Whether tasting and toasting at one of 80-plus vineyards throughout the state, ordering a heavy pour at a bar, or checking out a new varietal at a neighborhood bottle shop, one thing’s for sure—Marylanders love local wine. With temperatures dropping, and COVID-19 restrictions making a comeback, now’s the time to bundle up at home with a few of your favorites.
“Many of our wineries rely on direct interactions with customers at farmers markets and festivals throughout the year, just to get their name and their brand out there,” says Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association. “That [loss] has been a major devastation to their market and their bottom line.”
As they brace themselves for the winter months, Atticks says that consumer support will play a critical role in determining whether some wineries survive the pandemic.
“If consumers are interested in these wineries and farms being around in April, May, and June, they have to support them now,” he says. “There’s no alternative.”
To that end, many establishments are offering safe ways to indulge from home during the colder months, with options such as online ordering, curbside pickup, and contactless home delivery.
“If you have the ability to join a wine club from one of our local vineyards, please do so,” Atticks encourages. “If you have the ability to order your wine and pick it up in a to-go order or have it delivered, now is the time to do that. Anything you can do to support locally at this time is critically needed.”
Here, we round up a handful of local winesellers and how you can support them this chilly season:
Home to scenic stretches and palatable pours in varieties like Zinberry and Tango Peach, this historic Hydes winery—which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year—sits 30 minutes outside of the city in the Long Green Valley of Northeastern Baltimore County. Swing by the vineyard to purchase bottles to-go or call ahead for curbside pickup. You can also browse blends—like the Spiced Wassail, a festive red featuring warm winter flavors—online and have them delivered straight to your door. 12820 Long Green Pike. 410-592-5015.
Old Westminster Winery
Less than an hour northwest of Baltimore, this three-acre vineyard and farm is nestled in the Carroll County countryside. Road trip out to the family-run winery, which is offering jarred seasonal sips to-go (think hard hot cocoa mix and spiced mulled wine made with orange peel, cinnamon, and star anise) this season. Visit the online shop to browse bottles and cans of everything red, white, and bubbly—as well as sweatshirts, beanies, blankets, and totes—and score free shipping when you spend more than $75. Or treat yourself to an Old Westminster Wine Club membership to receive three new bottles every other month, gain exclusive access to small-production blends, and score a 10 percent discount on all wine purchases. 1550 Old Westminster Road. 410-881-4656.
Black Ankle Vineyards
This Mount Airy winery’s online shop is stocked with holiday staples, and delivery is free. Treat the oenophiles in your life to curated gift sets of Black Ankle beverages (the “Intro to BAV” comes complete with one red, one white, and one premium bottle) as well as everything from gear and glassware to local artisanal goodies. Or switch things up this gift-giving season and invite said wine-loving friends to a private, customized, virtual tasting featuring all of their favorite sips. 14463 Black Ankle Road. 301-829-3338.
Galloping Goose Vineyards
Less than an hour outside of Baltimore in the historic town of Hampstead, this hidden gem remains open for case sales and curbside pickup by appointment only. Visit the Galloping Goose website to view a selection of estate reserve wines including the winter-ready Petit Verdot—a spicy red blend marked with notes of black pepper and plum. Then call or email the Carroll County winery to arrange a time to cruise through the countryside and pick up your bottles. 4326 Maple Grove Road. 410-374-6596.
Although visitors are still welcome to sip spread out on the spacious 37 acres, this fifth-generation Frederick County vineyard is encouraging online and curbside pickup orders. Visit the website to browse available blends, including the 2020 Marechal Foch Nouveau—a limited-edition dry red with wintery hints of cherry, vanilla and plum. Or make a mead-lover’s dream come true this season with a four-piece gift pack of Loew family blends. Upon opening the set, they will even learn the story behind each sip and receive a jar of wildflower honey from Apex Bee Company. 14001 Liberty Road. 301-831-5464.
Linganore Wine Cellars
The winemakers at Linganore are making things merry this month with the release of their 2020 online advent calendar. Visit their website each day this December for sweet deals on sips, tumblers and more. And be sure to check out the Mount Airy winery’s socially distant shopping guide, complete with everything from online gift cards to at-home tasting kits. 13601 Glissans Mill Road. 301-831-5889.
About 30 minutes outside of Baltimore, this Falls Road family winery is offering curbside pickup and free home delivery. Swing by on Saturdays for brick oven pizza (available for carryout when you call ahead) or visit the online shop to browse Basignani bottles such as the 2017 Chardonnay. Sourced from some of Maryland’s oldest chardonnay vines, this blend brings spiced pear and tropical fruit together for the perfect winter sip. 15722 Falls Road. 410-472-0703.
Spirited Stomping Grounds
The Wine Collective
While waiting to safely reopen, this Union Collective hotspot invites lovers of wine and craft vermouth to enjoy its most beloved blends from home. Head to The Wine Collective’s newly revamped website to shop sips such as the 2019 Tarara Red—a festive and full-bodied, fruit-forward blend with notes of raspberry and black pepper—available for delivery or pickup from the Hampden tasting room. 1700 W 41st St., Ste 490. 443-438-7366.
Charm City Meadworks
In search of something to spice up your virtual get-together? The team from this Biddle Street beverage company is here to help with their “Live From The Hive” free virtual tastings. First, visit their website to grab a four-pack case of crafted sips—like the 2020 Cranberry Cyser featuring flavors of quince honey and sweet-apple pear—available for delivery or on-site pick-up at the cidery. Then, crack a cold one and log on to Zoom. The crew at Charm City Meadworks will join your call for up to 30 minutes to discuss their much-loved meads and how they’re made. 400 E Biddle St. 443-961-1072.
Le Comptoir Du Vin
Naturally, this Station North wine bar is stocked up on sips for the winter season. New and notable bottles available for in-store pickup include the Noussan Pinot Noir, a clean and precise pinot blend with notes of prune, black cherry, and granite, as well as the Achilles Riesling, which melds flavors of Asian pear, lemon zest, and honeycrisp apples. 1729 Maryland Ave. 443- 297-7384
Fadensonnen + Angels Ate Lemons
Scrambling to find a last-minute gift for a certain special bon vivant? Look no further than this Old Goucher go-to, which is offering contactless pickup and free local delivery on Thursdays and Sundays. Browse bottles of sake, cider, and beer, plus fresh-cut flowers, market totes, and trendy trademark tees—which are all available in the wine room’s online shop. And find gourmet treats to please the palate of your favorite epicurist (think chargrilled sardine tails, Greek imported olive oil, and savory celery vinegar packed with nutrients.) When in doubt, a curated holiday case is surefire way to an oenophile’s heart. Try the Holiday “Taste the Rainbow” Gift Set, complete with four varieties of wine in vibrant hues of orange, red, and pink. 2223 Maryland Ave. (Above Sophomore Coffee) 301-848-2849.
And, of course, we’d be remiss without mentioning beloved neighborhood shops such as The Wine Source in Hampden, Off the Rox in Highlandtown, Grand Cru in Belvedere Square, V-No Wine Bar in Fells Point, and Bin 604 in Harbor East. Be sure to check each shop’s website for in-store browsing hours, online ordering, and delivery options.