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Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

September 17, 2011 5:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

By Mindie Burgoyne

Traversing a wine trail is an upscale agricultural experience where visitors can leisurely taste and develop a palate for wines, enjoy the scenic landscapes, learn about wine making and grape growing and support local growers. Each winery and vineyard offers something authentic and unique unto itself, while sharing certain things in common with the rest of the wineries on the trail. Guests enjoy talking with the owner or vintner (wine maker) about the process of winemaking. Wineries are becoming public spaces that welcome visitors to sit, taste, rest and absorb the charism of that particular place.

Wineries and vineyards have also become meeting places for the community, hosting events, festivals and even a picnic destination with wine tasting as an added bonus. Wine trails knit some of these wineries together along a scenic byway that offers the visitor a self-guided opportunity to experience the different wine regions. Wine trails are strolled at a leisurely pace, gradually getting acquainted with the individual growers and wine makers. Maryland has five established wine trails.

 Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

Photo Credit: Tourism Council of Frederick County

Frederick Wine Trail

Various winery locations in South Eastern Frederick County
(800) 999-3613

Map of the Frederick Wine Trail

Check the Frederick Wine Trail website for winery hours of operation and locations

The Frederick Wine trail includes eight wineries which together comprise over half of the state’s wine production.  Some of Maryland’s best-known wineries are on this trail including one in an urban setting. Frederick Cellars is located in a renovated ice company building in the downtown area, complete with tasting room and gift shop.  The Frederick wine trail also includes 2010 Governor’s Cup Gold Medalist, Blank Ankle Vineyards which has a chic tasting room built on “green” principles of using local materials and innovative energy conservation principles.

Wineries and Vineyards on the Frederick Wine Trail: Linganore Winecellars – Berrywine Plantations, Black Ankle Vineyards, Distillery Lane, Elk Run VineyardsFrederick Cellars, Loew Vineyards, Orchid Cellar, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard

 Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

Photo Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

Patuxent Wine Trail

Various winery locations in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties

List of wineries on the trail with links to hours of operation, directions and contact information can be found here.

The region surrounding the Patuxent Wine Trail is mostly agricultural, significantly impacted by the shorelines of the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The foundation of this historic region is the farming and maritime industries, both of which seep through the branding of the wineries and vineyards.   Fridays Creek Winery is housed in a restored tobacco barn, tobacco being a crop that has long defined southern Maryland. Slack Winery in Ridge claims to craft its wine specifically to be paired with Maryland seafood. The Port of Leonardtown Winery is run a growers cooperative that chose wine grapes as an alternative for growing tobacco.

Wineries and Vineyards on the Patuxent Wine Trail: Cove Point Winery, Fridays Creek Winery, Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery, Port of Leonardtown Winery, Running Hare Vineyard, Slack Winery, and Solomons Island Winery.

 Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

Photo Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

Piedmont Wine Trail

Various winery locations in Baltimore and Harford Counties

List of wineries on the trail with links to hours of operation, directions and contact information can be found here.

The Piedmont Wine Trail includes eight wineries and vineyards in Baltimore and Harford Counties.  The region claims the oldest continually operational winery in Maryland, Boordy Vineyards. The wineries old and new on this trail seem to take on the character of their owners.  Fiore Winery owned by Italian immigrant, Mike Fiore and his wife Rose uses “The Maryland Wine with an Italian Accent” as a marketing tag line. Mr. Fiore’s Italian heritage is infused in his wines and Fiore’s brand. This region has a rich agricultural heritage, well known for rolling farmland, its thoroughbred horse farms and its nationally recognized wineries.

Wineries and Vineyards on the Piedmont Wine Trail: Basignani Winery, Boordy Vineyards, DeJon Vineyards, Fiore Winery, Harford Vineyard, Legends Vineyard, Mount Felix Vineyard and Winery, Woodhall Wine Cellars

 Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

Photo Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

Chesapeake Wine Trail

Various winery locations on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

List of wineries on the trail with links to hours of operation, directions and contact information can be found here

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the largest contiguous piece of agricultural land on the East Coast.  It is uninterrupted by major development with rolling fields, endless sky, established farms, small towns and waterways.  Once wine grapes were introduced into the agricultural mix, vineyards flourished and wineries sprang up.  There are 12 wineries on the Chesapeake Wine Trail, but, from the northernmost winery in Rising Sun to the southernmost in Eden, it’s 150 miles by car.  This trail is best followed when broken into clusters that include other venues in the area.  Plan to take in a few of these wineries on the way to the beach.  The St. Michaels Winery and Little Ashby are near the historic towns of Easton and St. Michaels, hubs of culture and shopping.  Layton’s Chance Winery is near the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and the historic City of Cambridge.  

Wineries and Vineyards on the Chesapeake Wine Trail:  Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery, Cascia Vineyards, Cassinelli Vineyards and Winery, Costa Ventosa Winery and Vineyard, Dove Valley Winery, Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery, Little Ahsby Vineyards, St. Michaels Winery, Terrapin Station Winery, Tilmon’s Island Winery

 Maryland Wine Trails: Scenic, Cultural And Homegrown Fun

Photo Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

Carroll Wine Trail

Various winery locations in Carroll County – Manchester, Hampstead and Westminster

List of wineries on the trail with links to hours of operation, directions and contact information can be found here.

The oldest wine festival in Maryland has its home in Carroll County, a place rich in agricultural history.This trail is easy to do in a day and makes an excellent outing across beautiful countryside.  For a weekend excursion the trail can be combined with a few wineries on the Piedmont or Frederick Trails.

Wineries and Vineyards on the Carroll Wine Trail: Cygnus Wine Cellars, Galloping Goose Vineyard, and Serpent Ridge Vineyard.

Mindie Burgoyne is an author, travel writer and tour guide living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Her blog The Travel Hagshares information on outdoor travel for women.  She is the author of Haunted Eastern Shore; Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake.

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