Session III: Maryland’s New Guard
The “Maryland’s New Guard” session was introduced by Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of Maryland Wineries Association and followed by Ed Boyce of Black Ankle Vineyards, Tom Shelton of Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery and Dave Collins from Big Cork Vineyards.
Kevin Atticks gave an overview of what he has seen over the past 10 to 12 years. He mentioned there are wines from all over the world that have faults. Where does Maryland need to go?
Ed Boyce mentioned that the challenge isn’t quality; it is consistency as Maryland can make quality wines. Through his research he discovered the models of grape growing on the East Coast do not follow what is done around the world. He noted that Maryland winery/vineyards cannot follow California. Instead Maryland should look to Europe. California has different weather. In a bad weather year Black Ankle will pull what would go into a higher-level wine and put it into a lower level wine. Therefore the lower level wines are always consistent. There may not be a higher-level wine each year. Ed thinks that the one thing in the industry that will change over the years will be the grower.
Tom Shelton from Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery agrees that consistency is important. Tom has seen a positive change in the image of Maryland wine. He mentioned that Pinot Gris and Chambourcin do well on his Eastern Shore vineyard. His philosophy is that every time they bottle a wine it has to be better than the one they ran out of (sold out of.) Tom likes using blending as a means to establish consistency.
Dave Collins of Big Cork Vineyards helped to plant 22 acres of vineyards in Washington County. His experience in growing grapes in Virginia has taught him that the more acres of vineyards that people drive past the more likely people will search out the winery. People come to the property for the experience not necessarily for the wines.
The third session, “Maryland’s New Guard,” provided information and inspiration for Maryland winemakers, wine growers and wine enthusiasts. It is obvious that the Maryland wine industry is growing both in size and in quality and will continue to rise.