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Maryland Wine Passport Experience FAQs

2016 Maryland Passport Experience Guided Tour FAQs 

Vino 301 is participating in the 2016 Passport Experience. The Passport Experience sound like a fun thing to do, but you still have questions?  We are happy to answer your questions.   Here are some answers to questions you may have. 
  • What comes with your Passport ticket?  Ticket holders will be privy to a free wine tasting and  behind-the-scene experience at each winery, a commemorative wine glass and 10% off all bottles that are just too good to leave without.  It also gets you discounts and promotions to several local attractions, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers so you may fully immerse yourself in all that each region has to offer.


  • How often can I use the Passport ticket?  You can use the Passport on all four days.


  • How much is Passport ticket? $25.00 per person. You buy your Passport ticket directly from the  Maryland Wine Passport Experience.   The ticket grants you access to all participating vineyards and wineries over both weekends.


  • Will I have to buy a Passport ticket and Vino 301 ticket?  Yes.


  • What is the difference between the Passport ticket and Vino 301 ticket?  Passport ticket is your tasting pass.  The ticket grants you access to all participating vineyards and wineries over both weekends. Vino 301 is your transportation and guided tour pass.


  • What do I get with the Vino 301 ticket? 
    • Transportation to ALL 6 wine trails
    • Knowledgeable and fun Tour Ambassador & driver
    • Light snacks & beverages


  • Does Vino 301 have weekend passes?  Yes.  You can buy a single day or weekend pass.


  • Can you mix trail passes when you purchase a Vino 301 weekend pass? Yes.  For example,  you can go along the Patuxent Wine Trail on Saturday and Chesapeake Wine Trail on Sunday.


  • How long is the Vino 301 wine tour? 12 noon – 6 pm


  • Will Vino 301 go to all 6 Wine Trails?  Yes


  • Where are the pick up locations?
    • Big Cork Vineyard (Antietam Highlands Wine Trail)
    • Linganore Wine Cellars (Carroll Wine Trail)
    • Clovelly Vineyard (Chesapeake Wine Trail – Saturday)
    • Casinelli Vineyard (Chesapeake Wine Trail – Sunday)
    • The Winery at Olney (Frederick Wine Trail)
    • Port of Leonardtown (Patuxent Wine Trail – Saturday)
    • Fridays Creek Winery (Patuxent Wine Trail – Sunday)
    • Boordy Vineyard (Piedmont Wine Trail – Saturday)
    • Fiore Vineyard (Piedmont Wine Trail- Sunday)


  • What time should I arrive at the pick up location? We recommend arriving at the pick location between 11:00 am and 11:30 am.  You can begin your tasting at the first location before we depart to the other vineyards.  We will be departing at 12:00 noon.


  • What wineries and vineyards are participating?

Antietam Highlands Wine Trail (Washington County)

  • Big Cork Vineyards
  • Distillery Lane Ciderworks
  • Orchid Cellar
  • Winery Knob Hall Winery
  • Red Heifer Winery

Carroll Wine Trail (Carroll County)

  • Cygnus Wine Cellars
  • Serpent Ridge Vineyard & Winery

Chesapeake Wine Trail (Kent, Cecil, Queen Anne, and Talbot Counties)

  • Cassinelli Winery
  • Clovelly Vineyard
  • Crow Farm
  • Layton’s Chance Vineyard
  • St. Michael’s Winery
  • Triple Creek Winery
  • Turkey Point Vineyard

Frederick Wine Trail (Montgomery and Frederick Counties)

  • Great Shoals Winery
  • Linganore Wine Cellars
  • Rockland Farm Winery
  • The Winery at Olney

Patuxent Wine Trail (Prince George’s, Calvert, St. Mary’s Counties)

  • Cove Point Winery
  • Fridays Creek Vineyard & Winery
  • Perigeaux Vineyard & Winey
  • Port of Leonardtown
  • Romano Vineyard & Winery
  • Running Hare Vineyard
  • Slack Vineyard
  • Solomons Island Winery

Piedmont Wine Trail (Baltimore and Harford Counties)

  • Boordy Vineyards
  • Dejon Vineyard
  • Fiore Winery
  • Harford Vineyard & Winery
  • Millstone Cellars
  • Royal Rabbit Vineyards
  • Woodhall Wine Cellars

Still have questions not answered here.  Do not hesitate to post them on our blog, or email us at info@vino301.  We will respond timely. You can also Tweet  your questions to #ASKMDWine.  

Hopefully, we will see you along one of MD’s wine trails.  Cheers! 

