Open Year Round
When Bennie Cassara first set foot on this mountain top retreat he knew this was the place for which he had been looking. Dad a brick mason by trade was busy running his Masonry construction company in Orange County California, but he was looking for a place where he and his family could get away from the daily grind. That was April of 1981; in the years following the family utilized the property located just three hours north of their home in Long Beach as a weekend retreat. In 1984 construction started on the main house, a magnificent structure built surrounding a huge brick fireplace, which supports the roof of the great room.
It was in 1990 the first vines were planted on the tiny hilltop estate. Dad chose Pinot Noir grapes at the urging of his friend Brian Babcock of the Babcock Winery. Brian told Dad his property with its hillside exposure would be the perfect growing environment for Pinot Noir grapes, this variatal is grown on hillsides in France, and Brian knew the combination of warm days and cool foggy nights would be perfect. It took several years and a great deal of work before the first grapes were ready for market. The first wine produced from the vineyard was actually made in 1995. We made the equivalent of about one gallon of wine. Bennie Cassara, Brian Babcock and I stood in the lab at Babcock Winery and tasted the fruits of the harvest. Brian knew then a world class Pinot Noir could be produced from the grapes in this vineyard. In 1996 there was enough of a harvest for Casa Cassara to sell the grapes and Brian Babcock purchased them to create a vineyard designate wine, named Babcock Winery Pinot Noir from Casa Cassara Vineyards. From the harvest of one-half ton of grapes Brian produced 35 cases of wine.
Casa Cassara Vineyard was on its way; in 1997 again Babcock produced a Pinot Noir using our grapes.