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Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry

Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry

Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry

March is Maryland wine month and women’s history month.  What an outstanding duo! Vino 301 recognizes some of the women who make Maryland wines phenomenal.  We chat with several women who work in the wine industry. We visit tasting rooms, barrel rooms, and even board rooms to discuss their roles in the industry.  It’s exciting times in Maryland.  Maryland wine industry is experiencing record growth. We seek these phenomenal women insights how they foresee the future of the industry.

Celebrating women in Maryland’s wine industry is video series.  The series begins with Lynn Basignani, co-owner of Basignani Winery (Sparks, MD).  Basignani Winery is among the original 13 vineyards which established Maryland’s wine industry.  Basignani started as a passion project and grew into a labor of love. Lynn and Bert, winemaker and co-owner, have operated Basignani Winery for since 2016.  Bert is the master vintner, but Lynn is the heart and soul behind the tasting room and events.  She is very modest about managing a successful business.

Our chat with Lynn takes place in Basignani’s quaint and inviting tasting room.  The walls are aligned with vintage wine bottles from all over the world. We discuss how she got started in the business and how her role evolved over time.  Lynn shares with us her favorite wine they make and their brick oven pizza.  OMG!  You have to go to Basignani for their brick oven pizza.  A perfect Friday night is sitting on Basignani’s lawn, a glass of Lorenzino Reserve and their mushroom pizza.  That is good living!

We also talk about Basignani’s newest project, its wine club.  Their wine club replaced their case club.  We talk about why it was important to make this change to the wine club and building a better relationship with their loyal customers.  If you are fan of Basignani’s wines, you can visit or contact them to learn more about their wine club.

Our chat with Lynn was a great way to start a winter Saturday morning.  Please enjoy my time with Lynn.



Stay tuned for more videos in March.  We love to hear from you.

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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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Discovering Piedmont Wine Trail

Piedmont Wine Trail

wine trails 

Most people who have ever visited a Maryland winery have traveled along the Piedmont Wine Trail. The Piedmont Wine Trail is home to the oldest vineyard and attracts over 80,000 visitors a year.  The Trail’s attraction may be due to its diversity. It is pleasing to a variety of palates.  Wine, spirits, cider, mead and  ice cream, yes I said ice cream, can be found along the Piedmont Wine Trail.  The Trail’s setting is another element of its attraction. Spanning from Baltimore City to Harford County, it attracts both sides of the coin… those who enjoy an urban tasting experience as well as those who prefer a traditional countryside wine tasting.   Let’s begin our journey discovering the Piedmont Wine Trail:

Basgnani Winery (Sparks, MD)

Boordy Vineyards (Hydes, MD)

CharmCity Mead Works (Baltimore, MD)

Dejon Vineyard (Hydes, MD)

Fiore Winery & Distillery ( Pylesville, MD)

Harford Vineyard (Forest Hill, MD)

Millstone Cellars (Monkton, MD)

Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery ( Havre de Grace)

Royal Rabbit Vineyards (Parkton, MD)

WineCream (Baltimore, MD)


Traveling the Trail

People often forgot vineyards are farms.  They are small family-owned farms.  You witness this when you travel the Piedmont trail.  Beautiful acres of vineyards, corn and other crops native to Maryland.  The tasting rooms are quaint, cozy places like Basignani Winery and Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery.  The venues are often staffed by family members.  This is kinda cool.  The staff works side by side  the winemaker.  The winemaker is also pouring wine in the tasting room.  You can meet Roy Albin, Royal Rabbit’s wine maker when you visit. Tasting room staff are able to give you first hand account of the wine making process.  You get interesting stories  about whats in the bottle. You will never get by reading the back of the bottle.