Selecting the Best Wines for Thanksgiving

Best Wines for Thanksgiving

Regardless if you are hosting or you going to someone’s home you are probably trying to decide what wine should be paired with dinner.  People frequently ask, “What is the perfect wine to serve with Thanksgiving meal?”  Answer:  There isn’t a perfect wine.  There are so many rich and varying flavors, it is impossible to select just one wine.  However there are wines that pair better with thanksgiving.  What are the best wines for Thanksgiving?


Start at your local fine wine store.  Wine stores offer wine tastings on a weekly or daily basis during the holiday season.  You can call or go on their website to find out what days the tastings are available. These tastings are often free.  The store will pour between 4 to 6 wines. This is great opportunity for you to try different varietals.


Bring your dinner menu with you.  The wine representative can offer suggestions on what to pair with the wine. You may find your new favorite wine.


If the store is not offering a tasting, you still may have an opportunity to try an instore tasting.  You may ask the sales person to uncork the wine you are serious about purchasing.  Some stores will uncork the bottle for you.


If you cannot attend an instore tasting, there are no fail wine selection tips you can employee.

TIP #1 – Go with sparkling wine. Everyone likes a sparkling wine (well almost everyone).  Sparkling wine is the most versatile wine.  It is the little black dress of the wine world; it is good for any occasion.  It can be paired with almost any meal.  Try a dry sparkling wine, a brut, with your meal and a demi-sec, sweeter sparkling with dessert. Great Shoals2012 Cuvee Blanc Sparkling Wine, is a Maryland sparkling that is a blend of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc in a brut style. It is a great way to begin your meal. Best Wines for Thanksgiving


TIP #2 – Some like white, some like red, offer both.  Rarely will all your guests like only white wine or only red. Offer them a choice.  You will look like a very sophisticated host.


TIP #3 – Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Albarĩno are great complements to side dishes.  Stay away from oaky Chardonnay; it can overwhelm your meal.  You can locate Albarĩno at local vineyards like Black Ankle Vineyard and Serpent Ridge.


TIP #4 – Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel complements your hearty and savory dishes. You also can try red blends. Red wine blends, like Meritage and Bordeaux, are excellent with turkey legs and dark meat.


Have a very, very safe and happy Thanksgiving!  Vino 301 Wine Concierge is thankful for your continued support and we wish you well during this holiday season.  Cheers!

Grand Opening of Old Westminster Winery Tasting Room

Vino 301 Wine Concierge’s first endeavor was a self-guided tour of Maryland’s vineyards and wineries.  For a flat fee, a person could go to all of the participating wineries across Maryland and enjoy a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. Great project … right?  Well, not so much.  Vino 301 just started and no one knew who we were. No one was interested in taking a chance on a new company. It was a challenge convincing vineyard owners to take a chance on us.


There was one vineyard that stood out during that time.  They were fairly new too.  They just opened their tasting room and were abundantly cautious about participating in our project.  They had their own woes of being a new business. Several calls were placed; selling the merits of this endeavor to the General Manager, Drew Baker.  Mr. Baker finally agreed to Old Westminster Winery participating.   I would love to say the event was a huge success. It wasn’t and we had to cancel it.  However, it was the beginning of partnership between our organizations.


What a difference three years makes.  Since that time, Old Westminster Winery has grown and experienced tremendous success.  Old Westminster officially opened a newer and grander new tasting room earlier in this month.  “It looked like someone’s home, with a huge front porch and beautiful lights, just begging you to come in and have a drink”, is how someone described Old Westminster’s newly opened tasting room.  The building is airy with vaulted ceilings, and plenty of space to socialize.  Outside is beautifully landscaped.  Most of the construction was completed by the family, which is not surprising.  Old Westminster Winery is synonymous with family.  Each member of the Baker family contributes to the success of the vineyard.


Old Westminster is a must visit.  You can bring a picnic with you, but they do have food to purchase. You are always greeted by warm and friendly people, who are extremely knowledgeable about the wines they are pouring.  The staff is always happy to answer any questions you have, even the geeky questions, like what was the growing elevation for these grapes.  On the weekends, they have live entertainment.Farmer Fizz Sparkling Wine


Most importantly, you have to sample the wine. Old Westminster is known for its award winning wines. Our new favorite is the 2014 Farmer Fizz.  Just in time for the holidays.  It is a sparkling wine. Chardonnay-dominated blend. It has crisp apple and citrus flavors, followed by a touch of apricot.  It is youthful, fresh and crisp.

Congratulations Old Westminster Winery and much success.  We look forward to our continued partnership.

