Get Your Tastebuds Ready, It's Maryland Wine Festival Time in Westminster
Tens of thousands will travel to Westminster this weekend to enjoy wine from around the state.
Local vineyard owners are preparing their fruity elixirs for the most anticipated festival of the year--The Maryland Wine Festival.
This year's event will be held Sept. 17 and 18 at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Wine lovers can enjoy a host of activities and of course, Maryland wines, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
This unique festival has attracted tens of thousands of folks from all over the state and region for 28 years.
Each year the American Wine Society, a national nonprofit with more than 3,000 members, uses the festival to provide training and education while also promoting all aspects of the wine industry.
Education seminars offer participants the opportunity to learn the finities of wine--taste, aroma, color, clarity and finish. Wine-making demonstrations and exhibits show just how grapes are processed though different stages to create a fine wine.
Another popular festival activity is the wine judging event in which amateur wine makers can enter their creations and receive a friendly review. Each year, an amateur winner is selected by the American Wine Society.
The Governor's Cup Award is a coveted prize for participating wineries. Tastings are conducted throughout the day Saturday and finalists are selected and entered for consideration. The Governor's Cup award winner is announced late Saturday afternoon amidst the festivities.
Cygnus Wine Cellars in Manchester is one of 36 vineyards participating in this year's wine festival. Owner Ray Brasfield said one of his choices for tasters will be his 2011 Governor's Cup Gold medal winner --Cygnus Rose.
"This is a barrel fermented, barrel aged rose," he said. "Most Americans would think it should be served cold, but we serve it at a cool room temperature."
Cygnus will also be offering its sparkling wine selections. "This is one of the things that sets us apart at the festival," said Brasfield. "We are going to have a couple of our sparkling wine/champagnes there for tasting."
Visitors can enjoy live entertainment scheduled for both days. More than 40 artisans will be displaying their crafts and goods and more than 30 food vendors will offer an arrays of tempting food choices.
A special premier tent will be available for wine lovers interested in premium wines not served at the main festival. Special cuisine and private music will also be featured in a private tent situated apart from the hustle and bustle of the main festival.
Black Ankle Vineyards of Mt. Airy, Maryland will participate for their third year featuring special wine selections in the premier tent.
Sarah O'Herron, owner of Black Ankle said, "We have such a limited supply [of wine], so it keeps us from participating on a larger scale. The premier tent allows the focus to be on the wine in a more low key, quiet environment."
Tickets for the Maryland Wine Festival can be purchased in advance by accessing the Maryland Wine Festival site. Regular admission is $27 in advance and $30 at the gate. Advance tickets for the Premier Tent are $62; tickets at the gate are $65. Reduced rate tickets are available for designated drivers and children ages 13 to 20. Ages 12 and under are admitted free.
Here's a complete list of participating wineries:
Berrywine Plantations /
Black Ankle Vineyards (Premier Tent Only)
Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery
Cassinelli Winery & Vineyards
Cove Point Winery
Cygnus Wine Cellars
Deep Creek Cellars
Dove Valley Vineyard & Winery
Elk Run Vineyards & Winery
Far Eastern Shore Winery
Fridays Creek Winery
Galloping Goose Vineyard
Knob Hall Winery
Layton's Chance Vineyards & Winery
Little Ashby Vineyards
Penn Oaks Winery
Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery
Port of Leonardtown Winery
Running Hare Vineyard
Serpent Ridge Vineyard
Solomons Island Winery
St. Michaels Winery
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
Terrapin Station Winery
Tilmon's Island Winery
Woodhall Wine Cellars