Maryland is home to Chesapeake Bay, famous for its blue crabs, Black-eyed Susan, its bright yellow state flower and pristine beaches on the eastern shore. It’s also home to beautiful, forested mountains, and a historic trading port called Baltimore.
The diverse landscape and climate have produced wine-growing regions with a wide variety of grapes. In the last decade, the number of Maryland wineries has increased exponentially and while wine industry trends change, people continue to enjoy their tipple.
A total of 36 types of grapes are grown by wineries in Maryland many of which are combined to create wonderful blends:
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc in the western mountainous region
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc thrive in the Piedmont region
- The eastern shore region is great for growing any type of grape, especially Sangiovese.
The viticulture industry is expanding in Maryland with world-class wineries springing up all over the region. The most popular wines available from Maryland wineries are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Maryland wineries are not only producing a delicious product, but over 30 labels have earned outstanding scores of 90 points or more and many wines have won prestigious awards
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One of the first wineries in Maryland, Boordy Vineyards, opened in 1945 and it continues to thrive. Boordy is a family-owned vineyard producing wine ranging from Chardonnay, Pinto Gris, Merlot to Cabernet Franc. The excellent Albariño Reserve which is aged in Burgundian oak barrels for 6 months, has won numerous awards The winery is housed in a historic building surrounded by acres of magnificent land which you can enjoy while sipping a soothing glass of wine. The wine can also be sampled in an enchanting barn tasting room.
You can visit Boordy every day of the week between 10am- 5pm and enjoy a tour of the vineyards, the barrel room and the winemaking area. There is a lovely outdoor area and venues to host events such as weddings and birthday parties. Special events are held all year including concerts on Saturday evenings and farmers markets during the summer months.
In the winter you can listen to music in the old-world setting of the barn while you sip on something delectable and comforting. While there are no lodging facilities at Boordy, there are hotels nearby if you wish to spend the night.
Linganore Winecellars, nestled on 230 acres of rolling vineyard landscape, is the largest and, arguably, the best winery in Maryland. The family-owned winery started with hand-crank equipment but now offers a huge selection of quality wines, private tastings and vineyard tours. Opening hours are Monday to Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm. Lodging facilities are not offered at Linganore but there are plenty of places nearby to stay overnight.
Linganore offers private tastings, sweet tastings and blended tastings which you can enjoy on the expansive deck or in the lounge. During the winter months, you can reserve an outdoor fire pit table to assist the wine in keeping you warm.
Linganore is a fun and relaxed winery where you can taste wines in a casual but beautiful setting. Wines on offer include elegant white and red dinner wines, semi-sweet grape wines and fruit and honey wines which can be paired with the winery’s mouth-watering charcuterie or cheese boards. If you love sweet wine, try the Late Harvest Vidal Blanc. It is sweet with notes of pear, vanilla, melon and honeysuckle.
Black Ankle Vineyards
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There are four outdoor areas to choose from at the Black Ankle Vineyard in Mt. Airy:
- The tasting room
- The patio
- The terrace which looks onto the vineyard
- The dog-friendly lawn
Opening hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 12pm-5pm, Tuesday- closed and Friday to Sunday 11am-5pm. A great time to visit is on Friday evenings when you can enjoy live entertainment and delicious eats served from food trucks. Black Ankle Vineyards offers food items such as cheeses, crackers, olives, meats, and nuts but if you wish to bring your own picnic, you are welcome to enjoy it on the lawn.
The wines on offer, produced from high-quality grapes using sustainable practices, include Gruner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Syrah, and various blends. If you enjoy sweet wine, you will love the Terra Dulce VI which has the flavours of raisins, baking spices, figs, dates, chocolate, almond and vanilla.
If you are wondering about the quirky name, Black Ankle, the theory is that long after other roads nearby were tarred and maintained, the road leading to the vineyard remained muddy, so passersby were left with dirty feet and boots on rainy days. Traditional lore states that the Black Ankle Trail was a Native American trail that passed through the area so perhaps the road owes its name to the trail.
The owners, Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron felt that the Piedmont had just the right mix of rolling hills, fertile soil and enough sun and rain to produce marvellous wine. “We make our wines in the old traditional style in order to allow the grapes to develop into wines that express the soil and climate in which they were grown.”
Big Cork Winery
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Big Cork Winery, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, produces more than 25 types of estate wine and is one of the most award-winning wineries in Maryland. The hours are from Thursday-Monday 11am-5pm, Friday until 9pm and they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can enjoy a great atmosphere in a spectacular setting at this popular destination.
The tasting rooms are luxurious and comfortable so you can drink your wine in style. Wine tasting with cheese pairing is by appointment and caters to groups of 5 to 15 people. You can also enjoy a tour of the property, and private events such as weddings and corporate dinners can be accommodated.
You can choose to sample the wine inside or outdoors on the wraparound patios. All the wines are good and if you love a fruity wine, try the 2020 Muscat Rose which has flavours of watermelon and cherry.
Why Should I Visit Wineries in Maryland?
Since the 1800s, Maryland has been a top spot for winemaking in the regions of Piedmont, the eastern shore, the southern plains and the western mountains. The annual Maryland Wine Festival, held in September, draws thousands of wine enthusiasts and in March – Maryland Wine Month – the wine industry showcases their innovative and quality wines.
You can enjoy tastings and pours at a large selection of excellent wineries. And there’s often live music on offer and incredible, panoramic views on which to feast your eyes.