When Lance and Valerie Castle bought a quaint Kimberton home in In Chester Pennsylvania they had little idea of how valuable the purchase would turn out to be. The couple bought the home in land covered with several dozens of black walnut trees. Armed with fermenting business idea, they started to destem pounds of vineyard grapes by hand in the sprawling country land.
They started preparing wine at home during fall. As family and friends continued asking for “black walnut wine”, the name stuck and Black walnut winery as born. Initially, they were producing about 300 gallons of wines. As the demand grew, they started producing the wine as full time business.
Black walnut winery was opened officially in July 2009 in a newly and thoroughly renovated bank barn. The 200 years old fantastically charming building is located on Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyille Chester County. The winery has received accolades and won awards, one after the other over the years.
In 2010 Pennsylvania Wine competition, the winery received a bronze medal for Chardonnay 2007. At Pennsylvania wine competition in 2010, the winery received another bronze medal for Merlot 2007. The winery has established itself in the industry.
Every winery has its own style of producing wine. According to Lance, their personal preference is making dry wines. They, however, appreciate that diversification is also important. So, while they majorly deal with dry wine, they also produce a handful of off dry sweet wines.
Currently, the couple and their business partners jack and Karen Kuhn have expanded their business to include a Tasting Room in Phoenixville. Connoisseurs and wine novices can sample any of their 17 wine varieties. The tasting room was opened in 2010 at a grand party. It is located in an exquisite, renovated property in downtown Phoenixville. You can book the tasting room for private events. Sometimes they host live music and wine, and chocolate pairing.
The partners were pivotal in establishing an array of wine varieties with great taste. It has grown to be one of the most successful wineries in Chester County and extending the growth to the tasting room in Phoenixville.
Birth of the Winery Idea
Lance and Jack met while they were both working in corporate jobs. Coincidentally, Karen and Valerie also worked in the same company at some point. Fate and love for wine connected then to start a winery.
With a land covered with over 40 mature walnut trees, they started making wine as a hobby. The walnuts kept falling from the trees during autumn. As a result, they kept moving during the winemaking process. The couples even had to make wine in a driveway at some point. These entrepreneurs even involved a consultant before opening the gallery. He advises them to get a name that has a story behind it. Eventually, they came back to Black Walnut Winery.
The winery is located in a well-traveled rod which has significantly helped in its success. However, the first days were not a walk in the park. Trying making people know and find them was quite exacting.
The black walnut winery produces a variety of wines. One of the best performing wine is Pinot Gris. While it is hardy, it boasts of great soft flavors and does very well in the region. Similarly, apple wines are unique.
The process of making wine at Black Walnut Winery
Harvesting starts in the fall at the beginning of September. Between September and October, the company spends time destemming and crushing the grapes, separating the skin from the juice, fermentation process initiation and racking. They break from cellar activities after putting everything tanks at the beginning of November.
Black nut winery focuses its attention tasting room and winery holiday activities. Winter activities include raking oak, filter and pampering wines waiting to bottle in summer and spring. The winery stores their wine in 28 tanks which are usually full. In fact, they have to empty some to prepare for the fall harvest. They have to fill about 30000 bottles to loosen up space for processing new wines before crush at the start of fall. The whole process takes place in over two-decade building in Sadburyville, Pennsylvania. The building measures 10000 square feet.
Lance and Val Castle friendship with Jack and Karen Kuhn has given birth to a winery with tip-top sip. It has also created an experience where people bond, laugh, share memories, relax and enjoy music as they enjoy local wine.