Secrets of the Cork

The Perfect Choice

Wine trails

Bottling day at Port of Leonardtown

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The bottles clinked on the assembly line, taking turns being cleaned, filled, corked or capped, labeled and boxed on a conveyor that stretch throughout a converted trailer that rivaled an 18-wheeler. Inside the crisp climate was a series of volunteers eager to complete a journey that began last spring as a dream. It was bottling day at Port of Leonardtown. “It’s definitely exciting,” said POL winemaker Lauren Zimmerman. “We’ve worked hard on these wines. It’s like sending your kids off…

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Wine always great housewarming gift

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Your friends bought a new home and everybody’s invited to the party. What do you bring? Normally, tradition says bread so the home will never know hunger. Salt so there will be flavor in their life. Honey so sweet times will always be with them. And wine so they may never go thirsty. At least, that’s what Jimmy Stewart said in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Anyway, look for a nice bottle around $20. Nothing fancy because this is an informal…

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The wine trails – Brandywine

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It’s spring – time for sunshine and open road. Visit some wineries, taste some vino. But, where do you go? There are three geographical tours in Southern Maryland – Brandywine, Calvert County and St. Mary’s County. All offer something different in experience and wines. Let’s start with the four Brandywine wineries. The quartet are only a few miles apart and the closest to Washington, about 45 minutes away on the border of Prince George’s and Charles counties. The best part…

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Pizza and wine? Why not with these local offerings

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Pizza and wine? Of course. Listen, it’s Friday (or whatever day). You’re tired. You just want a couple slices, turn on the TV and let a glass of wine or two erase the tension of the day. It’s called being normal. But people often ask do they have to drink red wine because, you know, pizza has red sauce under those four toppings you ordered. The answer is yes. Well, kinda. The wine police won’t slap the glass out of…

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Fridays Creek Winery produces fresh, authentic wines

News Wineries

Farm fresh is the buzzword nowadays. Straight from the ground to your mouth and nobody does it better than the wine industry. But Frank and Richard Cleary have really gone the distance by planting blackberries and blueberries alongside their grapevines over 12 acres in Owings, Md. And come spring when the blackberries are ripe, there’s a special wine to be made and an explosion of delightful flavor in your mouth. It’s something special. “Everything on the menu comes out of…

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Solomons Island Winery offers best of all experiences

News Wineries

There’s nothing quite like drinking a glass of wine by the water, sampling cheese while watching the sun set. It’s where stress goes to die. Solomons Island Winery is by the Pier restaurant along Solomons Island Road. (You can’t miss it.) The wine is made on the other side of the Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County with the tasting room in Calvert County right where Pax River meets the Chesapeake Bay. It’s basically Chillsville USA even in the summer…

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Wine festival is May 11

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The Charles County Wine & Food Festival is May 11 from 12-6 p.m. at the Charles County Fairgrounds in La Plata. Tickets are available at CharlesCountyWineFestival.com. The only Southern Maryland wine producer is Cove Point Winery of Lusby. Other vendors include Soca Wine (inspired by Trinidad and Tobago), Boordy Vineyards (Hydes, Md.), The Unban Winery (Silver Spring, Md.), Il Dolce Winery (Beltsville, Md.), Dragonfly Vineyard and Winery (Mt. Airy, Md.), Great Shoals (Takoma Park, Md.) and Reggae Wines and Sweet…

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Taste testings find some hits

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A perk of this job is trying wines. Something new (at least to me) and different. Every winery has new offerings annually. I’m a sucker for sweet and dessert wines, which kinda says a lot about me. But, occasionally, somebody convinces me to sample a hearty red. Here are some notes from recent tastings. Solomons Island Winery Solomons Chocolate Raspberry Port – You quickly sense the mixture of dense chocolate along with a strong hint of raspberry. A good before-…

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Under the Tuscan sun at Running Hare

News Wineries

It looms over the vineyard like a castle. A Tuscan castle, that is. The villa is 8,400-square feet of red tile and cream plaster that perfectly embodies the theme of Running Hare Vineyard. “Our intent is to recreate memories of the gentle hills of France, the beauty of Tuscany and the feel of Napa” says each and every label of some 15 wines now produced on the Prince Frederick estate. And boy do they. Running Hare Vineyard is the jewel…

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Port of Leonardtown producing championship wines, experiences

News Wineries

Forget a village – it has taken a region to produce some of Maryland’s best wines. In less than a decade, Port of Leonardtown has earned more than 150 awards. Gold medals are becoming more commonplace than Marylander Michael Phelps’ Olympic haul. Fans regularly crowd the Leonardtown tasting room on weekends when live music fills the night. Winemaker Lauren Zimmerman has turned grapes from 12 different vineyards throughout Southern Maryland into something special. But that proved especially true in 2018…

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