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Port of Leonardtown Winery

Powerhouse Winemaker, Lauren Zimmerman

Powerhouse Winemaker, Lauren Zimmerman

Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry

Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry

Last month I attended a ceremony honoring the 2018 Governor’s Cup Competition winners. The Governor’s Cup Competition is Maryland’s wine competition recognizing the state’s best wines.  Port of Leonardtown Winery was among the wineries of distinction honored at this reception.  Port of Leonardtown Winery (Leonardtown, MD) won top honors – Best in Show for its Barbera Reserve 2015.  Port of Leonardtown Winery didn’t stop there.  Their wines took home –not one, not two, not three, but SEVEN gold medals in 2018.  A first in Maryland winery history for a winery to win seven gold medals for seven of the eight wines entered in the competition.


Who?  Who is the person behind this history making event and leaving lasting impressions on Maryland’s wine industry? It is powerhouse winemaker, Lauren Zimmerman.  She is making finely crafted wines.  She answered the question asked for centuries: “Is wine making a science or an art?”  Her wines clearly demonstrate it is an art.  Winemaking starts with the science of fermenting grapes, but Port of Leonardtown wines end with priceless art.   In every glass is complexity, dimension, and passion that tells a story which only an artist could convey.  Please do not mis-interrupt my statement to imply technical skill is missing, which is frequently hinted when people describe female winemakers. It is a given these wines are technically solid.


Lauren has been mastering her craft for 14 years.  Her youthful appearance makes it hard to believe she has been in the industry for a stretch of time.  She literally started as a child and developed a love for all aspects of wine.


Our chat with Lauren took place at the newly renovated Port of Leonardtown Winery tasting room.  It is a great place to visit. Bring your friends, family, even your pet with you when you go wine tasting.  There is a park directly across from the tasting room.   The Winery is opened daily.  We recorded the video in barrel room. Hence, why we are wearing the coats in the video.  It was a special treat to be in the barrel room.  Visitors do not often have a chance to enter the processing area.


Our chat with Lauren was a perfect way to begin the weekend.  Please enjoy my chat with Lauren.



Stay tuned for more videos in March.  We love to hear from you about who you think should be celebrated this month.

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Uniquely Maryland: Places to visit near Maryland’s vineyards

Uniquely Maryland

Vino 301 Tour Ambassadors have the pleasure every weekend viewing Maryland’s beautiful landscapes.  Sometimes we take our front row seat for granted. Thank goodness for our tour guests to remind us how lucky we are.  They remind us about the uniqueness of the state. A guest always remarks about how stunning the state is. Commenting about the sweeping farmlands and rural areas. The scenic views remind them that Maryland is more than urban centers.

Maryland is referred to “America in the miniature”.  Similar to the United States, the old line state is composed of mountains, beaches, cities and country landscapes wrapped up in our tiny little state.  There are places and things to do that are uniquely Maryland.  We pulled together a list of a few things you can take in while you are out and about enjoying Maryland’s vineyards.


Crab and Oyster Trails

What goes better with wine?  Crabs and Oysters.  Some would argue beer, but for the purposes of this blog, I say WINE.  Maryland vintners have perfected Albariño wine.  The native Spanish grape has made a big impact and it is grown in almost every wine region in the state.  Its citrus flavors, hints of minerality, and medium body characteristics are the perfect backdrop to Maryland’s iconic crustaceans.  The crab and oyster trails are a collection of Maryland restaurants seafood markets, tours, and events.  The trails are organized by five fun regions, Capital, Central, Eastern Shore, Southern and Western Maryland.

Uniquely Maryland

credit: Only In Your State

Tubing in Gunpowder Falls State Park

Driving from Basignani Winery to Boordy Vineyards, we see people walking along the road and carrying tubs, towels or kayaks.  They are headed to Gunpowder Falls, the largest park in the state, to leisurely float along Big Gunpowder Falls River.  The park spans from Baltimore to Frederick counties and reaches Pennsylvania.  The Hereford Area, located in northern Baltimore County, is 3,620 acres of scenic wilderness.  The Big Gunpowder Falls River is a part of this outdoor haven. Many travel to this area to canoe, kayak and tube throughout the year. Bring your own flotation device.  Here is your guide to Gunpowder Falls Park.

Hiking in Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain Winery sits about a mile from the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, Maryland. The Winery is a popular endpoint for hikers who hike the Sugarloaf Mountain trail. Sugarloaf Mountain Winery is known for its annual Stomp event.  Stomp ushers in the fall and harvest season and is a grape stomping competition. Five trails traverse the mountain. The trails range from a couple of miles to six miles. The mountain property is owned by Stronghold Incorporated, a non-profit organization, who manages and maintains the property.  You can get trail information from Stronghold Incorporated website.

Discovering Maryland’s History

If you were ever curious about Maryland’s history head to historic St. Mary’s City. You step back in time to the 17th century when you visit historic St. Mary’s City.  Historic St. Mary’s City is a living history encounter where you can participate in hands-on activities, learn about archaeology, and journey along nature trails.  You will witness Maryland’s first years reenacted. Tours are available.  On your way home stop by the Port of Leonardtown Winery.  A trailblazing winery located in St. Mary’s county.  Its Rosé and Chambourcin wines are charting Maryland on the world’s wine map.



I hope this is the start of your journey to visit uniquely Maryland attractions.  For more information about Maryland, sites go to visitmaryland.org


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