Far from the wine country of California or the vineyards of Italy, beautiful fields of grape vines also grow in Maryland wine country. Maryland offers more than just wine tastings and high-end dining, but a trip to the region will also be a respite from the rush and bustle of weekday life.
During the summer months, Maryland vineyards become a hub for summer activities. The natural landscape is the perfect background for picnics, family gatherings (with adult beverages to boot!), or even escapes with friends or other couples.
Unlike many wineries known for their high-brow tastings and dining, many Maryland’s wineries are gaining a reputation for the friendly and welcoming ambiance they offer to visitors. Patrons can have a taste of the best the area has to offer, but also enjoy their time there surrounded by friends and a warm, welcoming environment.
Wineries are a fast-growing commodity in Maryland; the first opened in 1945, with the second one following its lead in 1962. Since 2000, the growth has been dramatic with another one or two vineyards opening every year.
Maryland wine rarely makes it outside of the state, making vineyard-hopping in Maryland a must for all wine lovers. Within the state, there are five officially recognized wine trails, which cover five distinct microclimates and make for a wide choice of varietals. One winery alone offers over 19 varietals from their vineyards.
Because the art of winemaking is relatively new in the region, winemakers are open to more experimentation. Smaller batches of grapes lend themselves to more chances to blend and see what types of grapes might work with others. Or, how different humidity can change the flavor and depth of a certain blend of wines. Not playing by strict rules is one of the greater strengths of Maryland's wine scene. More experimentation blooms in the department of food in the area. Some vineyards in the area compliment their wine tastings with locally sourced food as well.
Nothing says summer more than a relaxing vacation, and what better way to top off a vacation than with a trip to a local winery. Many local vineyards offer more than just your typical wine-tasting during visits, below see a list of wineries that take full advantage of Maryland summers to offer more than your basic tasting.
1. Boordy Vineyards
The oldest of Maryland’s vineyards, this winery is located in the Long Green Valley, just northeast of Baltimore County. Their wine tastings are held in a 19th-century barn. Their wine tours are offered daily, and special events are held throughout the year. For the summer, they offer dancing and concerts under the stars. Only a half an hour away from downtown Baltimore, the winery is a perfect quick escape from the city all year round.
2. Linganore Winecellars
Linganore Winecellars celebrates summer with a collection of festivities - their summer festivals include the standard tasting of summer wines with musical accompaniment, so be ready to enjoy Caribbean music and reggae while sipping on your wine. Check out their website for more information about their summer events.
3. Layton’s Chance Winery
Along with the unique wine tasting room and fun vineyard tours, Layton’s Chance Winery holds fantastic events, from Karaoke happy hour to concerts. A picnic on the stunning grounds of Layton's Chance will take your day to a whole new level while you are enjoying sips from their wonderful wines made from Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc, Traminette, and Norton grapes.
4. Fiore Winery
With nearly twenty years of history with Italian winemaking traditions, Fiore brings old school winemaking and the experimental Maryland winemaking together so seamlessly. Take strolls with a glass of wine in your hand, surrounded by arbors and gardens, or have an intimate picnic amidst fountains and flowerbeds.
5. Big Cork Vineyards
The views alone are a draw for this vineyard. Enjoy your wine and a picnic on the grounds. Also, there is an adorable gift shop to bring home some of the wine and food you enjoyed that day. Big Cork Vineyards is without a doubt one of the most fun and innovative vineyards of Maryland.