Whiling Away at a Winery

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” – André Simon

One of my favorite things about the US East Coast is the number of wineries. They pepper the landscape with carefully crafted vintages that rival anything abroad, and I love to set off on one of this region’s countless wine trails to taste both the new and familiar.

When I lived in upstate New York, I was frequently to be found along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The Finger Lakes are home to nearly 100 wineries offering continental varietals as well as hybrids created by scientists at nearby Cornell University. I love the wines, the scenery, and the strange events hosted by some of the wineries:

Picture of a grapehound wine tour poster found in upstate New York

Have a glass of wine while your greyhound mingles with new friends

Maryland has fewer dog-themed wine-crawls (to my knowledge), but we make up for it with huge events. The Maryland Wine Festival (coming up in September; 45 minutes from downtown Baltimore) is the biggie, hosting 35-38 regional wineries and seeing more than 20,000 visitors over its two-day span. The Easterns Bayside Blues and Wine Festival (August 23; 30 minutes from Baltimore) has five different blues groups performing, dozens of vendors, and hundreds of visitors.

Some individual wineries also get in on the big-crowd action. Boordy Vineyards (30 minutes from Baltimore) hosts an extremely popular summer concert series that frequently sees nearly 1000 attendees. (I went to the August 9th English Channel concert, and folks were queuing to get onto the lawn two hours before the music started.)

Picture of the lawn at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland

Waiting for a 2010 event to start at Boordy

On a smaller scale, most local wineries offer live music on weekends and encourage visitors to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with their wine. Some wineries also have their own annual festivals, like Fiore‘s new Mason Dixon Moonshine Festival (October 11; 1 hour from Baltimore) or Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard‘s STOMP Festival (October; 1 hour from Baltimore)-listen to live music as you help stomp the grape harvest!

With dozens of options within driving distance of the Baltimore-DC metro area, there’s no reason not to swing by a winery this weekend. I hope to see you around!

Picture of glass of wine from Boordy Vineyards in Maryland

Boordy Vineyards

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