It’s harvest time at the five wineries participating in the Frederick Wine Trail. Grapes hang heavy from the vines as the aromas of new wine fill the air. You don’t even have to like wine for a visit to become a memorable experience. Bring a picnic, your friends, maybe your dog, for a convivial afternoon among the grapevines.
“You cannot beat the view from the wineries in the fall,” said Melissa Muntz, who promotes Frederick County.
“Many years of winemaking experience are right here in Frederick County,” said Lois Loew, who owns Loew Vineyards with her husband, Bill.
Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Winecellars, Frederick County’s oldest winery, features a spacious tasting room and daily tours. Festival season lasts through harvest time.
“It’s a great time for photo opportunities,” said the winery’s Jessica Garcia.
Set on 240 scenic acres in Mount Airy, Berrywine produces 30 wines, from fruit-based semi-sweet wines to drier reds and whites. While the winery has been around for 40 years, it is also the site of the newer Red Shedman Brewery.
Also in Mount Airy, Loew Vineyards is the work of a family that was making wine in 19th-century Europe. Wines are produced almost entirely from grapes grown on the property, Loew said. “Each of our wines has its own specific personality.”
The vineyard, on 37 gently rolling acres on Liberty Road, is quieter than most — no special events, just wine and sunshine. Visitors seem to like the serene atmosphere, Loew said. Picnics, dogs, and children are always welcome.
Elk Run Vineyard and Winery’s 25 acres of vines stretch along both sides of Liberty Road. Picknickers are welcome to relax under tents set up on the property, but should leave the dogs at home. The winery is a little too close to the road, owner Carol Wilson noted. The winery hosts Wine Down Fridays and weekend music and festivals. Check out the label when Claire Underwood opens a bottle of wine on the Netflix series House of Cards. Elk Run wines have been featured in the last two seasons. “On the show, she’s drinking ours,” Wilson said.
In Thurmont, Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery is surrounded by 140 acres of grapevines and lavender. The tasting rooms for both wine and spirits are in the yellow clapboard barn behind the 1774 stone house now used as an inn. Stop for a tasting, a distillery tour, or wander among the lavender fields which bloom around Father’s Day and then again into early fall. Don’t worry about bringing a picnic; Springfield Manor serves food, according to owners Amy and John St. Angelo. Dogs are welcome on the patio. Set on the Route 15 scenic byway, fall is a great time to visit, according to the St. Angelos.
Six miles away, boutique winery Catoctin Breeze produces small batches of varietals and mead. The tasting room is open daily with vineyard tours offered twice a day. Picknicking is encouraged and bands perform on weekends adding to the vibe. “It’s a nice area with a view overlooking the vineyard, apple orchards, and the Catoctin Mountains,” said owner Wojciech Fizyta.
Harvest time is a great time to enjoy wine close to home but Frederick County is also home to a growing number of distilleries and farm and craft breweries. Find out more about them at homegrownfrederick.com.
For more information:
Frederick Wine Trail: frederickwinetrail.com