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Great Shoals Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

Great Shoals WinerySummary: On the shores of the Wicomico River, Great Shoals Winery offers visitors views of Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore and a portfolio of sparkling wines. As Great Shoals Winery is the southern most winery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, visitors will note the pleasant drive from Route 13 to the winery in peaceful Somerset County.

As a child, Matt Cimino found the Great Shoals Lighthouse a welcoming sign as he and his father, Tom, navigated their boat into the Wicomico River. Matt always knew he was close to home after spotting the lighthouse. In a tribute to the area, he decided to name the winery after the Great Shoals Lighthouse.

Matt had been drawn to wine as a teen. He noted that as a teen he read wine books about the different wine regions around the world. Later when he worked in the food industry, Matt would take note of the wines people would order with meals. When he became older and was able to drink wine, Matt toured wineries both small and large. It was not long before he began to experiment making hard cider. Family and friends encouraged him to make wine commercially. This encouragement was the tipping point to start Great Shoals Winery.

Great Shoals WineryThe winery’s niche is sparkling wine made in the traditional method. Tom proudly showed the riddling racks and discussed his job of daily riddling the bottles. The family winemaking team does much by hand including the riddling, disgorgement and bottling. Tom spoke of the plans to expand the portfolio of sparkling wines and to only source fruit from Maryland. Ellen emphasized that they love visitors to the winery. People can simply give them a call and they will be warmly welcomed. The couple met us at our car with smiles and showed us their property on the edge of the Wicomico River, simply a little piece of heaven on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In August 2011, the winery has made great strides in becoming a commercial winery in only 10 months. Together with his wife and parents, Matt is pleased about Great Shoals Winery and the great progress they are making.

 

Great Shoals WineryWines at Great Shoals

At the time of our visit Great Shoals Winery had three wines to taste. The Spencerville Red was a hard cider. The eight percent alcohol hard cider was a yellow color and had a slight apple taste. It was served in a cider glass and was crisp and refreshing. The Sparkling Apple was made in the méthode champenoise. The sparkling wine had a light yellow color and an apple aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and fruity. The Pomme Grande was also made in the méthode champenoise. It was a blend of apple and pomegranate. The wine was yellow with a red hue. There was an apple aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and tart.

These wines would pair with a wide range of foods. The two wines created in the méthode champenoise are similar to a Blanc du Blanc and will pair well with any dish. The crisp finishes are palate cleansing. These wines can certainly be everyday or special occasion wines.

Great Shoals WineryGreat Shoals WineryGreat Shoals Winery

The winery is on the property of Matt’s parents Tom and Ellen. Both Tom and Ellen are gracious welcoming hosts, knowledgeable about wine. Ellen commented that they are very hospitable and people should just give them a call prior to a visit. Ellen’s and Tom’s tour of the property included the waterfront, pomegranate trees and garden. We then entered the winery building where Tom showed the riddling racks. Tom has several ideas for future sparkling wines. The wine tasting was set up on a table with cider glasses and champagne flutes. The wines, glasses and crackers were artfully arranged on the table once again revealing the welcoming atmosphere.

Give the Cimino family a call and set up a time for a visit to their Princess Anne winery. Just a few minutes from Route 13 you will have a hospitable experience and opportunity to taste sparkling wines from the only Maryland winery dedicated to producing sparkling wines. You will leave feeling like part of the family.

Great Shoals Winery
26431 Mason Webster Rd
Princess Anne, Maryland 21853

GPS: N38º 14.835’ W75º 50.131’

 

 

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