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Authentic Wines | Terroir Driven

Named after the land in which the vines are grown and the constant breeze that graces the site, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard was established in 2010 by the Fizyta family with the vision to handcraft terroir driven wines that exhibit a sense of place.

The basic four elements that give life and character to our vines are; earth, air, water and sun. Collectively they create what the French call, “terroir”. In plain English, terroir can be described as a “sense of place”. All of Mother Nature’s elements playing in harmony make our vineyard a magical place, uniquely its own.

Great wine starts in the vineyard. Our belief is that in order to take an authentic and natural approach towards making great wines, we must start with growing quality fruit in a sustainable way. During the winemaking process, we gently guide the wine from barrel to bottle, allowing the wine to reflect its terroir. All of our reds are unfiltered, which allows the wine to showcase its rustic yet elegant nature, true to Catoctin Breeze.

earth

Alluvial soil that eroded over eons and cascaded down from the Appalachian mountains formed a unique hill where our vineyard is situated. This lousy, rocky soil forces the roots of the vine to dig deep, in search of nutrients and water. A stressed vine in search of water and nutrients will focus more energy into fruit production and yield higher quality fruit. Lastly, our steep slope and the heat retaining properties of the quartz deposits in our soil assist in frost prevention during late spring.

air

Higher elevation and our location at the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains provides our site with a constant breeze from Owen’s Gap – day and night. This breeze helps to keep the vines well ventilated, preventing mold formation on the leaves and significantly reducing need for fungicide spraying.

water

Vines need water to grow, but ideally, you want the vine to work hard for its water. Since vines don’t like “wet feet”, it is best for the root systems to go deep into the earth, where they can obtain water and other nutrients needed to sustain healthy growth and quality fruit. Our steep slopes combined with rocky soils allows for superior drainage and greater sustainability.

sun

The morning sun hits our vines right after the sunrise. Unobstructed by trees – the sun quickly dries the morning dew and starts doing its magic. All of our vines are southern and eastern facing, which offers them optimal sun exposure. Sunlight is one of the key elements in ripening fruit.

Minimal Intervention

In addition to Mother Nature’s gifts, another important element is of course our people. Our entire vineyard crew has developed a special relationship with the land by diligently caring for every single one of our 9,000 vines. The pride they take in their work can be witnessed as you pass by the well manicured vines, or it can be experienced in the glass.

In the cellar, our philosophy is one of minimal intervention. Mike Lentini, our winemaker, guides the fruit with a gentle hand and with a style that is simply a logical completion of nature’s work. Our fingerprints are on every single berry that makes its way into the bottle. From every vine pruned, to every fruit cluster picked, we do it all by hand and with pride.

Every bottle produced tells a story of a specific time and place, while every glass enjoyed with friends and family gives us the opportunity to create memories with the ones we love.

 

Pioneers in East Coast Winemaking

“Called Vinification Integrale, the program Lentini makes reference to enhances the optimization of vineyard block selections through barrel fermentation. Voytek Fizyta, a winery partner, and son Adam, the winery’s general manager, saw how the program worked while they were visiting Italy and heard about its popularity among some high-end producers and decided to try it last year on a barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon. “The difference in taste was very noticeable, as the barrel-fermented wine gave the wine a much more integrated feel, more body, and overall more balance,” Adam said. “We held an event with our wine club comparing the two styles, and the barrel-fermented was the unanimous favorite.’” – Wine Industry Network