Wine Magazine
December 2017
Wine Enthusiast

Read the entire article.
Photo by Getty

it is easy to see why Chardonnay is both loved and grown around the world. It's a grape that provides a canvas for a wide array of flavors, from fruity and flinty to toasty and nutty, sure to please any palate and pair with a varity of meals.

Though Califorinia is the iconic state for Chardonnay, it's not the only game in town on the West Coast. oregon is showing that not only can it give Burgundy a run for its money with Pinot Noir, but also with the French region's famous white wine grape. Further north, Washington is producing lush wines with lingering finishes.

Not to be outdone, the East Coast is also staling claim when it comes to outstanding Chardonnay. New York winemakers are crafting wines that range rom steely to rich and ripe. If you haven't yet explored wines from Virginia, it's time to add a new state to your wine repertoire.

Recommended American Chardonnay from 5 States
Califorinia, New York, Oregan, Washington, and Virginia

Casanel 2015 Estate Chardonnay (Middleburg); $20, 87 points. An intriguing nose of lemon, pineapple, vanilla and banana candies are encased in a waft of warm yeast. Flavors of honeydew, more pineapple and oak spice are folded into a saline and nutty component. The weight is plush and feels silky on the tongue. –C.D.
  Northern Virginia Magazine
December 2017

Read the entire article.
From a wine and dessert tasting to Alexandria’s festivities: What we’re looking forward to this week...
This week, Northern Virginia Magazine editors are looking forward to Casanel Vineyards & Winery’s tasting flights and dessert pairings, holiday events in Alexandria, the ‘Sound of Music’ in Richmond, movies and family time.

Photo courtesy of Casanel

This story appears in our weekly Entertainment and Arts newsletter

By Briana EllisonEliza BerkonLynn NorusisRachael Keeney and Stefanie Gans

Wine and dessert tasting at Casanel Vineyards & Winery
Dec. 9-10
I have a few restaurants I need to check out in Leesburg so the best way to spend time between meals is probably drinking and snacking, right? This Saturday and Sunday Casanel Vineyards & Winery is hosting hourly tasting flights ($15 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.) paired with desserts both chocolaty and fruity. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. -SG // Casanel Vineyards & Winery: 17956 Canby Rd, Leesburg 

  Washington Post
July 1, 2017
By Dave McIntyreColumnist, Food

Read the entire article. 
Who grew the grapes in the wine you’re drinking? The label has some clues.
Do you read the back label on a wine bottle, either before you buy it or while you’re drinking its contents?

“Pulling back the curtain on this is an interesting topic,” says Michael Kaiser, vice president of Wine America, an industry trade group based in Washington. “A lot of consumers have a distorted view of how wine is made. They picture a tasting room with vineyards out the window where the grapes are grown to make the wine in the production facility right there on the property.”

“Grown, produced and bottled by”: The winery actually grew the grapes, on vineyards it either owns or leases with control over the farming. This is the most restrictive labeling, for a wine that most resembles that idealized view we have of the artisan vigneron toiling in her vineyards.
“Estate grown”: The winery and its vineyards are within an established American Viticultural Area, or AVA. (This is often used in addition to “grown, produced and bottled by.”)

“Produced and bottled by”: At least 75 percent of the grapes used were fermented in the winery’s facility. That means some purchased wine can be blended in. More likely, it indicates the winery purchased grapes from

And some people do care. “The number one question we get in our tasting room is, ‘Is this estate fruit?’ or ‘Is this really your wine?’, ” says Katie DeSouza, assistant winemaker at Casanel Vineyards in Leesburg, Va.
DeSouza may have pulled back the curtain on another question worthy of discussion — the provenance of local wine. But her point remains: If you are looking for wines that express the craft of the winemaker, from tending the vines to bottling the wines, read the back label.
  Richard Leahy
June 22, 2017
Virginia Wine
Casanel in Loudoun Co. Offers Sparkling Norton and Exquisite Red Wines

Casanel Vineyards and Winery is in the heart of the Loudoun County wine region and the Middleburg AVA, but is nicely tucked away off the beaten path, which is a relief after driving south through winery traffic and past wineries throwing festivals where they stand on the road to take $20 before you can even drive to the parking lot.

The winery is tastefully designed with pristine looking vineyards, but the elegant tasting room was almost empty when I entered on a sunny Saturday. This is usually a very bad sign, but in this case, a very good sign; if you’re patient enough to find it, Casanel is a Shangri-La among Loudoun wineries, partly from esthetics, partly from a policy of no dogs or children, and mostly for the brilliant wines.

