Meet the Winemaker: Katie DeSouza at Casanel Vineyards

The Winemaker
Katie DeSouza has been producing wine for Casanel for four years; she and her family have been operating the vineyards and winery since its inception in October 2008. In addition to winemaking, DeSouza is the vineyard manager and assistant manager of the tasting room.

“I've gained my wine knowledge the best way possible, via on-the-job training, as well as (fortunately) being guided by Viticulturist Lucie Morton and Bordeaux winemaking consultant Katell Griaud,” she says. “Encouraged by my family, I completed WSET Level 2 with distinction in 2015 and hope to further my studies.”

“There's only one way Virginia will be internationally recognized as a legitimate grape-growing and wine-making region: we must grow our own grapes. Great wine starts in the vineyard, and my goal is to prove the beauty and individuality that is the Virginia landscape, via elegant, balanced, expressive terroir-driven wines.”.

A Word of Wisdom
“Wine is just as alive as you are and is only as great as the passion and effort you put forth into your vineyard and cellar.”

The Winery
Established October 2008, Casanel Vineyards and Winery's main focus centers on passion for cultivating our estate vineyards, as well as an emphasis to produce small lot, craft wines. Located in the Middleburg AVA, the surrounding terroir provides the perfect setting to achieve a signature winemaking style and flavors.

“We pride ourselves on providing a truly beautiful experience in our tasting room, one that is reflected in our quiet, adult ambiance, tranquil setting amidst the Catoctin ridge and educational approach to tastings,” DeSouza says. “Being family-owned and -operated allows us to maintain our boutique-style approach not only in our production but also in our tasting room setting.”

​Casanel produces two distinct styles of pinot gris, one chardonnay, one dry rosé, four dry reds (a Bordeaux-style blend, cabernet sauvignon, carménère and petit verdot), one sweet white wine and one port-style dessert red wine.

During the fall, the sparkling norton, Red Spark 2014 Carménère is released for wine club members.

2015 José Rosé:
A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, carménère and cabernet franc, our dry rosé captures the essence of refreshing summer flavors.

2014 K2 Red Blend: cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, carménère and petit verdot: blended for balance and restraint to deliver exquisite notes of fruit, chocolate and toast.

NV The Full Nelson Port-Style Norton: Named for my father; The Full Nelson exudes weighty expressions of dark red fruits, baking spice and chocolatey undertones.

Accolades and Awards
Best Tasting Room, Virginia Wine Lover magazine.
-2014 Carménère: Gold, 89 points, 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
-2014 Carménère: Gold, 2016 Virginia State Fair.
-2014 Chardonnay: 86 points, Wine Enthusiast.
-2014 Chardonnay: Silver, 2015 Virginia Governor's Cup.

Casanel Vineyards & Winery
17956 Canby Rd., Leesburg
Contact winery for days and hours of operation.

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