By Mike Schuh

WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Just a few years ago, there were just a handful on wineries in Maryland.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, there are 52 with more on the way.

Looking at the beauty, you might think you’re in Bordeaux, France or Napa, California — but it’s Westminster.

The owners at Old Westminster Winery in Carroll County are proud to be a part of a growing wine industry.

All these fermented grapes must taste good, because in the past two years production and sales in Maryland are up over 8 percent.

“In the last 15 years, we’ve gone from 15 wineries to 70,” said Kevin Atticks, president of the Maryland Wineries Association.

One reason is that Maryland has small farms — often it’s more profitable to turn grapes into wine than regular crops into cash.

“You don’t need a lot of acres and you’re able to value add that product and turn it into an exponentially higher value product than what you started with,” Atticks added.

That’s how the Old Westminster Winery started out.

“Originally it was this crazy plan to put our farm to work,’ said Andrew Baker, of Old Westminster Winery.

Things are going well enough that after just 4 years of production, Old Westminster is opening a new tasting room next weekend.

“We realized that our particular property, our hills and our soil here in Carrol County is really conducive to producing fine wines — wines we believe are world class,” Baker added.

Right now there are 15 wineries in Maryland getting regulatory approval to produce and bottle wines.

The tasting room at the Old Westminster Winery opens Saturday, Nov. 7 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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