When thinking of Maryland, the first thing that comes to mind might not be wine, but it should be. I didn't know there were so many vineyards in the area making their own specialty labeled wines. On May 5th, over 20 Maryland wineries displayed their "Weird Wine" and provided tastings of over 35 varietals in a unique setting at Union Collective in Hampden, Maryland. Wineries arrived from regions all over Maryland to show off their innovative blends at this first annual event.
When we first entered the parking lot of Union Collective, formally known as the Sears warehouse, it was exciting to see the many local Baltimore businesses that have taken over this transformed 155,000 square feet of space. Located conveniently next to I-83, this revitalized building is now home to UNION Craft Brewing, as well as other manufacturers and retailers (I'm definitely going back for a cup of fresh roasted coffee another time!)
But once we entered Weird Wine, it was the wines that grabbed my attention.
After checking-in, we received our pretty Maryland Wine embossed stemless tasting glasses, complete with 12 tokens to redeem for pours. Then we found our way to the complimentary popcorn table, filled an overflowing bucket of caramel, cheese and buttered popcorn, and stepped into the tasting room. I always enjoy seeing wines, bottles, packaging and learning about all that goes into it. I was in a wine wonderland and this was a fun venue to show it off.
Besides sampling distinctive tastes, I love discovering local wineries and look forward to the opportunity of meeting the owners and staff. Plus, it's great fun to see where they are produced. Take a look below for why you'll want to visit each of these vineyards and try their selections and experiences. Click on each name for their website to find out more and purchase products.
Big Cork Vineyards
Featuring: Russian Kiss
Located in Rohrersville, Maryland, Big Cork Vineyards hosts wine tastings and custom events (think wine pairing with white water rafting trip.) They even have a gorgeous 6,600 square foot house that sleeps up to 9 people and can be rented out for the night or more. An overnight in luxury accommodations on a vineyard? Yes, please!
Black Ankle Vineyards
Featuring: Passeggiata XI
You'll find Black Ankle Vineyards in beautiful Mt. Airy, Maryland. They host live music on Friday nights (bring your own picnic and you can order a glass or bottle of wine), and also tastings Thursdays through Sundays. As I'm all about cruising, I'm eyeing their advertised annual Mediterranean wine-themed luxury cruise, a perfect combination.
Blue Mountain Wine Crafters
Featuring: Fuzzy and Legacy
Head to Funkstown, Maryland in Washington County and you can learn how to make your own wine, beer and cider at Blue Mountain Wine Crafters. They offer tastings of their varietals, plus you can purchase supplies and take classes to experiment with your own. But its their themed tastings that entice me. Visit in February for a Wine and Chocolate pairing, or in March, sample wines that pair well with Girl Scout cookies. (Only for Girl Scouts over 21, of course!)
Featuring: Albariño and Veritas Ruby Port
In Hydes, Maryland, Boordy Vineyards started as a winery in 1945, but has been a working farm since 1725 and is still family owned. Their award-winning wines are one of the largest local wines brands found throughout the region. I've enjoyed Boordy wines for years but one thing I never knew was that they have a port. One taste and I was sold. It's the perfect sweet sip to enjoy after any meal.
Broken Spoke Winery
Featuring: Witty White Merlot
When visiting the Eastern Shore, you won't want to miss Broken Spoke Winery in Earleville, Maryland. The Tasting Room doors opened recently in June 2017 and they haven't stopped pouring since. Plus, as passionate animal lovers, they invite you to bring your pet. The family's own chocolate lab is often keeping them company in the Tasting Room. Order a cheese board and spend time learning about their reds, whites, and sweet wines.
Featuring: Mountain Thunder
Located in downtown Cumberland, Maryland, Charis Winery is known as Allegany County's first winery, Featurning unique red, white, and fruit blends all year-long, they also offer elaia oil and vinegars.
Charm City Meadworks
Featuring: Mango Comapeño and Ruby Red Rosé
Have you tried mead? If you love honey and fruits, this is for you! Try a draft or still mead at Charm City Meadworks Taproom in Baltimore, Maryland. It's a hip place to try this unique drink, along with brews, wines, and ciders. You can also purchase cans or bottles at many locations throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Just look for the bee at #FindMead.
Crow Vineyard & Winery
Featuring: Crow Club Select and Sparkling Rosé
Stay, eat, and sip when you visit Crow Vineyard & Winery in Kennedyville, Maryland, Close to the Eastern Shore, relax on 365 acres with a stay at their quaint Bed & Breakfast, attend a chocolate & wine pairing, or just stop by to sample and purchase their award-winning wines. They also sell specialty cuts of their antibiotic and hormone free grass-fed beef. Dinner is served!
Distillery Lane Ciderworks
Featuring: Rio and Sidra
Spread over 95 acres of historic property in Jefferson, Maryland, Distillery Lane Ciderworks dates back to the Civil War. Filled with over 45 varieties of bountiful apple trees, they specialize in handcrafted cider. Stop in for cider tastings or try a sweet dessert apple fresh from the tree. I really enjoyed the sweet taste of Rio, a sparkling hard apple cider.
Far Eastern Shore Winery
A little piece of the Far East is located in Easton, Maryland at Far Eastern Shore Winery. Using exotic fruit flavors reminiscent of this destination such as lychees and dragonfruit, make an appointment or stop by their tasting room for a sample. You can also find them at various markets and events in the area.
