Maryland’s Mighty Vanguard, Women Winemakers
March is women’s month. Many organizations are hosting events to recognize women in the wine industry. As recently as last week, Women of the Vine & Spirits Symposium Works for Advancement of Women in the Industry was held in Napa, California. Over 700 women and men gather to tell the stories of women in the industry.
Women are making noticeable advances in winemaking although the industry is still predominately led by men. Largely because vineyards are owned and operated by men especially in Old World and traditional wine producing countries, like France and New Zealand. Progressive regions, like California, are reporting an increase of women in winemaking. According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine 2016 article, “The 2015 graduating class from UC Davis’s enology and viticulture program was about half female, up from just one third in 1999.” This is exciting news, but the same article reported the number of top winemaking jobs growth did not ascend as quickly. The Women Winemakers of California Survey indicated “progress appears steady but slow” for ownership and lead winemakers.
Are Maryland women experiencing similar opportunities as the west coast? To help me answer this question, I consulted Catrina North, Winemaker at Crow Farm and Vineyard (Kennedyville, MD). Catrina answered a resounding “YES”. That was not the answer I was expecting. There over 70 wineries and vineyards in Maryland. There are only four women who are lead winemakers in Maryland. Old Westminster Winery, Port of Leonardtown Winery, and Knob Hall are the other vineyards in addition to Crow Farm and Vineyard. Four out of 72 does not appear extremely promising. How is this environment progressive?
Catrina explained Maryland is a new wine region. It is emerging, similar to how the New York’s Finger Lakes region was 10 years ago. Maryland is shaping its own path. The industry is not confined by tradition or does not have regulations limiting what types of grapes can be planted. Because of this, vineyard owners and winemakers are eager to try new and different vinifera to the region. They are also exploring new planting techniques. This brings Catrina back to why Maryland is as progressive as California. With an environment that is welcoming to setting new rules, it also embraces more women in leadership. Maryland has female vineyard owners, and women on winemakers’ staff.
Catrina’s baby face hides the fact she has been making wine for over 12 years. She studied winemaking in Australia in 2006. She was one of four women out of a class of 100. Her path to wine was direct. Unlike her male counterparts, who began careers in other industries and later pivoted to wine. Catrina’s career path began with studying the sciences to wine, similar to other female winemakers. This is notable because women are entering the business very early in their careers. Catrina and other women will have a longer and greater imprint on shaping the wine culture in Maryland.
This imprint is visible already. Lisa Hinton, Old Westminster Winery winemaker, uses pétillant-naturel method for making sparkling wines. Not a frequently used method in Maryland, but she is realizing success with it and trending in other markets. Port of Leonardtown Winery’s winemaker, Lauren Zimmerman talents have been recognized at many national and international wine competitions. Port of Leonardtown Winery as recently as this winter received several awards for its red wines at the East Meets West International Wine Competition.
Catrina enthusiasm for making wine is contagious. It is inspired by Crow Vineyard’s wine club members and the great team she works with. She is trying new techniques with the Vidal Blanc grape and I cannot wait to try it. This spirit shared by others and is spreading across Maryland. Thus, propelling the state to the forefront of the wine industry.
March is Maryland Wine Month
March is Maryland’s official wine month. March is an ideal time to visit Maryland’s vineyards and wineries. March is a slower time in the tasting rooms, not as crowded as the summer and fall months. Your visit is relaxed, and often there is live music. Take advantage of this opportunity. Now before you think it is too far to visit, there is almost a winery in every county. You may be surprise what is your backyard. There is a month full of events. Here is the calendar of events.
There are a couple of activities I want to highlight for you – Wine Month Challenge and Winemakers Series.
Wine Month Challenge
The state celebrated Maryland wine with Maryland Passport Experience in previous years. This fun activity allowed you to traverse the state sampling wine at all participating vineyards and wineries at a single price. The Passport Experience has been redesigned and now is Wine Month Challenge. You download a Challenge card and bring this card with you when you visit Maryland’s wineries and vineyards. Present the Challenge card and your card will be marked. Over 60 vineyards and wineries are listed. Submit your marked card to the Maryland Wine Association by April 10, 2017. You will receive rewards for visits. Rewards begin when you visit as few as five vineyards and you can receive 10 percent off specific wine festival events. Other rewards include invitations to exclusive Maryland Wine Association events. The Grand Prize is a Wine Lovers Weekend. Here is the list of rewards.
