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Session 1: Creating Maryland’s Wine Identity

Dr. Joe Fiola, University of Maryland

Session I: Creating Maryland’s Wine Identity

This panel presentation began with an introduction of panel members including Marguerite Thomas, author of Touring East Coast Wine Country, Robert Deford, owner of Boordy Vineyards, and Dr. Joe Fiola, from the Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Maryland.

According to Robert Deford, Boordy Vineyards really began during Prohibition but it was not civil disobedience.  Current owner Deford noted that Wagner wanted to re-introduce wines to Americans. He also introduced hybrid grapes.

Deford talked about the state identity including marketing the state. He mentioned that political lines don’t have any meaning. He went on to mention the difficulties of the wine industry in Maryland. Maryland should do research on vineyards and wineries. Maryland’s wineries need to develop a political voice and continue marketing. He noted that in Maryland if something is not mentioned in the laws it implies that means it cannot be done. Deford ended by asking “Is wine too fancy for Maryland?”

Marguerite Thomas started by saying that Maryland wines as far back as 1990 were not very good.  She did not back up her statements. She also mentioned the use of hybrids but said that wasn’t bad.  She also so noted that in 2001 Kevin Atticks was the start of an increased interest in Maryland wine.

Dr. Joe Fiola followed Marguerite’s brief presentation. In Dr. Joe Fiola’s opinion Maryland is not going to be known for unique varieties. Instead Maryland can do a lot of varieties well.  Success for the Maryland wine industry will include people who evolve with the industry, leadership to get positive legislation, a new breed of wineries, better understanding of vineyards and site selections.  Dr. Fiola educates about the differences depending where the grapes are grown in the state. Many vineyards are using current research as well as conducting their own research.

Dr. Fiola believes that the future of the Maryland wines lies with the Bordeaux varieties, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Barbera, Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino. In the past it was shocking that European vitis vinifera could be grown on the East Coast.

This session, “Creating Maryland’s Wine Identity” took a look at the Maryland’s wine industry and offered encouragement that Maryland’s wine industry is growing and will continue to grow.

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