Cassel Vineyards Review
Address: 53 Shetland Drive Hummelstown,Pennsylvania 17036.
Phone Number: 717-533-2008
Tasting Hours: Mar 15-Dec 20: Fri-Sun 12:00-6:00
Reviewer: Joanne Dunne
Review Date: 11/6/2015
Reviewer: Joanne Dunne
The Place:  When visitng the Hershey area, Cassel Vineyards is a must visit for any wine lover. While the Pennsylvania winery has a Hummelstown address, it is actually within three miles of the major attractions that the Hershey area has to offer; the vineyards are just a short drive from the amusement park. Travel down a few winding roads and you will find yourself in a peaceful refuge with WINE! It’s a quaint, smaller tasting room with a wrap-around deck and animals such as guineas, peacocks and small horses. The Cassels began offering tastings in 2009, though the farm has been in existence much longer. Sitting on a farm of 138 acres, the tasting room’s atmosphere is relaxing, and it’s easy to forget that you are so close to a large tourist attraction/shopping town.
The Experience:  On the Saturday that my wine tasting partner and I decided to visit, there was a local event going on called the Cornucopia Quest, where one price provides access to several wineries, and upon entering, the smaller tasting room was packed. They even opened an adjacent room to offer a makeshift table for tastings. The atmosphere was joyful, and while I could see that the pourers were very attentive to their customers, we knew there would be quite a wait, so we opted to visit on another day and we were so glad we did!
On the following Friday, we were treated to a wonderful tasting that made it well worth the trip. While the tasting room is smaller than others in the area, the service and attention is absolutely huge in heart and size. The winery is the epitome of the old adage that less is more. For $3, you may leisurely sample up to five of their wines from a list of nine – they have up to eighteen wines overall. Our pourer was a wonderful woman (forgive my forgetfulness of her name) who knowledgeably escorted us through the process. It was a much more personal experience than at some other Pennsylvania wineries, and we didn’t want to leave. After our tasting, we each purchased a glass of wine to share at one of the high tables, simply enjoying the cozy atmosphere. While a bit too cold to go out on the patio, we agreed that we would come back to relax and enjoy a glass on it in warmer weather.
The Wines:  Now, onto the wines! Cassel Vineyards of Hershey produces six varieties of grapes (Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Concord, and Niagara) and their wines range in price from $12 for the Sweet Concord to $20 for the Chocolate Ruby Royale Port. The Chocolate Ruby Royale is an indulgent and sweeter-than-expected wine, to which my fellow taster pursed his lips and said he definitely could not drink more than a glass of the decadence I’d say that’s a thumbs up! The Cassels produce about 85% of their wines from their own grapes with the rest coming from nearby Pennsylvania vineyards. The Chardonnay ($15) was a perfect start to the tasting and very crisp. Pretzels were offered, and each glass was properly washed between tastings something many wineries don’t bother doing. As mentioned earlier, the service was spectacular, and our pourer was genuinely interested in our opinions of each wine. On the day that we opted not to stay due to the large crowds, I still noticed that same attention from the Cassel Vineyard staff they were not rushing anyone and seemed to always offer a quality tasting. I can’t gush enough about it enough. The other white offered is a Vidal Blanc ($15), and its semi-sweetness was pleasant. My particular favorites were the Rose wines. The Red Silks Rose ($15) was on the sweeter side, and I wanted to take home a case. The tasting room offered four red wines from which to choose, the Chambourcin ($16), the Cabernet Franc ($20), the Winners Circle Red ($18), and the sweeter Concord ($12). All were delightful, and visitors are practically guaranteed to find something to their liking.
Overall, Cassel Vineyards is a relaxing treat, a wonderful place to visit, and on the cozier side of wine tasting rooms. It should be noted that locally they were voted Finest Winery by readers of PennLive. Cassel Vineyards also offers loyalty cards. For a small annual fee, tastings are free and discounts are given on wine cases. I enjoyed my visit there, and I have no doubt that anyone who visits will walk away very pleased with both the wine and the experience.