Maryland’s wine industry is overshadowed by its neighbor to the south. Virginia boasts nearly 200 wineries to Maryland’s 52, and it has benefited from strong support from its state government, while Annapolis has largely been unhelpful. But Maryland wine is experiencing a renaissance – from 12 wineries at the turn of the millennium, the industry has more than quadrupled in size and has 15 more wineries in the licensing pipeline. And many of these are dedicated to improving quality and demonstrating that Maryland can make wines to stand proud on the world stage.
The state’s oldest winery, Boordy Vineyards, is helping lead this renaissance with an ambitious and costly effort that involved tearing out and replanting 45 acres of vineyards and totally transforming the winery’s winemaking process. You can read about how Boordy is remaking itself, and how upstart Black Ankle Vineyards ignited Maryland’s drive for quality, in my feature article in today’s Washington Post.
One of the encouraging trends for Maryland wine is an increasing emphasis on the estate winery model – meaning wine made from the winery’s own grapes. Others are insisting on using only Maryland grapes, a welcome move in a grape-poor state that has been reliant on imported grapes and juice. Some wineries to look for include Knob Hall and Slack – the latter is producing some very tasty reds from Italian varietals grown in southern Maryland.
As Regional Wine Week continues, here’s a toast to Maryland wine!