When I write about wine, it always helps to have a glass nearby for sips of inspiration. Right now, I have the 2020 Adagietto from Catoctin Breeze Vineyard in Thurmont, Maryland. Thanks to my membership in their Catoctin Cru wine club, I have plenty of Catoctin Breeze wine at my fingertips. The Adagietto is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. It was in my February wine club selection and I am loving the bright, juicy cherry flavors that soften into a chocolate finish. So I’ve got my computer, a glass of wine, and a kitty in the window…all I need for a perfect afternoon of writing.
Do I have a favorite wine from Catoctin Breeze? Well, I’m pretty happy about this Adagietto at the moment. The 2019 Estate Cabernet Franc is also a great wine if you can get it. Over the summer, I was totally into their Albarino. My favorites change with the seasons and that suits me just fine. Catoctin Breeze produces dependably delicious wines with new surprises around the corner throughout the year as new vintages are released.
I first visited Catoctin Breeze when they had just opened to the public in 2013 and we tasted wines in the small barn that now serves as storage and a stage for live music. A lot has changed since my initial visit, but it hasn’t lost that comfortable, personal charm that we first experienced.
Catoctin Breeze was founded in 2010 by Voytek and Alicia Fizyta. The Fizyta family fled from Communist Poland and arrived in America in 1981. You can read the inspiring story of their life journey on the vineyard’s website. After their children were grown, they decided to turn their family’s sights to winemaking.
One of the things I most appreciate about Catoctin Breeze is that the Fizytas carefully selected the land in Thurmont for the grape growing potential of the terroir. The rocky soil and steep hillside provides drainage and lots of sun exposure for ripening; red grapes on south facing and white grapes on east facing slopes. The consistent breeze along the foothills provides good airflow for the vines.
I have been there bright and early to see the beauty of the morning haze in the foothills. One of the perks of joining the Catoctin Cru Club is the invitation to help with the grape harvest. It means a lot to know that I contributed even a tiny amount of effort to the wine. The next vintage of Syrah will be very special to me.
It is clear that this is not just a business for the Fizytas, but a way of life. On any given day, the family can be found enjoying food and wine at one of the tables along with their guests.
Seating outdoors is first come, first serve, and there are plenty of tables scattered around the lawn, under a shaded pergola, and along the trees. You can also bring your own chairs and/or blanket and claim a spot on the grass. This is a great place to spend an afternoon sipping wine surrounded by rural beauty in a totally laid-back, casual atmosphere.
During the chilly fall and winter months, you can reserve a personal fire pit. With an advance reservation and a $20 fee, they will set you up with firewood and seating around the fire.
Bring your own picnic or enjoy the food truck of the day (weekends). There is live music on weekends and special events throughout the year. Guided tastings are available inside the tasting room. The Vigneron’s Choice tasting of five wines is $15 per person, or free for club members. No reservation is needed, which means that you can spontaneously head out to the winery when the urge hits and they are only about 17 miles outside of downtown Frederick.
Catoctin Breeze Vineyard
15010 Roddy Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788