The weather is hot and the Sangiovese vines are growing like crazy.After a trip through the city to see some sights and taste some food, we ended up cooking our own meal in our new little studio appartments on the banks of the Arno River.  After dinner Becky and I climbed to the Piazzo de Michaelangelo to watch the sunset. 

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We drove 50 min. South of Florence to the heart of The Chianti region to a small town called Greve in Chianti.  We visited Andrea at Panzanello Vineyard for a tour, lunch and tasting.  The experience was very interesting for the kids as Andrea showed us each step of the winemaking process and then, after barrel samples, we tasted all his wines.

 

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The experience was great.  We drank his 7 wines and enjoyed every one from white and rose' to Chianti Reserve and 2 super Tuscans.  We really love the sangiovese merlot Super Tuscans as well as the 100% Sangiovese that make up the Chianti, 

 

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We also toured a couple of little churches before dinner. 

 

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