Wine’ing for Charity While Celebrating Wine Tourism Day

What is better than chocolate and wine?  Enjoying chocolate and wine for charity!  Vino 301 Wine Concierge is participating in Wine Tourism Day on November 7, 2015.  For the third annual Wine Tourism Day, Vino 301 Wine Concierge will be donating portion of its Chocolate and Wine Tour  proceeds to the Bowie Food Pantry  Bowie Food Pantry provides emergency financial assistance and food.Wine Tourism Day


Wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine tourism businesses across North America and beyond are offering special events to the public on this day to celebrate the importance (and fun) of wine tourism. Events are being planned in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Events differ and can range from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings.  Organizations that participate in Wine Tourism Day will be donating a portion of their earnings for that day towards a local charity or non-profit of their choice.


The Chocolate and Wine Tour is a fan favorite of our guests.  On Wine Tourism day we are headed to Parfections for our Chocolate and Wine Tour.  Maryland wine is paired with handmade gourmet truffles and chocolate barks.  Vino 301 Wine Concierge will transport you to Parfections store where the tour begins.  To learn more about this tour click here


“We believe if the wine tourism industry as a whole is successful, we all succeed as individuals,” says Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures.  “This year, we’d like to take it a step further and extend that philosophy into the community, which is why this year’s Wine Tourism Day is focused on giving back to local charities.”


Wine Tourism Day is being supported by a number of industry partners including LocalWineEvents.com, Touring and Tasting Marketing & Media, WineAmerica, Canadian Vintners, Visit Penticton, BeverageTradeNetwork.com, Wine Trail Adventures, The Tasting Panel, WineBusiness.com, Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, Wine Industry Network (WIN), Wine Institute, CANVAS, and the Wine Tourism Conference in addition to wine and tourism associations in wine regions throughout North America.


To learn more about Wine Tourism Day or to locate activities near you http://www.winetourismday.org/

Summer Sangria Sorbet

Summer, sun, and sangria sorbet! Your favorite summertime drink just became your new favorite refreshing summer treat! Sangria sorbet is an easy dessert to make during the hot summer months that will leave your friends thinking you are a gourmet chef. The flexibility behind the recipe allows you chose your favorite fruity wine to add as the main ingredient. Sangria sorbet is a fun way to cool down in the summer!  We want to thank Dessert For Two for this tasting recipe.


Sangria Sorbet

Makes 2 cups


6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup fruity red wine (your favorite Maryland Wine, of course)

⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 3 oranges)

zest from 1 orange

1 tablespoon orange liquor (or peach moonshine)


  1. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, stir together the sugar and water. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, stir together until sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together well. Cover and chill completely, at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
  3. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s direction. Scrape the churned sorbet into a dish, cover and place in the freezer for a few hours to firm up.Sangria Sorbet

Great Shoals Winery Brings Maryland Ciders to the Capital Region

Looking for a local winery that produces extravagant wines and ciders? Great Shoals Winery is the perfect winery for you. The winery has been in producing great wines for about five years now. Two years ago, Great Shoals moved to their location in Silver Spring, Maryland. Now that they do not have a remote location, business has been booming. It is tucked away in a local farmers market.  You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as, Maryland wine when you visit Great Shoals. Their tasting room has attracted wine lovers from all over.Wine Club at Great Shoals


In addition to their lovely wines, Great Shoals offers sweet ciders made from fresh whole fruits. Making their wines and ciders from whole fruits and not from concentrate or artificial flavors gives the wines at Great Shoals a distinct taste loved by all. The ciders Great Shoals produces ranges from very sweet to drier champagne style ciders. People who do not drink cider often tend to love the drier champagne style cider due to its rich bubbly flavor. Make sure to keep a close look on the new release for this summer. In just a few weeks, Great Shoals will be releasing they Strawberry draft and their Cherry cider.


Great Shoals Tasting RoomSince they are conveniently located, join Great Shoals on Wednesday night for a night filled with live music and delicious wines. Sara Nuttle will be performing live and Great Shoals will be featuring their stainless steel chardonnay.   Check out their Facebook page Great Shoals Winery for more information!

Handcrafted Wine Racks

Purchasing wine can be an investment.  You want to make sure are properly storing your wine to maintain your investment. I have often dreamed about having a custom wine cellar. It is the ultimate in luxury.  However, most of us do not have the disposable income to build a wine cellar and have it installed in our home.

Do not despair, we have an alternative solution.  we can afford a handcrafted wine rack, or sports memorabilia made from vintage wood. A wine rack that is, in fact, compact and durable. Rich and Crystal Hill, the owners of Vintage Soul, have satisfied that need with their craftsmanship.sport racks

Vintage Soul, a company that began on a farm, has perfected in making durable wooden wine racks. Rich Hill has created masterpieces using his bare hands. You can customize your own wine rack to your own unique decor, beauty does come with a budget! For added flare, get the entire family involved with this project, it will create memories for generations to come along with a beautiful homemade wine rack!tier wine rack

If you are interested in getting a wine rack, or something for your man cave, you can contact him at: rcvintagesoul@gmail.com or 410-977-5575.

