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Slack Winery at Woodlawn Farm
Kathy Sullivan

Slack Winery at Woodlawn FarmMarch, 2011
Summary: A visit to Slack Winery in St. Mary’s County, Maryland is a delightful experience. Slack Winery is a destination site including a retail shop for Slack wines and the Maryland Woodlawn Estate Bed & Breakfast. The visitor’s experience is enhanced with peaceful views of the Potomac River just feet away from the Manor House built in the late 1700’s.

The sight of the Manor House, Woodlawn, on the banks of the Potomac River is striking from the road. The long, flat driveway of sand and gravel to the large white Manor House in the distance beckons one to come closer. Near the Manor House are several small buildings that we later learned are guest cottages and a tasting room. Take a moment to enjoy the colonial-style garden next to the Manor House.

Slack Winery is a young winery owned by Jim Grube and Maggie O’Brian. Their son, Tucker, is the winemaker. Tucker studied under the tutelage of Eric Frye, the renowned winemaker at Lenz Winery on Long Island. Eric has helped with the development of Slack Winery.


The present Slack winery and 20 acres of vineyards are located at Jubilee Farms about 20 miles from Woodlawn. The varietals growing at Jubilee Farm include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah, Albariño, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Barbera. Grapes are also purchased from Virginia’s Northern Neck region at General’s Ridge Vineyard. The Potomac River separates the General’s Ridge Vineyard from Woodlawn and is a 100-mile, two and a half hour drive. However, as the crow flies, General’s Ridge Vineyard is less than twenty miles from Woodlawn. Pinot Gris, Chardonel, Viognier and Traminette are among some of the grapes Slack Winery sources from General’s Ridge Vineyard.

Slack Winery began producing wine in 2009 and in 2010 increased the production. In 2011 Tucker plans to produce about 4,000 cases of wine and in the future wants to increase winery production to 8,000 cases. While producing more wine, the vineyards at Jubilee Farm will increase the vineyard acreage.

Slack Winery at Woodlawn FarmHistory of Slack Winery and Woodlawn

In 1996 Jim and Maggie moved to St. Mary’s County in Maryland. Having always enjoyed wine, they started planting vineyards at Jubilee Farm in 2000. According to Jim, Jubilee Farms is not easy for visitors to travel to, and they made plans for retailing their wines at an easily accessible area, choosing Woodlawn Farm. Future plans include building a new winery facility and tasting room at the foot of the road at Woodlawn Farm.

Woodlawn Farm is part of the first land grant, Trinity Manor, by Lord Baltimore to the first Governor of the Maryland Colony, Leonard Calvert. The original manor house did not survive the American Revolution. A new manor house was constructed c. 1798. This large manor house sits on the banks of the Potomac River and is well maintained having been thoroughly renovated in the 1970’s.

Slack WineryWines

We tasted several Slack wines at the Maryland Wine Festival. The 2010 Slack Tide Blanc was a light yellow blend of Viognier and Traminette. There were floral and tropical fruit influences on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp with tropical fruit yielding to citrus. The 2010 Red Drum Red was a blend of Petit Verdot, Montepulciano and Barbera. The red colored wine had cherries on the aroma and taste while the finish was crisp with tannins and cherries. The 2010 Sangiovese was a light red color. There was an influence of oak and cherry aroma and taste. Mild tannins accompanied the finish. The 2010 Barbera Reserve was a dark red color. It too offered cherry fruit and a crisp finish with tannins. The 2010 Cabernet Franc, red in color, had black fruit on the aroma and taste. Pepper appeared on both the aroma and taste replacing the fruitiness. The finish was crisp with tannins.

During a book signing event in April 2013, we tasted the 2009 Maestro Symphany. This Petit Manseng was a gold color and offered floral notes on the aroma. The taste was complex with layers of floral, peaches and minerals. The finish was crisp with a hint of butter. This wine would pair with seafood. Rocky Shoals 2010 was a sparkling demi sec wine made with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin grapes. This dark ruby sparkling wine has an aroma of dark berries. The taste offers dark fruits. This refreshing wine is nice as an aperitif or paired with meat dishes.

Slack Winery at Woodlawn FarmEvents will continue to be held at the Manor House. Woodlawn is a Bed and Breakfast. Two bedrooms decorated with care, sitting areas and a large modern kitchen and dining area make this a perfect place for family gatherings including family reunions, anniversaries and birthdays. A short walk away other guest quarters are available. With six suites the site can accommodate 12 guests. The Manor house is decorated with antiques and materials from the past. Guests can enjoy viewing art, furniture and a large framed quilt.

We look forward to returning to Slack Winery to taste Slack wines amid the peaceful, calm atmosphere of the property.

Slack Winery
16040 Woodlawn Lane
Ridge, MD 20680

GPS: N38º 06.451’ W076º 23.257’



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