The operation was established in 2008 and is owned and operated by two generations of the DeSouza family with parents Nelson and Kathleen, daughters Katie (assistant winemaker) and Anna (tasting room manager), and now joined by the third generation celebrated with wines named after them, granddaughters Elliana and Patricia Marie. Their focus on high-quality limited production wine driven by carefully raised estate fruit shows in their retaining renowned viticulturist Lucie Morton.  The purity of the fruit is the first thing you notice and this is consistent across the board. .

Read Complete review.

June 18, 2017
Experiencing Virginia Wines: Casanel Vineyards and Winery
After a few hours of birding, we headed to Casanel Vineyards in Leesburg. Casanel is named after the couple that own the vineyard; Casey and Nelson. It is a small property with beautiful views of their vineyards, pond, and gazebo. Casanel is a smaller winery, which is exactly what Dr. GP and I wanted to visit. Both of us can’t stand crowds, and enjoy being able to enjoy a glass of wine at a winery without feeling claustrophobic or feeling like we have to yell to hear one another.

The tasting room is quite modern, and I believe that it was recently renovated. They have indoor seating, a small wine store, and the tasting bar. Smiles were on all of the staff members’ faces, and we immediately felt welcomed. Cherri was our taster today, and never once left our side. She not only told us about each wine, but engaged in conversation about us, herself, the winery, etc… It was just like we were three friends, enjoying some wine together!

Read the entire review.

  The Patch
May 1, 2017
By Katie H 
(Patch Poster)

In case you didn't know, April has been officially dubbed: Virginia Vineyard Month. 
There are quite a few decorated wineries in the region, but a handful are especially notable.
Read Article. The map from Reston Limo highlights the top 10 wineries in the state based on the accolades that they earned in 2016, with Casanel at #4.

  The Virginia Grape
February, 2017
by Brian Yost
Casanel was listed as one of the "2017 Must Visit Virginia Wineries" - this is not a top 10 list, but a list of wineries to visit and enjoy.

As stated in the article "Katie DeSouza and Katell Griaud may be the youngest winemaking team in Virginia. This is only remarkable when one considers the quality of the wine produced. Casanel wine is gaining a reputation for its complexity and depth. The wine, when combined with a beautiful new tasting room and first-rate customer experience is a must-visit winery".
Read the entire article.
  Middleburg Life
Volume 34, Issue 3
January 2017
by Brian Yost
  Northern Virginia Magazine
December 2016
by Jessica Strelitz

Don’t fret about the weather. Embrace winter’s chill with coffee, chocolate and bubbly celebrations—you can capture them all in a glass.

(Photo by Christin Boggs Peyper)

Winemaker Katie DeSouza (pictured above) thinks Casanel Vineyards & Winery Norton Red Spark 2014 could be the world’s only bubbly courtesy of Virginia’s native grape.

  The Loudoun Times Mirror
Oct 4, 2016
by Trevor Baratko
The world’s first sparkling Norton? Casanel Vineyards stakes its claim!
Casanel Vineyards, just west of downtown Leesburg, has released what's believed to be the world's first sparkling Norton wine.
A native-Virginia, non-vinifera grape, Norton holds a quite distinctive flavor profile, often boasting rich, mouth-puckering rushes of jam, raspberries, even grape Popsicle. Typically, there's little in-between for sippers -- they either hate it or love it.

We caught up with Casanel co-winemaker Katie DeSouza to hear briefly about her exotic new creation, Red Spark.

So, wow, a sparkling Norton. Is this really a first?

It better be! I'm about 99 percent sure Casanel has the world's first sparkling Norton, if not that, then at the very least, it's the first of its kind in Virginia.

  Interview on PBS
Gold Metal Winners
Virginia State Fair
Click here to view. Katie's Interview on the 2 gold winning wines!
  Virginia Wine Lover Magazine
Second Edition 2016/2017
by Frank Morgan
Cuvee, Page 12
Katie DeSouza Katie DeSouza has been creating wine for Casanel for four years: she and her family have been operating the vineyards and winery since its inception in October 2008.
In addition to winemaking, DeSauza is the vineyard manager and the assiatant manager to the tasting room.
Read the entire article.
  Middleburg Life
August 2, 2016
by Brian Yost
Young Dynamic Duo Producing Great Varietals
If you’re unfamiliar with the Carménère varietal, it was widely grown in Bordeaux until phylloxera wiped it out in the 19th century.

