While still a fairly young business, Cassinelli Winery and Vineyards has already created a profound and distinguished name for itself. Founded in 1998, the business really started to take off in 2002. Now, just eight short years later, it produces an impressive assortment of wine varieties, including Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, Sangiovese, and Malbec.
For Al Cassinelli, owner and founder of the winery, an interest in harvesting and winemaking sprouts from his strong Italian background and heritage. Although Cassinelli and his wife Jennifer founded the winery, his grandfather—who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1946—sparked his interest in the wine business.
“He had a big influence on me—on business and wine,” says Cassinelli. “I wanted to farm and be able to grow something that could be turned into a valued added product.”
With a total of 13 acres planted and 720 plants per acre, it is clear that Cassinelli will continue to expand the breadth of wine varieties and flavors available. Currently, only the mature Chardonnay and Merlot plants have been producing, but Cassinelli plans for other varieties to come on line by next year. Among the wines available at Cassinelli Winery, Cassinelli highlights the Chardonnay as his wine of choice.
“I prefer the Chardonnay. It really wants to grow here on the shore and the wine is very nice.”
While Maryland is among one of the newer states to enter the winemaking industry, Cassinelli comments that many winemakers in the area do their part to contribute to the growing industry, showing enthusiasm and interest in the success of Maryland wine.
“As a young startup industry trying to find its feet and direction, we have a lot of producers who are genuinely concerned about putting Maryland on the map with quality wines,” he comments.
Seeing as how the industry continues to thrive, the time and effort Cassinelli contributes to his winery and products is well worth the endeavor. For him, the rich and luxurious nature of the business proves to be a rewarding process.
“The most rewarding aspect of owning a winery is actually working with the vineyard all year to get it to produce quality grapes, then turning them into a nice wine,” he cites. “Nothing beats walking through the vineyard with a glass of wine from the grapes that you personally grew.”
Thanks to Al Cassinelli and his love for the winemaking industry, Maryland will continue to produce exemplary and quality wines in its own backyard.