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 American 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 look 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.

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’ Bulles Rose, 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.

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.

Highlights

2012

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 we now call Bulles 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.

2017

The 2017 vintage broke records for fall temperatures in Maine with October clocking in as the warmest on record. This prolonged summer-like weather allowed for extended hang time – naturally dehydrating the grapes and concentrating the sugars and flavors for our late harvest Frontenac gris. This harvest became our first Estate Grown dessert wine, Late Harvest Frontenac Gris, where tropical aromas meet Maine grit; where body, sweetness, and acidity united as one.

2018

Throughout the summer and early fall, the 2018 growing season was typical for Maine albeit a bit hot and humid. For the second vintage in a row, we left our Frontenac gris and Frontenac blanc grapes on the vine for extended hang time with the expectation that we would make a late harvest dessert wine. When harvest time came, however, New England logged one of the coldest Novembers on record. Seizing the possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a true Ice Wine, we assembled a picking team and early on the frigid morning of November 15, harvested frozen grapes off the vines, which became Maine’s very first Ice Wine!

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