It’s still one of only six red grapes permitted in that region, but there remain only a handful of Bordeaux producers cultivating the grape. Curiously, it’s much more common in Chile, which escaped the scourge of phylloxera,  and today Carménère represents one of the country’s most widely planted red varietals. Read the entire article.

  The Loudoun Times Mirror
July 6, 2016
by Trevor Baratko

Casanel Vineyards takes two golds in State Fair Wine Competition


Loudoun County's Casanel Vineyards earned two gold medals in the 2016 State Fair of Virginia Wine Competition, fair officials announced Wednesday morning.

The boutique Leesburg winery's 2014 Carménère and 2013 Petit Verdot, both red varietals, were among 18 wines to earn gold. More than 90 wines from 21 Virginia wineries participated in the tasting, which is in its 23rd year. 

"It means two things to me,” Nelson DeSouza, owner of Casanel, said of his golds. “That we have great wine, and our family has elevated Casanel and people are beginning to realize that our little piece of dirt is truly something special, as is our vineyard and wine-making team. Read the entire article.

  The Virginia Grape
June 13, 2016
By Brian Yost
At last count, I think there are 46 wineries in Loudoun County, Virginia. Most of them are making good wine. A smaller number are making great wine. Casanel Vineyard falls squarely in this latter category. I try never to do rankings, because they are so subjective. After lengthy deliberation, however, I can say that Casanel is easily one of my five favorite wineries in all of Northern Virginia and rests squarely in the top tier of producers in the state.

Read More.


The Washington Post Friday,
September 26, 2015 By Dave McIntyre



5 Wineries to visit in Virginia and Maryland this fall
Autumn is a wonderful time of year to visit local wineries. Fall colors make the drive spectacular, and the thrill of the new harvest gives the wineries extra energy. Add these to your itinerary this year.

Casanel Vineyards & Winery

17956 Canby Rd., Leesburg, Va., 540-751-1776;

Casey and Nelson DeSouza founded their winery in 2006. They decided to “reboot” in 2013, hiring two consultants to revamp the operation: winemaker Katell Griaud, a protege of famed winemaker Michel Rolland and a former winemaker at Trump winery near Charlottesville, and Lucie Morton, a high-profile viticulturist. Under the supervision of the DeSouzas’ daughter, Katie, the new team just released delicious reds (petit verdotcabernet sauvignon and a port-style Norton) and intriguing whites (pinot gris,chardonnay). Katie's sister, Anna Want, manages the tasting room and the business side of the winery. The new regime also is striving to reduce the use of fungicides and insecticides in favor of more environmentally friendly viticulture. There is a brand-new tasting room, but be sure to visit the old tasting room — in an 1800s horse barn meticulously restored by Nelson DeSouza — where the new wines are offered.

Read the entire article.


WMAL 105.9

Posted on 
July 21, 2015

Virginia Wineries Squeezed by Grape Shortage

LEESBURG — (WMAL) Virginia is in the middle of a grape shortage, and the local wine industry is paying the price.

Due to a lack of grape farms in the state as well as unfavorable growing conditions, businesses relying on Virginia-grown grapes are doing whatever they can to offset the increased costs.

Kathleen DeSouza, Assistant Vineyard Manager at Casanel Vineyards, said that many wineries are turning to out of state vineyards for their crops.


  Loudoun Times Wednesday,
July 1, 2015
by Trevor Baratko
Casanel Vineyards & Winery, the Leesburg winery highlighted in last month's column, also came away from San Fran with some hardware, taking “Silver” for both their
Ellianna Pinot Gris and their Chardonnay.
Loudoun Times Wednesday,
June 3, 2015
by Trevor Baratko

At Casanel Vineyards in Leesburg, family and patriotism
Frankly, this column may be better suited for one month from now, as the
Fourth of July nears and we become engulfed in Americanism. 

Because Nelson DeSouza loves this country more than anyone I've ever met.

“American by choice,” he tells me more than once at his Casanel Vineyards on Monday afternoon.
“Brazilian by birth, by accident – but American by choice.”

Asked when he arrived in the U.S., the charming DeSouza quickly responds.
“September 22. 1962. 4:16 p.m. Washington National Airport.”

“I was 20 years old. No English. No Money. No nothing … In America, everything – everything with all capital letters – is possible.” To read more...

Or go to:


17956 Canby Rd, Leesburg VA 20175 Phone 540-751-1776 spacer
Copyright 2008 - 2015 Casanel Farm, LLC


Join us on FaacebookspacerFollow us on TwitterspacerGo to Pinterestspacerinstagram