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Catoctin Breeze Vineyard
by
Kathy Sullivan

Catoctin Breeze VineyardsSummary: Enjoy a visit to a boutique vineyard and winery in Maryland’s beautiful countryside. Look for white and red wines. Catoctin Breeze also produces meads. In addition to providing quality wines, Catoctin Breeze wants to focus on educating the consumer.

We enjoyed a spring trip to Catoctin Breeze, just a little north of Frederick, Maryland. Sitting on a knoll in the beautiful agricultural region of Maryland, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard offers views of sloping vineyards.  The vineyard soil is rocky and provides good drainage.

Catoctin Breeze VineyardThe winery and vineyard is the brainstorm of Voytek Fizyta and his wife, Alicja. They had friends in a wine club and visited a Virginia vineyard. Inspiration struck and they decided to sell their home and move to Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland.
Fizyta had the first two rows of vines planted in 2009. In 2010, Cabernet Franc, Sirah, Chardonnay and Viognier were added. The following year, Grenache, Mourvedre, Albarino, and Vermentino were planted. The first harvest was in 2012.

Tasting Room

The original tasting room was located in a barn-like structure below the vineyards. The wine tasting area shared space near winery equipment including oak barrels. Now this structure is used for storage.

Catoctin Breeze VineyardThe Catoctin Breeze official tasting room opened in July 2017. The nearby building originally used as a tasting room for several years is now used for storage. During the summer, the overhang of the original tasting room is used as a stage. A gondola with wonderful vineyard and country views has been added.

Catoctin Breeze VineyardThe new tasting room was built with local materials and the talented Fizyta family did the majority of the work themselves. The traditional-style tasting room is adjacent to the red barn-style winery which is tucked into a large hill covered with vineyards.The massive decorative wood doors were made with wood from Poland and a local blacksmith made the door handles. A stone fireplace adds a delightful ambiance to the tasting room. The tasting counter comfortably seats six. Large windows provide views of vineyards and the countryside. A patio with wrought iron tables and chairs is a delightful spot to enjoy a glass of wine on a warm summer day. A second floor is available for small special events. While tasting wines we spotted a fun holiday sign, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas but if the white runs out… I’ll drink the red.”

We met Adam Fizyta one of the sons who had helped out at the winery, but had his own automotive business in Northern Virginia. He helped to design the tasting room. Adam is now the Wine Club manager including the wine club events and marketing. In just a short time the wine club membership has doubled. Catoctin Breeze also has a generous wine barrel program for wine enthusiasts. Adam provided us with a great tour and wine tasting. Adam’s brother, Tommy, is the General Manager at Catoctin Breeze.

Catoctin Breeze Wines

Current production at the winery is 1,800 cases and the Fizyta family eventually expects the production to reach 3,000 cases. The plans include adding an additional 3,000 vines in 2018 and Petit Verdot in 2019.

Catoctin Breeze VineyardCatoctin Breeze has two wine labels. The butterfly series are labels for the estate grown wines. The second wine label with a musical theme is for those wines produced with grapes sourced offsite. The majority of sourced grapes are from Maryland. We tasted several Catoctin Breeze wines during a Premier wine tasting. The 2015 Serenade Sauvignon Blanc was a yellow color. The aroma included notes of lemon and tropicals. The taste had lemon, lemon grass, pineapple and some mineral notes. The finish was crisp with layers of fruit and mineral on the aftertaste.

The 2015 Estate Chardonnay (butterfly series) was fermented in oak and aged in stainless steel. The wine was a light yellow color. The wine offered notes of apple and pear. The wine was full-boded. The finish was crisp and fruit forward.

The 2015 Estate Syrah was in new American oak for 18 months. This delightful wine won the “Best Syrah on East Coast” award at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. This Syrah was a translucent ruby color. The aroma included notes of dark fruits and baking spices. The taste offered notes of plums and blackberries. The wine was full-bodied with medium to bold tannins. The finish began with fruit notes yielding to baking spices including cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

The 2014 Adagio Blend was produced with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot sourced from Frederick and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland. The wine was a translucent ruby color. The wine offered an aroma of black and red berry fruits. The taste included notes of red raspberries, blackberries and baking spices. This full-bodied wine had medium tannins. The finish was fruity yielding to baking spices.

The 2015 Estate Cabernet Franc was a translucent dark ruby color. The wine had an aroma of black fruit and pepper. The taste included notes of blackberries, black plums and spices. The fine was full-bodied with bold tannins. The finish had notes of fruit and spice with a hint of mineral.

Meads

Catoctin Breeze also produces mead. The Amber Mead was aged for five years in oak. The winemaker produces this mead with vanilla, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The result was a wine with a gold color. The best way to describe this mead was as “Christmas in a glass.” The mead had a velvety mouthfeel with notes of honey, vanilla, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The finish included notes of spice with some sweetness. Consider using this mead for a yummy dessert or to accompany pies or fruitcake.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard
15010 Roddy Road
Thurmont, Maryland 21788

GPS: Latitude 39° 38' 42.7'' N, Longitude 77° 23' 26.8'' W


Article updated January 2018

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