The Wine History of Sand Castle Winery in Bucks County, PA
The Maxian family purchased a hillside property in Bucks County overlooking the Delaware River in 1974 and their dream of Sand Castle Winery was born. In the early 1980s, construction of the winery building began and, after decades of tireless effort, was finally completed in 2007.
Sand Castle Winery vines are exclusively Vitis Vinifera—special seedlings cloned from European stock and chosen by master winemakers. After clearing and preparing the soil over many years, 56,000 of these young plants were painstakingly hand planted, one by one. Up to 1990, all of the vines were pruned and buried in the winter, then uncovered by hand each spring to ensure survival during the cold Pennsylvania winters. Varieties of grapes included Chardonnay, Johannisberg Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. All vines were selected from the Mosel Valley of Germany and the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions in France.
The first vintage was produced in 1987 and yielded roughly 2,000 cases of Chardonnay and Riesling. In 1988, the first bottle of Sand Castle wine was sold. Sand Castle Winery relies entirely on its own harvest to produce its world class wines and is one of the few wineries exclusively growing European vines on the East Coast.
Both stainless steel and French Oak barrels are used for aging of the wines. Stainless steel maintains the intensity of the fruit, while French Oak adds complexity. All vinification is done on the estate in Sand Castle’s 7,000 square foot wine cellar. The cellar is blasted 30 feet deep into the hillside, to ensure a consistently cool, undisturbed environment.