Travel the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail

Travel the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail

Maryland has been called the USA in miniature, because it has a little of everything packed into its borders. Mountains and beaches, oceans and trickling brooks, sophisticated cities and warm country towns, and now, excellent wines! In recent years Western Maryland has come into its own in wine production, all within about a 15-mile radius of Hagerstown in the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail.
The five wineries comprising the current Antietam Highlands Wine Trail make for an excellent day trip or weekend escape to taste a wide variety of wines, enjoy drives through picturesque landscapes and visit the many heritage sites in the region. Each winery offers a different experience.
Knob Hall Winery - Family-owned for over 200 years, Knob Hall Winery farms and cultivates approximately 43 acres of vines that have been planted along the gentle slopes in the foothills of the Alleghany Mountains in Clear Spring. Knob Hall maintains a tradition of sustainable agriculture and offers a variety of consistently award-winning, high quality sweet and dry wines made from grapes harvested from their vineyards. Their large facility is available for event rentals, and they host regular music and wine events.
14108 St. Paul Road, Clear Spring, MD 21722 - 301-842-2777
Thur-Sat: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun: noon-6 p.m.; Mon: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Orchid Cellar Winery - Unique among wineries, Orchid Cellar is producing honey-based beverages; mead. The winery is located located in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains in Middletown, MD just between Frederick and Hagerstown. Orchid Cellar is focused on bringing history and tradition together. Combining their Eastern European traditions and modern knowledge of chemistry and microbiology they have created varieties of mead and Merlot wines.
8546 Pete Wiles Road, Middletown, MD 21769 - 301-473-3568
Sat & Sun: noon-5 p.m. for tastings and tours.
Red Heifer Winery - Located between Smithsburg and Cascade, the 1,500 foot elevation and sloping hillside with a southeast orientation have created the perfect location for growing grapes. The third generation owners have cultivated a 20-acre vineyard, producing sweet and dry wines. Visitors will enjoy tastings and a variety of musical events in a setting with spectacular views.
24606 Raven Rock Road in Smithsburg, Maryland 21783 - 301-824-5210
Wed-Fri: 1-7 p.m. (by appointment during Jan, Feb. & Mar.) Sat, Sun: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Vineyard tours are given upon request.
Distillery Lane Ciderworks - Just outside of historic Burkittsville is Maryland's first licensed cidery offering European-style hard ciders from its specialty orchard. The historic property was used as a camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War and has seen nearly continuous farming in its history. The apple orchard originally planted with 1,000 trees in 2001, has now grown to over 3,000 trees. It gets its name from the nearby remains of an old time whiskey-producing distillery.
5533 Gapland Road, Jefferson, MD 21755 - 301-834-8920
July-Dec, Sat: 10-5 and Sun: noon-5
Jan-June: Open the first Sat. of the month and by appointment
Big Cork Vineyards - The newest member on the trail also "lives" on a family farm. Beginning with 13 varietal grapes planted on 24 acres in the lush and aptly named Pleasant Valley, this young vineyard has already garnered a number of awards. The production facility is housed in downtown Frederick, MD, and plans are well underway for opening of a 4,000 sq. ft. sunlit tasting room and production facility at the farm in 2014.
4238 Main Street, Rohrersville, MD 21779 - 301-432-3889
Get the big picture, at least online, www.marylandwine.com. Then make the time to visit each of these special places for the experiences and impressions that only can come from being there in person.

News taken from The Crossroads newsletter distributed by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau - www.marylandmemories.com. Photo Credit: Red Heifer Winery