Great Shoals Winery
Featuring; Crabapple Imperial and Northern Spy
You wouldn't think of Takoma Park, Maryland for a winery but this hard cider and fruit wine destination is not to be missed. Great Shoals Winery's new tasting room offers flights, glasses and bottles, along with craft beer. If you visit, try the food pairing menu. They have perfected the savory and sweet food pairings along with a selection of six wines to sample.
Hidden Hills Farm & Vineyard
Featuring: 2015 Pinot Grigio
Wines, vines, and equines are three terrific reasons to visit Hidden Hills Farm & Vineyard in Frederick County, Maryland. Along with tastings of their peak wines, you can also enjoy a Vineyard Tour and Barn Tour. They have a full service equestrian facility with 14 stalls overlooking the sprawling property.
Layton's Chance Vineyard & Winery
Featuring: Laura's Lemonade and Rise Up Red
Layton's Chance Vineyard & Winery of the Eastern Shore is situated on 1,800 acres and has been family owned since 1948. In true family style, sample wines in their tasting room and then bring the family out on the walking trails and play and picnic areas. If you enjoy cooking, they have some fantastic recipes on their website that pair well with their wines. The hints of coffee in Rise Up Red is spectacular and a must try.
Five generations of winemakers are part of Loew Vineyards in Mt. Airy, Maryland. From dry whites and reds to semi-sweet wines, you can purchase wine samplings with cheeses, and even keep a souvenir glass. The lovely floral hints of rose petals and wild berries in their featured wine, Chancellor, would definitely be my pick to sample.
Old Westminster Winery
Featuring: Pét-Nat Syrah Rosé and 2018 Pét-Nat Piquette
Carroll County is a beautiful area of Maryland where you'll find Old Westminster Winery. Sample wines in the Tasting Room by the glass, bottle or flight. They also offer a variety of local cheeses, charcuterie, and other local foods. Bring the kids on summer weekends to enjoy seasonal activities.
Orchid Cellar Meadery
Featuring: Fish Hunter and Medusa
Orchid Cellar Meadery in Middletown, Maryland in Frederick County produces mead and wine, all on five acres of land including two acres of vineyards and a scattering of beehives. You'll find the beehives safely hidden but their brand new Tasting Room is the center of attention.
Red Heifer Winery
Situated on a former peach orchard in Smithsburg, Maryland, Red Heifer Winery grows varieties from dry to sweet wines and they are all about the fun! In the summer, bring the kids, a picnic basket and blanket and enjoy live music on Saturday and Sunday nights sampling wine while overlooking the rolling hills. Take a look at their event schedule and you'll discover unique events such as Goat Yoga with Wine or a Seafood Boil.
Set in Brandywine, Maryland in Prince George's County, Romano Winery's sweet story began as the family first harvested honey. They soon moved into vineyards and started producing wine. Today, they grow five types of grapes and their wine can be found locally at shops and festivals. Drive out to the farm for featured events, including themed Cigar and Jazz Nights.
Royal Rabbit Vineyards
Featuring: Abbess and Prophetess
Award-winning Royal Rabbit Vineyards is in Parkton, Maryland. They produce after dinner & dessert wines, along with classic reds, whites, and lightly sweet aperitifs. They can all be tasted and purchased at the winery, I'm inspired to visit after talking with their knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts.
Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery
Featuring: Locust Bloom
A winery and brewery surrounded by lavender blooms? This must smell luxurious! Located in Frederick County, you'll find a Lavender Festival, tasting room, and even an Inn at Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery. The Inn at Springfield Manor is an elegant estate located right on the property. Stay and experience the charm of the surrounding area. Plus, sample award winning rye whiskey, bourbon, rum, vodka, grappa, brandy, and even a lavender gin.
Solomon's Island Winery
The next time you visit Solomon's Island, stop by the brand new tasting room of Solomon's Island Winery. They offer limited edition wines that you won't be able to find anywhere else. I've never experienced such an deliciously floral taste as in their featured Tulip wine. It's my top pick for your next summer picnic.
Turkey Point Vineyard
Featuring: "Tropical Paradise" Elk Neck Gold
With 7 acres of grapes, you'll find your favorite varietals in North East, Maryland at Turkey Point Vineyard. Visit their tasting room Wednesdays through Sundays to sample muscat, merlot, cabernet franc, and chardonnay.
The Urban Winery
Conveniently located in Montgomery County in Silver Spring, Maryland, The Urban Winery offers tasting classes with an amazing menu. While enjoying perfect pairings, you can learn how each varietal from various regions compliments culinary tastings, But this urban setting also means great experiences. Get a group together to make your own custom wine, you design everything from the type of grapes to the label.
Xella winery and Vineyard
Xella Winery and Vineyard, a family run winery in Laurel Grove, Maryland features fun names and unique flavors. Try a Bad Barn Red, similar to a smooth cabernet sauvignon. Their featured wine is bold and sweet, "almost" like a moscato.
After tasting my way through Maryland, I am convinced there is no need to travel far for a glass of sweet or dry wine, mead, or cider. Luckily, they had a wine shop in the lobby of Weird Wine to purchase the featured wines by the bottle. I'm glad summer is fast approaching because now I'm excited to hop in the car and visit each of these wineries for another local taste of Maryland.
Don't Forget to Save on Pinterest and Remember Your Favorite Maryland Wine!
Disclaimer: I was provided two complimentary general admission tickets to attend Weird Wine.
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