My first night in Baltimore (after a delicious gluten-free dinner at Sweet 27), I hung out with a group of my Baltimore friends at one of their row houses (how I wish row houses with roof decks existed in Miami…). My friends ended up introducing me to the game Settlers of Catan, which I previously had some misconceptions about from what little I had known (I now have an app version on my phone…). Afterwards we started talking about plans for the next day and the rest of the weekend. Brunch at Woodberry Kitchen had been in the works for a while, but after that I wasn’t totally sure. My friends said they had been thinking about going to a bluegrass festival at one of the wineries in Baltimore County. Due to my Oregon upbringing, wine runs through my veins (along with rivers, mountains, and trees), so I was totally in.
After brunch at Woodberry Kitchen my friend and I made the drive through Baltimore County to meet our other friends. The city of Baltimore pretty quickly gives way to more suburban style homes, but on large plots of land, and then fields, farms, and woods. The landscape reminded me a lot of the outer suburbs and small towns outside Portland and I enjoyed taking everything in as the road curved under the trees and up hills. Saying I’m hill deprived in Miami just sounds weird, but it’s sort of true and the drive was a highlight. I may even had exclaimed to my friend at one point “ah I love trees!” (can take the boy out of Oregon, but not….).
Boordy Winery is quite quaint with the rows of grapes just next to the parking lot and a series of barns, plus a small wine tasting pavilion. It was $10 per person for entrance to the festival and a round of wine tasting (with a wine glass). This was a total steal! Ever since my friend’s suggestion of the winery the night before I had been thinking about the wine tasting and getting very excited. I’m not a crazy wine connoisseur (if I drank more often I’d probably drink more wine though), but I do love the experience of wine tasting. In college we used to go wine tasting quite often for Mom’s Weekends in my fraternity or just social events at nearby wineries. This trip did remind me I need to check out Schnebly’s Winery south of Miami in Homestead (with their avocado and fruit wine), but there understandably aren’t a lot of options for wine tasting and winery visits in Miami’s tropical climate.
The wine pavilion had a lot of counters where you had your own “host” of sorts to walk you through the different options. We were lucky to have one host (Allison- who was excellent) walk just our group of four through all the options at once. We started with dry wines and worked our way to the more sweet, as you’re supposed to do in wine tasting. What I loved about Boordy is the variety (no pun intended) of their wines! I feel like I’m used to Oregon and California wineries where they have multiple wines to try, but only of a few varieties that they grow on-site. Boordy has their own grapes grown on-site, but then also brings in grapes that they can’t grow in Maryland’s climate and makes them into their Boordy wines. It was one of the most robust wine tastings I’ve ever been to (outside of one at a restaurant or store). They also had a number of wines that had mixed varieties in it. I love my West Coast wineries, but Boordy just seemed a little bit less pretentious…
The wines we tried in order were a Pinot Grigio, a Dry Rose, a Seyval-Chardonnay-Vidal mix, a Riesling, a Chambourcin-Merlot mix, their Tango Peach, their Viva Sangria, and their Zinberry. Pinot Grigio (or my preferred Oregon Pinot Gris) and Riesling are the wines I usually drink and I certainly enjoyed them this time. The fruit wines were also really enjoyable and refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. The Zinberry is a blueberry zinfandel, while the Tango Peach is like a peach Moscato (it was a favorite of the group). The “surprise” for me was the Chambourcin-Merlot, just because I tend to prefer white wine over the reds. It was just slightly sweet enough to be appealing for summer day drinking, but not too much that you couldn’t savor it and detect the different flavors (the sweetness wasn’t overpowering).
I loved the Chambourcin-Merlot so much that I got a bottle of it for us to share while we listened to the music. Behind the main building/barn was a sloping lawn under a lot of shade. We sat and drank the wine and listened to the music. After the bottle ran out, my friends got a bottle of the Tango Peach, which was a nice, fruity finish to the afternoon and the festival. We spent a few hours there, but plenty of people brought blankets and picnic supplies. You could probably spend a lot of time (and drink a lot of Boordy’s wine) during an event like the bluegrass festival.
It was a beautiful day, Boordy Winery physically is a beautiful (but down-to-earth) property, and the wine tasting was an excellent deal (with a wide range of really enjoyable wines). As this wasn’t something I planned out far in advance, I think this was one of the best decisions I made on my Baltimore trip. It’s probably in the running for one of my favorite experiences, besides just hanging out with my friends. Maybe it was just because I’d been wine tasting-deprived, but I think Boordy has a great “product” in the experience of a visit. If you’re in the Baltimore area, it’s worth a drive out to Boordy (even if you’re not the biggest wine drinker). They also have a wide range of events (concerts, farmers’ markets, etc.), so check out their schedule online.
Boordy Winery- 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes, MD 21082