You can drink local wine any day, but you should Drink Local Wine on April 13.
Okay, punning aside, the annual Drink Local Wine conference is fast approaching. After convening in Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado, we are converging on Baltimore next month to explore Maryland wines. Complete conference information and registration is available through the link above or clicking on the logos.
Maryland’s wine industry is somewhat overshadowed by Virginia’s, but the Free State has also enjoyed major growth in the number of wineries and in quality since the turn of the century. From just a dozen wineries in 2000, today Maryland has more than 60. Many of these are along what I call the Piedmont Arc, the eastern side of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains, stretching arguably from the mountains of northern Georgia up through western North Carolina and into Virginia, with its biggest concentration of wineries around Charlottesville and in Loudoun and Fauquier counties in Northern Virginia. You can follow the trail of wineries through central Maryland into southeastern Pennsylvania and even central New Jersey. In Maryland, there is also another geographic influence – the Chesapeake Bay. Several new wineries have sprung up in southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, taking advantage of the maritime climate. Looked at in this context, Maryland’s wineries are part of the emergence of an exciting new wine region.
There’s lots of fun to be had with Maryland wine. The state’s history is strong on hybrid grape varieties, but today red blends from Bordeaux varieties are showing beautifully. Several vintners are producing delicious wines from Italian varieties such as barbera, dolcetto and nebbiolo.
We’ll try to capture some of that fun and excitement when we convene in Baltimore next month. I hope you can join us. We’ll have three panel discussions featuring some of the luminaries of Maryland wine and cuisine, followed by lunch (with Maryland wine, of course) and the famous Twitter Taste-Off, featuring several Maryland wineries and the live taste and tweet experience. Drink Local Wine was one of the first – if not the first – to have a Twitter tasting when we held our first conference in Dallas, and it has been a hit every year since. We’ll be using hashtags #mdwine and #drinklocalwine. No, you don’t have to tweet in order to taste, but it definitely is a different experience to see instant reaction to the wines scrolling across the big screen.
This year’s conference is sponsored by the Maryland Wineries Association, which is doing a fantastic job organizing the festivities. And how cool is it to have the tasting in Camden Yards?
There’s other exciting Drink Local Wine news: We have a new logo, a new website to be launched before the conference, and we’ve decided to call the organization simply Drink Local Wine instead of DrinkLocalWine.com. That will still be our website address, of course. And don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page, another way to keep up with the latest news.
Drink Local Wine, the website that became an organization that ignited a movement. I hope you can join us in Charm City on April 13.