Maine’s unique terroir

Grapes can, and are, grown all across the world in latitudes much further north and south than Lincolnville, Maine. But can they be cultivated well? Can you produce quality fruit consistently with the right balance for making great wine? Even with Maine’s unique terroir and ever-changing weather we believe the answer to those questions is yes.

Cellardoor Winery, nestled in the valley between Cameron and Levenseller Mountains in Lincolnville, Maine, is about four miles inland from Penobscot Bay.  Our 5,000 vines of North Ameican cold-hardy hybrids, planted on  10-12″ of good fertile topsoil which  turns to heavy clay, are surrounded by a forest with an active wildlife population. Netting is essential to protect our ripening fruit from being consumed by everything from bears, moose, deer, to gophers and songbirds. Animals and humans alike make the most of the short growing season in Maine. The challenge of growing grapes in Maine is also what makes our vineyard unique and we believe the spirit of meeting those challenges head on and overcoming them is present in every glass poured.

At Cellardoor there’s a sign that hangs above our door that says, “Transcend Circumstances. Sense possibility.”  That’s what we do here. We find the potential in everything and everyone and we shape it to become a better winery, vineyard, company and team.. Not only do we want to set the bar for what quality and craftsmanship looks like from a premier winery and vineyard, but we also want every bottle to represent our absolute personal best, and every year we strive to go even further. Our goal is to always exceed expectations.

From grape to glass

In 2008, when we started replanting the vineyard, we turned to the University of Minnesota, one of the top wine grape research programs in the United States that specialize in high-quality, cold-hardy, and disease-resistant grape varieties.

Today, we grow three varieties of U of M hybrids: Marquette, our only red and our oldest vines which are essential to our sparkling rose’ Vendange, and whites, Frontenac Blanc and Frontenac Gris. We also grow L’Acadie Blanc, another white variety developed in Ontario and considered the premier grape of Nova Scotia.

The vines on our 30 miles of trellis are cane trained and we practice the Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) method of trellising.  We utilize double trunk training for vine longevity and increased options for renewal growth each season and aim to produce 3 tons of fruit per acre.

In 2012, we were able to harvest the first fruit from our vineyard, which yielded 4.5 tons of grapes and became Vendange, a sparkling rosé, and our very first estate-grown wine. The following year, in 2013, we harvested 6.85 tons of grapes and were able to produce both a sparkling rosé and a sparkling white, a Blanc de Blancs.

The grower and Makers

None of what happens in the vineyard or winery could be done without a strong team. The tireless efforts of our vineyard crew, Allen Weaver, Joe Bria and KC Maguire, make all this possible. Their dedication to become real students and experimenters of viticulture is what allows this to succeed and improve season after season. The winery team, Aaron and CC Peet, Daryl Emery, Jared Peet and Ben Hamel, exemplify the dedication, skill and self-demand for quality that is necessary to turn quality grapes into amazing wine. The next time you’re enjoying one of our wines, remember the people that got it to your glass.  From the fields to the bottle, they are all artists.

Wyatt Philbrook, Vineyard Manager

Our Grapes

Marquette is a cousin of Frontenac and grandson of Pinot noir first developed in 1989 by the University of Minnesota. Marquette is a new era cold-hardy hybrid, representing traditional vinifera in ways that prior hybrids did not. Marquette does exhibit cherry and black currant flavors with aromas typical of hybrids however it tends to be much more complex. Integrating notes of blackberries, pepper, plum, tobacco, leather, and spice. Marquette is what gives our Vendange its distinct garnet tone.

Frontenac Gris is a grape cultivar with bronze-gray (“gris” in French) colored fruit suitable for white wine production. Frontenac gris was originally identified as a sport of Frontenac, a cultivar with black fruit that was introduced from the University of Minnesota grape breeding program in 1996. Frontenac gris wines present aromas of peach and apricot with hints of enticing citrus and tropical fruit. A brilliant balance of fruit and acidity that creates lively, refreshing wines.

Frontenac Blanc is a white-fruited mutation of Frontenac and Frontenac gris that has become known as ‘Frontenac blanc’. These Frontenac blanc lines lack pigment and make white wine.

L’Acadie Blanc is a white Canadian wine grape created in 1953 by grape breeder Ollie A. Bradt in Niagara, Ontario at the Vineland Horticultural Research Station. L’Acadie Blanc is considered the premier grape of Nova Scotia.

PLANTING HISTORY

2008 & 2009 – The Cellardoor team re-planted five acres of the vineyard in 2008 and 2009 with cold-hardy hybrid grapes known to perform well in our region and climate: Marquette, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Traminette, Adalmina, LaCrescent, Seyval.

2010 – Planted Cayuga

2013 – Replaced Traminette and Adalmina with L’Acadie Blanc.

2015 – Ripped up: Seyval, LaCrescent, and Cayuga because of poor vine health. Seyval and Lacrescent were replaced with Frontenac Blanc (approx 1,000 vines). Cayuga will be replaced with more L’Acadie Blanc (approx 700 vines) in 2017.

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