Frederick Wine Trail
When Vino 301 started; we brainstormed about what to name our regional wine tours. We did not want to duplicate Maryland Wine Association’s wine trail names. In hindsight, it would have been easier to have names that played off the Maryland wine trails. Oh well, you live and you learn. After a lot of brainstorming and wine, we came up with the Westminster Region and Mountainview Region. Our guests who visited wineries along the Carroll trail could take the Westminster Region wine tour. Those interested in the Frederick trail would take the Mountainview Region wine tour. Having separate wine regions was a great idea, but in the beginning being a young company with a small team we could not staff both regions. We combined the regions and called the tour Westminster Mountainview Region wine. Over time, it became the Westminster Region wine tour. The Westminster Region tour is primarily composed of the Frederick Trail wineries.
Frederick Wine Trail Wineries
Black Ankle Vineyards (Mt. Airy, MD)
Catoctin Breeze Vineyard (Thurmont, MD)
Elk Run Vineyards & Winery (Mt. Airy, MD)
Hidden Hills Farm & Vineyard (Mt. Airy, MD)
Linganore Winecellars (Mt. Airy, MD)
Loew Vineyards (Mt. Airy, MD)
New Market Plains Vineyard (New Market, MD)
Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery (Thurmont, MD)
The Westminster Region wine tour is our most popular tour. It is the tour that most frequently is booked. I have some theories why …unproven, of course.
- Linganore Winecellars festivals are legendary. Their wine festivals are widely attended. Hundreds of people attend their festivals… coming from near and far. Linganore also has a very extensive wine tasting menu. You can try over 10 dry or sweet wined during your visit. Their sweet and fruit wines are extremely popular.
- Frederick is the “unofficial” foodie and drink capital of Maryland. A food and craft beverage eco-system has evolved attracting more visitors to this region.
- Black Ankle Vineyards established a new benchmark for Maryland wine. Prior to Black Ankle, Maryland was commonly known for sweet wines only, rightfully or wrongfully. After Black Ankle, the American wine industry started to view Maryland wine through new lenses. It’s Bordeaux style wines brought a sophistication and maturity to the region. Black Ankle is not solely responsible for changing the perception, but led the charge.
New to the Trail
Hidden Hills Farm & Vineyard and New Market Plains are the newest wineries to join the trail. They are boutique vineyards. They produce small batches of wine and have no intention of becoming a large production facility. Both are equally charming and have unique characteristics that make them memorable places to visit. You will find traditional dry wines when you visit, mostly white wines. The red wines are very limited and are still aging. If you taste something you like, buy it. There is no guarantee it will be available later.
More than wine
Springfield Manor Vineyard and Distillery began as a vineyard and lavender farm. The historic property has a beautiful tasting space, wedding venue and bed and breakfast. Their scenic views overlook the mountains. A couple years ago, they expanded their offering to include craft spirits. Springfield Manor’s Gin, Rum, and Vodka are as noteworthy as their wines. Springfield Manor is a fun place to visit… music, painting parties, crafts, food, so much to do. It is not a place where you quickly visit. Plan to spend some time.
Redshed Man Brewery shares Linganore Winecellars property. You can visit the Brewery when you go for your wine tasting.
Black Ankle is very conscience of limiting its carbon footprint while producing quality wines. It is their belief to sustain the vineyard’s resources for growing grapes. Their belief is not limited to the vineyard, but includes the tasting room. The tasting room is built from straw, clay, stone and wood from the farm. Electrical car charging stations are available.
Quality, award winning wines
The Frederick trail vineyards produce some of the best wines in Maryland. It is not by accident. The soils, climate, and elevations have tremendous influence on the quality of wines from this region. If you are a big, tannic red wine lover call this trail home. Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot grow extremely well in this region. Ask for the Petit Verdot when you visit Catoctin Breeze. It never disappoints. Albariño and Chardonnay also grow amazingly well here. It is one of the few regions that Chardonnay does well. One of the trail’s lesser known grapes is Seyval Blanc. It is a good alternative to the mainstream Pinot Gris. Stop by Loew Vineyard for their bright, well balanced Seyval Blanc.
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.
Always on the hunt for good wine, I heard rumors about a new vineyard opening near Mt. Airy, MD. I headed west to confirm the rumors. Stopping at Serpent Ridge Vineyard and Black Ankle Vineyard during my quest, I asked the tasting room staff if they knew about this new place. Some heard the same rumor but did not know the name of the new winery in Frederick, MD . Finally, I found one person who had a name…New Market Plains. But, she was not quite sure of its location. Armed with Google Maps, I was confident I could find it.
Minutes away from Mt. Airy, New Market Plains Vineyard is located in New Market, MD. The entrance is not obvious. The Vineyard shares the same road with Adventure Park USA. The road appears to dead ends, but it is actually the beginning of its driveway. Success, the rumors are true! (Hint: If you are using GPS, you should enter Monrovia, MD instead. The GPS may not locate the Vineyard if you use New Market, MD.)
When you enter the property, modern day noises are blocked out and you are taken back in time. The farm dates back to the 1700s and many of the original buildings remain intact. You forget New Market Plains is nettled between a major highway and a business park.
New Market Plains’s wines are all estate wines. Its first vintage was harvested in 2014 and bottled in April 2015. The first release included Chardonnay, Rich Forest Chardonnay and Rosé. Both Chardonnays are from the same vineyard. The Rich Forest Chardonnay was aged in oak and the other in steel. The Rich Forest has a very distinct character and is appealing to the palate. The wines are sophisticated and well-balance considering this is New Markets first vintage. The Rosé is a blend of reds. Its color is strikingly bold. I expected the nose to be fruity, but it was floral. The taste was reminiscent of a French Syrah Rosé. It is perfect to drink year-round. There wines are reasonably priced. ($25.00)
Sue and Howard proudly display the vineyard’s 2015 Governor’s Cup Silver Medal. An impressive feat for new winery.
During my visit, Sue offered to give me a tour of the property. I gladly accepted. Along the tour, Howard and Sue shared with me the history of the property. The property has been in Sue’s family for 10 generations. We toured their processing facility where they are aging their red wines. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah are aging. Looking forward to trying the reds.
It was a great adventure. Thrilled to try new Maryland wines. New Market Plains is a welcomed addition to Maryland’s wine community and a new winery in Frederick, MD. I encourage you to visit. New Market Plains is opened Friday through Sunday or by appointment.