Q: What is the Frederick Wine Trail?
A: The Frederick Wine Trail is the result of a joint effort of the nine Frederick County wineries working in conjunction with The Maryland Wineries Association, The Maryland Grape Commission, the Frederick Office of Tourism and the Frederick Office of Economic Development. Together, this group has produced a brochure and website to help promote viticulture in Frederick and help wine enthusiasts more easily explore the delights that Frederick’s wineries have to offer.
Q: Is there really a trail?
A: While we don’t yet have a thick red line painted on the highway that you can follow from place to place, each winery has information about and directions to all of the other wineries on the trail available. You can start and finish wherever you like, and there is no particular order you need to follow.
Q: How long have there been wineries in Frederick County?
A: The first winery in Frederick County was Berrywine Plantation/Linganore Winecellars founded in 1976 by Jack and Lucille Aellen. The family is still operating the winery today, and a stop here is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit to the Trail.
Q: How many wineries can I visit?
A: The wineries are located close enough together that an ambitious trailer can easily get to all of them in a day. However, you are likely to be lured in by the comfortable tasting rooms, lovely patio settings, and picnic areas overlooking vineyards, the Frederick valley, and the Catoctin Mountains. You may want to plan on a full weekend to make the most of your trip!
Q: How much does it cost to visit the wineries?
A: Most, but not all, of the wineries charge tasting fees which vary by location and the wines being tasted. Please refer to each winery’s page here or individual website for full details.
Q: Is there a history of grape-growing in Maryland?
A: Wine grapes were among the first crops planted by Maryland’s early settlers (we have our priorities straight around here!), and there is evidence of grape-growing and winemaking in the state starting as early as 1648. The modern grape and wine industry began in earnest with Philip Wagner’s planting of vineyards in neighboring Baltimore County in the mid-1940s. Wagner became an inspiration and educator to many of the industry’s early post-Prohibition growers. Since Wagner’s time, the wine grape industry has grown steadily, and there are currently over 450 acres of wine grapes planted in the state.
Q: Can I take tours of the wineries?
A: All of the wineries offer tours, but some are by appointment only. Please refer to each winery’s page here or individual website for full details.
Q: What should I do to prepare for my trip?
A: Come dressed casually, with an open mind, and possibly a notebook to keep track of all the great wines you will taste. You may want to bring a picnic and a blanket as many of our wineries offer beautiful outdoor facilities overlooking their vineyards and the rolling Frederick County countryside.
Q: When is the best time of year to visit?
A: Wine is an agricultural product, and as a result every season of the year has something special to offer. Fall tends to be our busiest time, as many wine lovers are enticed to come out and see the harvest in full swing with the backdrop of beautiful fall foliage. Winter offers a slower pace and better chance for extended conversation with the grape growers and winemakers, whose primary occupations during this time of year are pruning the dormant vines and monitoring the wines as they mature in barrel. The springtime offers an opportunity to see the vines wake up from the dormant season and smell the beautiful fragrance as the delicate flowers emerge. A summertime visit will allow you to see the vineyards in full growth with lush canopies of leaves and vineyard crews busily tending the vines. Our downtown winery offers a year-round experience and is located within the shopping districts of historic Frederick.
Whenever you plan to come, plan on having a great time exploring and tasting along the Frederick Wine Trail!