1525 Turner Rd
Tryon, North Carolina
Phone: (828) 863-2784
Contact: Marsha Cassedy
The first Rockhouse vines were planted in 1991 on a 200-acre farm owned by Lee Griffin and Marsha Cassedy. Over the years, the married couple had traveled widely for business as well as for pleasure. Wherever they happened to be -- California, Europe, South America, or Australia and New Zealand -- they always investigated the local wineries and vineyards. When they purchased their farm in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1989, it was with the intention of planting grapes.
The initial plantings were a mixture of both vinifera and French-American hybrid vines. Soon, however, Rockhouse began to concentrate exclusively on vinifera grapes. Each year more vines were planted and experiments carried out to determine the best clones and rootstocks for the Tryon area. Early trellis systems were modified to encourage proper canopy management. By 1996, there were four acres of Chardonnay planted, with smaller quantities of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 1998, after a number of years of home winemaking, Griffin and Cassedy decided to take their "hobby" commercial. Rockhouse Vineyards was bonded as a North Carolina winery in September of 1998. The first commercial harvest included 100 cases of Chardonnay, 55 cases of Merlot, and 75 cases of Chambourcin. Rockhouse enjoyed unexpected success with its first vintage: a Bronze medal for both its 1998 Chardonnay and its 1998 Merlot at the San Diego National Wine Competition, and a Silver medal for its 1998 Chambourcin at the International Eastern Wine Competition in New York.
In 1999, the vineyard was expanded, with 3-1/2 acres planted to Viognier and 3-1/2 acres planted to Cabernet Franc. Total Rockhouse acreage stands at 10 acres of producing grapes.
The Rockhouse philosophy of winemaking is to produce small quantities of naturally crafted wines. Winemaking starts in the vineyard with low yields of concentrated fruit. Constant experimentation with oak barrels and native yeast fermentation techniques will continue to enhance our wines.
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