We’re excited about putting Maryland wine on the map!
And what makes this even more thrilling is that we aren’t the only ones. The timing is aligning with a lot of interest in the press and it confirms to us that we’re well on our way.
Maryland is ready for the production of noteworthy wines.
Are you ready?!!
We’re grateful that news outlets like The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, New York Cork Report, Penn Live, and The Daily Record have all taken notice, and are sharing THE STORY.
Here’s what the publications are saying…
The Washington Post
The Baltimore Sun
New York Cork Report
The Daily Record
By Drew Baker
Have you ever enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine that was grown and produced locally? We certainly have. Sure, Maryland may not (yet) have the same venerable notoriety as other regions of the world for fine winemaking, but the secret is getting out: noteworthy wines are being produced here.
So with that in mind, track with me on this thought: Ever been to a “farm-to-table” restaurant that didn’t feature a single local wine?
There’s a disconcerting disconnect here – an elephant in the restaurant: Grapes grown, produced, and bottled on another continent are featured at destinations purported to be designed for locavores.
Friends, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are the 3 main reasons local restaurants don’t feature local wines:
1. Some folks don’t see wine as a local farm product.
Delicious wine is grown on real farms. At Old Westminster Winery, we pour our hearts and souls into producing great American wines on our little slice of this planet. It all starts in the vineyard. We only have two goals in our winery: 1) produce a balanced wine that reflects both the vineyard and the vintage; 2) don’t screw up what we’ve grown – count it as sacred.
2. Restauranteurs aren’t feeling any pressure from their customers.
Don’t you think it’s time for “farm-to-table” restaurants to put their menu where their message is? We do. No more free passes for the elephant in their dining room: a purely International wine list.
Now don’t get me wrong, we all love Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy. And I also recognize the differences between a local tomato and a local bottle of wine. But just like any other ingredient, the best local wines are worth seeking out and deserve a place on any wine list.
3. Inconsistency plagues many local wineries.
Local wineries aren’t without any fault. For every great wine being made, there are others that aren’t serviceable. Our industry needs to start taking its own reputation seriously and cater to thoughtful consumers. Growing world-class wines locally starts with a committed winegrower thoughtfully farming a good vineyard site. This formula yields grapes fit for the production of remarkable wines. It’s time we celebrate producers taking this task seriously and cut bait with the others.
At Old Westminster Winery, we’re doing our part to craft distinctive wines fit for the most prestigious wine lists. And we’re so thankful for the dozens of restaurants that proudly feature our wines.
But we’re just getting started. The tide is shifting. Let's work together to put Maryland wine on the map.
by Drew Baker
There’s a new sparkling wine on the scene. Okay, actually, it’s ancient. Pétillant naturel (commonly called "pét-nat") is an all-but-forgotten wine style enjoying revival. Pét-nat is popping again with the attention of sommeliers and wine enthusiasts around the globe.
This simple, natural style of sparkling wine made its debut in France’s Loire Valley half a millennia ago and is resurging in trending appreciation. Pétillant naturel (lit. “naturally sparkling”) also known as méthode ancestrale (ancestral method) is fresh and fizzy while displaying authentic handmade qualities. Educated and adventurous wine enthusiasts love her raw, unpolished vitality. Pét-nat is alive.
How it’s made
Pét-nats are made by bottling still-fermenting wine under cap and allowing fermentation to finish in the bottle. As yeast converts sugar to alcohol, naturally occurring carbon dioxide makes the wine fizzy. Once fermentation is complete, the bottle cap and sediment are removed, and the bottle is recapped. That’s when pét-nat is ready to be chilled for a sunny spring day. This ancestral method pre-dates Champagne and unlike the “Champagne method” which undergoes a second fermentation by adding sugar and yeast, the ancestral method allows the initial fermentation to finish in bottle without any additives.
Why it’s popular
Beyond the fact that it’s downright delicious, pét-nat doesn’t have any additives, there’s no blending, and the all-natural process is a direct reflection of the vineyard and the vintage. Once the still-fermenting juice is bottled, you don’t taste it again until it’s in your glass. This makes it a little unpredictable, and that spontaneity is one reason why it’s so popular.
Welcome her to Maryland!
Old Westminster Winery is set to release the first two pét-nat wines ever made in the Old Line State this spring.
The first is handcrafted from Albariño grapes grown in the rocky soils of their Home Vineyard. A timely harvest on September 2, 2015 captured freshness and bracing acidity from the vineyard. Fermented spontaneously with wild yeast in stainless steel. Just before fermentation was complete, 400 bottles were hand bottled and capped on September 19, 2015. This wine offers a dazzling and vivid expression of Albariño -- high acidity, apricots and limes, distinctive texture and only 11% alcohol by volume.
The second is handcrafted from Grüner Veltliner grown at Cool Ridge Vineyard on a limestone hillside in western Maryland. A timely harvest on September 8, 2015 captured beautiful, ripe flavors and balanced acidity from the vineyard. Fermented spontaneously with wild yeast in stainless steel. Just before fermentation was complete, 1,000 bottles were hand bottled and capped on September 23, 2015. Pét-nat Grüner is funky and delicious. Minerally, viscous and fresh; A treat for all wine geeks.
Old Westminster's team is especially passionate about this project because they love crafting wines that reflect the vineyard. These wines offer an authentic expression of the Old Line State – refreshing, distinct and intriguing.
Catch pét-nat before she's gone!
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We're putting Maryland wine on the world map.