The summer of 2013 is all but over, so we will soon have the Shore to ourselves once again — for a while, at least.
As we emerge from our burrows like Punxsutawney Phil, we often revel in exploring the land as if it were brand-new, so here’s a suggestion: While you are pondering your fall itinerary, take a moment to consider how the region has evolved of late into a bubbling wellspring of truly excellent homespun wineries and breweries, with more than 20 currently calling the Eastern Shore home. Why not discover this local-liquid rapture for yourself by taking a leisurely stroll along the rich and fertile grounds of Delmarva’s Wine & Ale Trail, where some of the best products of their kind in the U.S. are waiting for your enthusiastic palate. To make things a little easier for you, CSM has highlighted some of what you may wish to experience on your tasty travels. Enjoy!
To hear them tell it, Jack Lord and Kathryn Danko-Lord are the least important people involved in Costa Ventosa. Nonetheless, they are its founders and owners. A graduate of Ohio State University, Kathryn is the winemaker and is responsible for the tasting room. Jack, meanwhile, is the “dirt guy.” He used to be a Maryland State Trooper, where, according to him, he’d dealt with enough dirtballs to prepare him for his current earthy vocation. With up to nine varietals to choose from, this Worcester County winery relies heavily on amazing volunteers, good friends and loving family to make it the success it is.
9031 Whaleyville Rd., Whaleyville
Fenwick Wine Cellars
Fourth-generation farmer Adrian Mobilia worked alongside his father to help the family winery achieve its fruition in 1999, when the first bottle of the Mobilia family winery was produced. A Penn State graduate with a degree in horticulture, Adrian feels a certain sense of unparalleled fulfillment and purpose that comes from seeing the fruits of his labors literally grown from the ground up. From Cab Savs, Merlots and Chambourcins to Pinot Grigios, Rieslings and Chardonnays
to Peach, Blueberry and Green Apple, Fenwick Wine Cellars has something special in store for you.
38016 Fenwick Shoals Blvd., Selbyville
Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery
With an early interest in agriculture and using management skills developed in the poultry industry, Tom Shelton pursued an interest spawned when he’d started making fruit wines in his teens. After purchasing a farm in Allen, Md., in 1998, he planted his first grape vines the following year. In 2006, he sought his commercial license, and today, Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery offers at least 14 special wines to suit palates of every size and shape. Tom is known to be very particular about every aspect of wine production, so get ready to be impressed.
3155 Noble Bridge Rd., Eden
Layton’s Chance Winery
The Layton family has been a force in Dorchester County agriculture since Joseph H. Layton, Sr. acquired the original farm in 1948. In the mid-’70s, Joseph H. Layton, Jr. and his wife, Laura, added to the family’s holdings by purchasing Lazy Day Farms and converting it into a successful grain operation. In 2003, William Layton returned to the farm and dedicated himself to the land he thinks of, quite literally, as his old stomping grounds. Four years later, they took a “chance” by planting grapes suited for the Eastern Shore climate, hoping they would bear fruit. Well, they did, because in 2010, Layton’s Chance Winery became a reality. Don’t miss their annual Harvest Festival on Sept. 14.
4225 New Bridge Rd., Vienna
The Maryland Wine Bar
Brainchild of Deborah Everett, The Maryland Wine Bar currently stocks at least 30 distinct varietals and blends, and approximately 90 different wines. Maryland appellation reds, whites, sparkling wines, hard ciders, dessert wines and ports are among the many styles in store for the eager oenophile. A light-fare pairing menu of cheese plates, dips and chocolates is also available. This cozy Berlin-based wine bar emphasizes intimacy and a relaxed vibe, with cool jazz, blues and other tunes seeping through the sound system while soft, soothing lighting bathes the entire establishment.
103 N. Main St., Berlin
Nassau Valley Vineyards
Nassau Valley Vineyards has the proud distinction of being Delaware’s first and only award-winning winery. Located just
a few miles from bustling beach resorts, Nassau Valley’s winery is nestled among verdant fields along a quiet country road — so close to the action yet a world away. From a platform that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and high-quality regionally grown fruit, Nassau Valley Vineyards produces a variety of top-notch reds and whites, both sweet and dry. The beautiful setting is also available for weddings, parties and special events throughout the year.
32165 Winery Way, Lewes
Great Shoals Winery
Great Shoals’ handcrafted wines have a place on every table. They use apples, pears, peaches, grapes and other fruits from local and regional sources to create dry sparkling wines using the traditional méthode champenoise. Operations began in Mount Vernon, in Somerset County, along a sandy bank of the Wicomico River, not far from Great Shoals Light on the Upper Tangier Sound of the Chesapeake Bay. Though their tasting room is now located in Silver Spring, they continue to produce a few wines at their original Mount Vernon location.
