Maryland Renaissance

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!

About Dave McIntyre

Wine columnist for The Washington Post, co-founder of, and blogger at Dave McIntyre's WineLine (
This entry was posted in, Eastern US, Local Wine, Maryland, Regional Wine Week, Virginia, Wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Maryland Renaissance

  1. Pingback: Commercial Real Estate Warehouse Maryland

  2. Dave,

    Great article on Boordy and Black Ankle. Rob was on the WineAmerica Board up until early this year (he stepped aside for some new blood) and what he has done to make their wine better really was risky, but like you, I have tasted some of the early results and it has proven to be worth it for them. Ed and Sarah are real innovators, they are always sold out of their wine! Maryland is constantly overshadowed by Virginia, but there is some really interesting stuff being done there now, as you well know.


  3. Dave – so glad you shine the spotlight on Maryland’s wineries as well as Virginia’s, and really appreciate the back story here. I’ve been consumed by the Commonwealth’s wine since moving across the river from Bowie a few decades ago, but Maryland is home, and now I’m itching to get out and visit some of these superstars.

  4. Les Hubbard says:

    As usual an excellent article despite the space limitations for your weekly column. Thanks for adding the reason for Maryland falling behind Virginia in the first paragraph of your blog above. Certainly Rob Deford deserves a great deal of credit for Maryland’s renaissance because he risked everything in overcoming the Seneca fruits debacle having earlier bought the Boordy brand from Phil Wagner. With the newer players you covered in the article, I suspect Maryland will give Virginia a good horse race in the estate or top-end wine category. I remain concerned when local wines reach $45 per bottle, but Rob’s broad line of wines starting at about $8.99 at retail should attract more local drinkers to try Maryland’s wines.


  5. Pingback: More signs that local wine is being taken seriously | Dave McIntyre's WineLine

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