Fiore WInery & Distillery

Redefining Dessert Wine

Sherry, Port, Maderia, Ice Wine are the styles of dessert wines commonly mentioned when people discuss dessert wines.   Ice cream is sometimes accompany these dessert wines.  But, what about ice cream wine.  Your dessert wine is ice cream.  Wine is one of the main ingredients of this homemade gourmet ice cream.  Just because they use wine  in the ice cream, how does this make  the Piedmont Wine Trail?  WineCream makes the wine, they are winemakers.   You cannot buy the wine independently.  The wine is made to use in the ice cream. It is Maryland’s first and only winery and creamery.

Prior to this year, you could only try WineCream at wine festivals or private tastings.  WineCream officially opened its tasting room early this summer.  Located in west Baltimore City in a historic industrial building, it is like other tasting rooms.  You are guided through their tasted menu during your visit.  You must make an appointment and 21 years and older to try the boozy delight.


Maryland’s Oldest Vineyard

Boordy Vineyard is the oldest commercial vineyard in Maryland.  Yes, Maryland winemaking has been around since 16th century, but Boordy Vineyard has been operating consistent for over 70 years.  It is widely popular its summer concerts brings hundreds of people to the vineyard on a weekly basis.  It is great family fun. You can bring a picnic, the kids, and your friends.  Buy your ticket in advance; the concerts usually sell out.

What brings hundreds of people to these concerts?  The music is great.  The bands are fun cover bands but you are not going to see headliners like Beyonce.  So what is it?  It is the wine.  Boordy has a three tier wine series. There is something for everyone.  Sweetland is Boordy’s sweet wine series, like Sangria, Jazzberry and peach wine.  Boordy has a table wine series, known as the Maryland Icons.   Sketchings of iconic Maryland symbols such as the crane, oriole and blue crab are on the wine labels. The Icon series has dry and semi-dry wines.  The last series is the Landmark series. It is Boordy’s reserve wines.  Your serious wine drinkers would have appreciation for the Landmark wines.


Ciders and Meads

Cider and mead evoke thoughts of New Year’s Eve sparkling aperitif. The cider reserved for the designated driver.  Well…erase those thoughts from your mind.  CharmCity Mead Works and Millstone Cellars ciders and meads are dry.  You may find a semi-dry on their tasting menus, which  is the closest you will get to New Year’s cider.  The ciders and meads are contemporary, even trendy.  So trendy, the beverages are used in cocktails in DC’s hotest restaurants.  Unlike many Maryland wines, these meads and ciders are widely distributed.  You can find them in many grocery stores, fine wine stores, and restaurants.

CharmCityMead Works taproom is moving to a new location on Preston Street in Baltimore City.  The taproom new location is scheduled to open late September or early October.  When you visit you can enjoy mead tastings and a tour.

A mile or two before you arrive at Millstone Cellars you will notice cars parked along the roadway. People abandon their cars to tube or to kayak along Gunpowder River. The River runs under Millstone Cellars building. The building is a historic mill.  Millstone offers a tour of the mill to everyone.  The staff shares with you during the tour how the building was used by bootleggers during Prohibition.  The mill is just as interesting as Millstone’s cider and cysers.  The ciders are gluten free and vegan friendly.  They locally source the apples and fruits. Ginger, rhubarb, and strawberry are some of the fruit and spices used as accents in the ciders.  You can try a flight of ciders or a glass on tap. Take a visit to Millstone. You must experience the Mill at least once.


Distillery and Tradition

Fiore Winery and Distillery is known for its traditional Italian-style wine.  They have been making wine for over 30 years. While you are visiting Fiore try their distilled spirits. True to their Italian heritage, they offer Italian spirits like Grappa, an after dinner drink,  and Limoncello, Italian liqueur.  I encourage to try them after your wine tasting.  It will top off your visit.  In addition to the Grappa and Limoncello, Fiore offers other spirits. Whisky, Brandy and Vodka are also on the menu.

Read and sip along with Vino 301

It isn’t fun to just read about the wine, you should taste too. We are giving away prize packages every week of the series.  You can try the wine with us. Enter a chance to win Vino 301’s give away.

Prize Package Give Away

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