By Drew Baker
Our winemaker, Lisa Hinton, was recently featured in a series called Tastemakers by The New York Cork Report. In it, author Lenn Thompson said, “Maryland is a state on the rise in the wine world, and Lisa (with her family) is one of the people leading the way.”
We get excited when we think about the potential for winemaking in Maryland. Our state’s burgeoning wine industry is full of opportunity and young talent. Nothing energizes us more than replacing prevailing negative stereotypes with wines of renown.
Historically, Maryland has not been known to produce world-class wines. At least not consistently. But we happen to believe that the Old Line State – particularly the rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau – offers distinctive terroir. We have just the right mix of elevation, sun, breeze and rocky soils to grow grapes fit for remarkable wines.
We’re occasionally asked, “Hey, do you think Maryland can compete with California?” Our answer is typically along the lines of, “who cares?” That’s not our goal. That’s not to say that great wines aren’t made in California. They are. It’s just to say that our singular goal is to produce delicious wines that are uniquely Maryland – wines that display complexity, character and, most importantly, are a pleasure to drink.
Delicious wine can be made in surprising places. The only prerequisites for great wine are a good vineyard site, meticulous farming, thoughtful cellar practices, and personal commitment. At Old Westminster Winery, our fingerprints on every grape, every vine, and every bottle. This approach isn’t the easy way, but we believe a bottle of wine reflects its maker’s passion.
In a young wine region there are no rules. We get to play with over a dozen grape varieties grown in small vineyards all over the Old Line State. We use wild yeast, rarely make additions and craft pét-nat sparkling wines from Albariño and Grüner Veltliner. We blend grapes that never play together in the “old world,” like Cabernet Franc with Barbera, Merlot with Blaufränkisch and Viognier with Sauvignon Blanc.
The big idea here is innovation. Trailblazing sometimes means breaking out of old ideas. Be they old stereotypes or old systems of thought. It’s a willingness to take a zero-based, blue sky review of things and challenge everything. It’s a willingness to scrutinize the status quo, and attempt bold new things.
We love the audacious nature of our mission to put Maryland wine on the world map. If we didn’t, we’d move to a place where it’s already been done.
Wine & Business
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We're putting Maryland wine on the world map.