A Tour of Maryland Wine

To celebrate Maryland Wine Week, running through Sunday 17 June, I visited the Annapolis Arts & Crafts Festival on Saturday. The event included a wine festival with over 15 Maryland wineries sampling a selection of their wines. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the winery owners, winemakers and get a sense of the Maryland wine scene. It was definitely the highlight as the tent was crowded with tasters enjoying their pours and the live music.

I focused on tasting dry whites which gave me about 25 to 30 wines from 14 wineries…from Linganore Winecellars, Perigeaux Vineyard and Winery, Port of Leonardtown Winery, Knob Hall, Boordy Vineyards, Woodhall Wine Cellars, Slack Winery, Running Hare Vineyard, Great Shoals Winery, Friday’s Creek Winery, Romano Vineyard and Winery, Cove Point Winery, Cygnus Wine Cellars and Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery.

Here’s what I found on my tour…

  • Red and Fruit Majority: Red wines were primarily on offer at about 70% of the mix. On my quest to drink dry white, it was definitely the minority offering. I expanded to rosé which gave me a few more tastings. There were also lots of fruit and sweet wines to chose from, what you often see at festivals as many attendees like the sweet wines.
  • New Grape: Linganore Winecellars was pouring their White Raven wine made from the Cayuga grape. This grape is a hybrid of Schuyler and Seyval Blanc that was developed at Cornell University. Linganore was the test vineyard and winery for it. White Raven was crisp and fruity, a cross between a Pinot Grigio and Riesling in taste and style.
  • Winery Winner: My favorite winery of the day was Knob Hall Winery. I tried fives of their wines (Make Me Blush, Traminette, White Oak and Rosé)  and enjoyed each of them! I brought home a bottle of the Rosé. I also had a chance to meet Dick Seibert, owner of the winery, whose family has farmed and cultivated the land at Knob Hall for over 200 years. Very nice wines and people! I look forward to getting out to Hagerstown to learn more.
  • Wine Winners: In addition to Knob Hall Winery’s wines, here are 3 more wines I enjoyed.
    • Boordy Vineyards Pinot Grigio: a nice crisp citrus version with some minerality.
    • Slack Yellowlegs: a medium-bodied wine with melon and minerality (not sure the grapes on this one).
    • Friday’s Creek Winery 2009 Barbera: I had a great chat with their winemaker Rich Cleary. This is the second vintage of the Italian variety grape they are growing. It had some nice potential and look forward to seeing the next vintage!

This was a small sampling of the state’s 56 wineries but I did find a few nice wines and some with potential. There’s lots of room for growth and development in the state.

For more on Maryland Wine, visit the Maryland Wineries Association. For details on the last three days of Maryland Wine Week festivities, visit the their event site.

Cheers to more opportunities to drink local with Maryland wine!