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Maryland wine month

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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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.

Enjoyed this blog?  Great, receive more Vino 301 blogs twice a month. Subscribe to Vino 301’s email list and receive your very own copy of our blog. Subscribe here


Wine Month Challenge & Winemakers Series: March is Maryland Wine Month

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

Wine Tourism DayThe 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.

March is Maryland Wine Month

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


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