Contemporary Winery at Eat. Drink. Go Local Festival

In a competitive market wine companies are now going above and beyond their competitors to win over the crowd with unique twists to classic favorites. Most recently, wine vendors from around the local area came together at “Eat. Drink. Go local: North Beach,” to explore the different flavors of the robust Maryland area wineries.


The Winery at Olney won over the crowd with their exotic flavored wines expertly handcrafted to be the perfect balance of new and old flavors. In just three years, the have become the third largest producer of wine in the state. It must have something to do with their specialty fruity wines. At the Winery at Olney, they offer flavors such as peach chardonnay, blackberry merlot, and raspberry peach sangria. Who knew the perfect combination of those flavors would create such a delicious drink. tasting menu olney


In addition to their expertly crafted wines you have the power to create your own handcrafted masterpiece. Once you choose one of the thirty different wines they have to offer, you will mix, stir, and add yeast to your batch. You will then return four to five weeks later to create a label for your wines. Check out how to get started today!

Father’s Day Gifts and Suggestions

Most people view it as a day to celebrate dads and fatherhood. They want to acknowledge the sacrifices they gave for there kids large and small. People want their fathers to know that all those sacrifices are appreciated.


It is a day to honor them for teaching their children and others how to be hard working, self driven, brave, and confident. This Father’s Day we should cherish every moment we spend with them.


Being a father is one of the toughest jobs in the world, I mean it’s a 24/7 job, so you never really get a break. Well, what better way to celebrate than at a great winery, with fantastic staff, and even better wine! And for the wives that have absolutely no idea where to take their husbands on their special day, I can assure you that this is the perfect place to celebrate such a wonderful occasion. Great food, great music, great fathers and great wine! Come explore the abundance of wines Maryland wineries have to offer.


Here are a few ideas for spending time with your father on his special day.

  • Fishing: spend the afternoon with your father trying to catch a few guppies.
  • Visit a Winery: Take your father to a winery.  Recently Vino 301 served  Albarino 2013, Bodegas Gonzalez-Ruggiero (Rising Sun, MD),  at a wine tasting event.  It was a crowd favorite among the other wines.  You do not get an opportunity to experience new Maryland wines, aside from going to wine tasting events, unless you visit the vineyards.  Visiting vineyards is a great activity to enjoy with dad.
  • Baseball Tickets: Take your father to a Washington Nationals game with the family.
  • Hiking: Take your father to Sugarloaf Mountain!  At the end of your hike, you can stop at Sugarloaf Mountain Winery for a glass of wine.
  • Dining Out: Take your father out to his favorite restaurant.
  • Relax: Spend Quality time with your father, maybe even take him out to the movies.


For more great ideas check out Vino 301 Wine Concierge Pinterest Boards.  Click here Father’s Day Ideas 

Wine, Ice Cream = A New Way to Enjoy Wine at the Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival

The Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival was a lively day filled with great opportunities to explore the vast world of food and wine. Located in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival was a huge success. Friends and families from across the state gathered together to taste the delicious food and wines the vendors had to offer. The food ranged from Caribbean beef patties to Good ol’ American burgers. And yes, they did have an ice cream station for the children. They also provided live music for everyone to enjoy. The music played consisted of classic rock to old school funk.


The vendor that stood out the most was WineCream. Man was it interesting! We all know that wine can be used for many purpose, like a base in a cocktail. Who knew that you could make wine ice cream?!?  WineCream has done it! You may ask yourselves how does it work? Well, first, you pick your wine. Lets say mixed berry for example. Then you mix it with an Ice cream base. Once you have done that it is flashed frozen with liquid nitrogen. And there you have it! A delicious 6 ounce cup of wine ice cream that contains the same alcohol content as a normal glass of wine.




Crossroad Company, creators of WineCream, is a small family-run business of Baltimore, Maryland.  They make their delicious creams made to order, so every serving of WineCream has a distinct twist and unique flavor loved by all. Check out Crossroad Company’s website to find out what festival their scrumptious WineCream will be next http://www.crossroadco.com/schedule/.


The combination of great food, delicious wines, and exhilarating music resulted in the Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival complete success. If you are interested in attending another event like this, visit the Maryland Wine Association Festival page for more Maryland festivals. Click here for details Maryland Wine Festivals.

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