Piedmont Wine Trail
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.
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.
This summer I fell in love. I didn’t think it was possible, but I did. I fell in love with most amazing wine gadget. In this industry you come across a lot of wine gadgets.. some good, mostly bad. You become enamored, but not in love.
At the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference, I witnessed an impossible feat. Well, what I thought was impossible. Pour a glass of wine without removing the cork. Yes, you read it correctly. The wine bottle opener permits you to pour wine with the cork remaining in the bottle. What wine bottle opener allows you to perform this action? It is a Coravin Wine System. Witness how the Coravin works.
I know this sounds like an infomercial, but it is the ultimate tool for a wine lover. Wine typically last 3 to 5 days once you remove the cork. The Coravin allows you to enjoy the wine longer. The wine is not exposed and your consumption time is lengthen. I fell in love when I learned this fact. I could enjoy a bottle of wine without worrying about it expiring. You had me at Coravin.
The Coravin can only be used on natural corks and not synthetic corks or screw tops. Also, avoid using the opener on sparkling wines. The Coravin retails at $299.00. It is an investment and cannot be compared to your typical wine bottle opener. The wine bottle opener is worth the investment for those who invest in their wine.
Treat the wine lover in your life, which may be you. You are worth it.