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New Market Plains Vineyard
Kathy Sullivan

New Market Plains VineyardSummary: New Market Plains Vineyard, located in New Market, Maryland, offers a long and fascinating history and a personal wine tasting. Today the winery and vineyards are located near a local amusement park. To enjoy a tasting at the winery, appointments are necessary. The winery will continue to focus on producing only estate grown wines. The historic property has been granted “Preserved Farmland” status.

Visitors to the New Market Plains Vineyard will find the winery a short distance from Interstate 70 close to historic New Market. If you see an amusement park, you will know you are almost at the winery. Once at the entrance to the property, a long driveway wraps around the historic home and travelers will see acres of vineyards with a large white barn with red tile (similar to bricks). Since visitors will have an appointment, they will be greeted immediately.

New Market Plains VineyardWe met Howard Wilson, co-owner and energetic vineyardist and winemaker, whose wife Susan’s family has owned the property since the 1760s. There is family gravesite on the property. Susan Wilson is the 10th generation now on the farm property. Susan is co-winemaker with Howard. It was Susan who provided a lovely note on the wine labels, “Every acre has a story to tell.” In the 1700s the property encompassed 1500 acres. In the late 18th century much of the property was sectioned off, including the area that is now the historic area of New Market. The farm was once used for raising beef cattle.

Howard related Susan’s and his history while explaining the history of the farm. He grew up in Sacramento. When his parents moved to the East Coast, Howard stayed in California for college. While on a college vacation in Maryland, he met Susan.

The dairy barn was built in 1941 when Susan’s father expected to be called up for duty during World War II. Her father wanted the dairy to support the family while he was away at war. As fate would have it, after the barn was built, Susan’s father was excused from service because of a leg wound he received as a child.

New Market Plains VineyardToday the dairy barn has been renovated and restored to house the winery. The winery is located in the red tiled and white sided barn and is filled with stainless steel tanks, oak barrels and puncheons. Interestingly, the tanks go through the ceiling and the access to the tank tops is from the second floor. This makes it easier for Howard during the process of producing wine. The winery also has a skin contact tank and a charmat tank. When visiting the winery, ask about the original construction workers' initials on the second floor wall.

Since living on the property Howard and Susan have cleared some of the many trees from their property. Several oak trees were cut and milled into oak barrel staves. Currently the staves are rough cut and weathering. In the future Howard hopes to make a few barrels with the Maryland oak, and with Maryland grapes will create a special Maryland wine.

New Market Plains VineyardVineyards at New Market Plains

We have been curious for several years while traveling on Interstate 70. We noticed vineyards close to the interstate. In 1995 Howard planted five acres of grapevines. He sold some of the wine grapes to Maryland wineries. They looked at the land and decided they needed to do something to improve the vineyards. With advise from Lucy Morton, a vineyard consultant, Howard pulled out and replanted the vineyards and added additional acreage of grapevines. He noted that the first grapevines had been planted in the wrong direction thus affecting the quality of the grape production. Currently the New Market Plains Vineyard consists of 17 acres and includes: Chardonnay, Muscat Blanc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. No herbicides are used in the vineyards.

New Market Plains Tasting Room

The tasting room, located close to the winery, is small but for appointment only tastings, it works well. Visitors can sit comfortably at a wood table for a wine tasting while talking about the unique history of the farm. The tasting room walls are decorated with numerous framed documents of earlier times. A special sign we saw, “Preserved Farmland, This Maryland farm has been permanently preserved for the future by an agricultural land preservation easement.” This easement was granted by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.

Eventually, the Wilsons are looking forward to building and opening a larger tasting room. The tasting room will be constructed with the use of wood from an old barn on the property that met its demise and now sits in a heap awaiting its next future as a new building. Other future projects include restoring other old buildings on the property and perhaps offering tours with a look at a way of life that is no longer.

For now the winery is developing a comfortable outdoor seating area between the winery building and the vineyard. Watch the New Market Plains Vineyard website for events where visitors can enjoy a relaxing day in the country.

New Market Plains VineyardWines at New Market Plains Vineyard

We tasted three wines with Howard. The Chardonnay 2014 with 12.8% alcohol was stainless steel fermented. This yellow colored wine offered an aroma of apple with some tropical hints. The taste was smooth with notes of apple. The finish was crisp and fruity. It had a long aftertaste. The fruit yields to mineral.

The Rich Forest Chardonnay 2014 had 12.6% alcohol. The wine was fermented in oak. This yellow colored wine offer apple, pear and a hint of yellow stone fruit. The taste was of apple, pear and caramel. The finish was crisp with multiple layers of flavors yielding to mineral.

Rosé 2014 with 13.3% alcohol was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The rosé wine offered aroma notes of red berry fruits. The taste was of raspberries and strawberries. It was sightly sweet. The finish was crisp with berry fruit notes and had a slightly earthy taste.

When planning a visit to New Market Plains Vineyard, be sure to call ahead for an appointment. New Market Plains Vineyard updated their winter hours to Fridays and Sundays 12 - 5 p.m., Saturdays 12 - 6 p.m., and by appointment." When visiting the winery ask about the history of the farm. New Market Plains Vineyard is a winery with a story to tell.

New Market Plains Vineyard
11111 W. Baldwin Road
Monrovia, MD 21774

(if GPS does not take Monrovia, use New Market)

GPS: N39º 22.897’ W77º 17.061’

For more information



Article written February, 2016

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