Winemakers Speaker Series
If you ever want to know what was the winemaker thinking, here is your time to ask. You can meet winemakers from around the state outside of the tasting room. Winemakers speaker series will be held throughout the state starting today at Crow Vineyard. An interactive seminar will occur every weekend in March. The seminars will be led by multiple winemakers. The final seminar discusses cider making. Below is the schedule of events. You can reserve your tickets here.
EASTERN SHORE: Vines & Variety @ Crow Vineyard March 5, 2017
What’s growing in Maryland?! Explore Vidal Blanc grown from around the state & learn about the exciting red varietals growing from Western MD to the Eastern Shore.
- Catrina North, Crow Vineyard
- Gary Cohen, Mazzaroth Vineyard
- Roy Albin, Royal Rabbit Vineyards
- William Layton, Layton’s Chance Winery & Vineyard
Crow Vineyard (12441 Vansant Corner Rd, Kennedyville, MD 21645) 1:00 pm -3:30pm
CARROLL CO: Everything Bubbly @ Old Westminster Winery March 12, 2017
An in-depth look into sparkling wines and the different methods, grapes and philosophies used to create them. Sample vaious wines of both méthode champenoise & pétillant-natural styles.
- Lisa Hinton, Old Westminster Winery
- Fred Wilson, Elk Run Vineyard
- Matt Cimino, Great Shoals Winery
Old Westminster Winery (1550 Old Westminster Rd, Westminster, MD 21157) 5:00 pm -7:30pm
FREDERICK CO: The Craft of Barrel Aging @ Linganore Winecellars March 12, 2017
Learn the ins and outs of Barrel Aging. Explore how wines change as they spend time in the barrel, about different types of oak & more! Also, get a sneak peek at what these winemakers are currently working on.
- Anthony Aellen, Linganore Winecellars
- Mike Lentini, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard
- Jacques van der Vyver, Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery
Linganore Winecellars (13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mt Airy, MD 21771) 1:00 pm -3:30pm
MONTGOMERY CO: The Mystery of the Mix @ Rocklands Farm March 19, 2017
Learn how to blend wine from the pros! They’ll walk you through their particular blending methods & strategies for white and red blends. Also, learn how port-style wines are made!
- TJ Flemming, Rocklands Farm
- Lauren Zimmerman, Port of Leonardtown Winery
- Dave Collins, Big Cork Vineyards
Rocklands Farm (14525 Montevideo Rd., Poolesville, MD 20837) 1:00 pm -3:30 pm
BALTIMORE CO: Anything But Grapes @ Millstone Cellars March 26, 2017
You know cider is made of apples and mead of honey, but what ELSE are our local makers using to make their product unique? Explore chili peppers, spices, berries, rhubarb & more!
- Curt Sherrer, Millstone Cellars
- Andrzej Wilk, Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery
- Linda Blades, Faulkner Branch Cidery
- James Boicourt, Charm City Meadworks
Millstone Cellars (2029 Monkton Road, Monkton, MD 21111) 1:00 pm -3:30pm
Live Music Events and Pet Friendly Wine Tastings
Wine’ing Maryland is your personal calendar of wine tasting activities in Maryland occurring over the weekend. The upcoming weekend’s events are published every Thursday. Send us your event or share events with us and we will posted. Click here to Contact Us Check out Live Music Events and Pet Friendly Wine Tastings and many more events that can be a part of your weekend.
Type of Activities
- Free Activities
- Charitable Events
- Family Events
- Arts & Crafts
- Food & Wine Tasting Events
March 2 – March 5, 2017
March 3, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
March 3, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
March 4, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
March 3, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
March 3, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pam
Mt. Airy, MD
March 4, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
March 4, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
March 4 -5, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
March 4 -5, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
March 4, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Ellicott City, MD
ARTS & CRAFTS
March 4, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
FOOD & WINE TASTING EVENTS
March 3, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
March 4, 2:00 – 3:30 PM
March 4 – 5, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Mt. Airy, MD
March 5, 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
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