26431 Mason Webster Rd., Princess Anne
Harvest Ridge Winery
Chuck Nunan began making wine in his basement in 1995 to rave reviews. But it wasn’t until 15 years later that he decided to turn his avocation into something bigger. The result is Harvest Ridge Winery. With property that spans both Maryland and Delaware, Harvest Ridge rests contentedly on the historical Mason-Dixon Line. In fact, the tract even bears one of the original Mason-Dixon original-witness stone-and-crown markers, No. 47., which appears on their label. They believe in enjoyable, unpretentious wines that can be enjoyed by the experienced drinker as well as the newcomer.
447 Westville Rd. Marydel, Del.
Burley Oak Brewing Company
The name Burley Oak Brewing Company was derived in part from the name of the town of Berlin, which had its start around the 1790s as part of the Burley Plantation, a 300-acre land grant dating back to 1677. The name Berlin is believed to be derived from a contraction of “Burleigh Inn,” a tavern located at the crossroads of what is now South Main and Tripoli Streets. Their building was originally a Cooperage, making oak barrels to fill with local produce and seafood to ship off to Baltimore in the early 1900s. Today, Burley Oak uses the building to age nearly 50 popular year-round and seasonal handcrafted ales. Burley Oak has open-mike night on Tuesdays.
10016 Old Ocean City Blvd., Berlin
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
In an old grocery store on Bi-State Blvd. in Delmar, Del., Tom and John Knorr joined forces with brewmaster Geoff DeBisschop and Chef John Scheckells to create the Evolution Craft Brewing Company in 2009. In the four years since that fateful event, the brewery known affectionately as Evo Craft has skyrocketed to prominence for their intriguing, high-quality microbrews. With a passion for creating great beers — and their new, bigger space in Salisbury — Evo Craft is poised to make good on its mission to launch a “beer evolution” on the Eastern Shore.
200 Elmwood St., Salisbury
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery / Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats
The story of Dogfish head began in June 1995, when founder and president Sam Calagione launched Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the First State’s first brewpub. Not only was Dogfish Head Delaware’s first brewpub, it was America’s smallest commercial brewery. Well, there’s nothing small about Dogfish Head now. With a gargantuan 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Milton, Dogfish Head now makes enough year-rounds, seasonals, occasionals and collaborations to make Germany foam at the mouth with envy. Dogfish Head has emerged as a brewery of national stature and renown, offering live music every Friday and Saturday at their Rehoboth Beach eatery.
6 Cannery Village Center, Milton
320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth
3rd Wave Brewing Company
The folks at 3rd Wave Brewing Company founded their business on the straightforward principle of “Good friends, good waves, great beer,” and they are certainly making good on that promise, with a medley of great tastes that can be shared and enjoyed at the beach or wherever good pals may be found. Brewmaster John Panasiewicz was brought in from Pennsylvania to spearhead the development of memorable IPAs, Porters, Pale Ales and seasonals for all to enjoy. So far, they’ve got eight in the vat, not including their new small-batch series called Paddle Out.
501 N. Bi-State Blvd., Delmar, Del.
16 Mile Brewing Company
The 16 Mile Brewing Company name harks back to the late 1700s, when Georgetown was still known as Pettijohn’s old field, a rather isolated town, centrally located in Sussex County. The area was “16 miles from anywhere” and eventually
replaced Lewes as the County Seat. 16 Mile owners Chad Campbell and Brett McCrea are big believers in giving back to the community and are active in many local charities. They offer a core of eight unique brews — each named for a local tradition or institution — that your taste buds are sure to remember fondly.
413 S. Bedford St., Georgetown
Tall Tales Brewing Company
Tall Tales Brewing Co. is a small, premium brewery based in rustic Parsonsburg that proudly themes its brews on the mystique of folklore. With brews that include Paul Bunyan American Pale Ale, Calamity Jane Wild Blonde, Red-Headed Stepchild Irish Red and Excalibur IPA, Tall Tales Brewing Co. is banking that these special creations will be passed down among the generations like the mythological characters they’re based on. When you’re there, perhaps enjoying some great food in their comfy lounge area, ask about their weekly small-batch beers, which are only available at the brewery.
6929 Heron Grove Ct., Parsonsburg
The Fin City Brewing Company (at Hooper’s Crab House)
Fin City got its start about two years ago, following a bold idea from a local named Vince Wright, who had just won first place with his “garage-brewed” Pumpkin Ale at the infamous Pumpkin Chunkin festival. Aware of the growing trend and demand for handcrafted beers, and the fact that nothing tastes better to wash down great crabs and Old Bay, The Fin City Brewing Company not only jumped but dove headfirst into the world of craft brewing. They’ve created the brewing equipment, devised a system and today, they stand proud as Ocean City’s first brewpub.
12913 Ocean Gateway, Ocean City
Eastern Shore Brewing Company
Eastern Shore Brewing opened its doors September 2008, thanks to the efforts of owners Adrian and Lori Moritz. Both had an entrepreneurial passion but never thought of a microbrewery as their business. “Make a business out of something you love to do, and you will never work another day in your life,” the couple proclaim. Located in the historic mill complex in St. Michaels, all beers are brewed on the premises and are handcrafted with the finest ingredients. With two year-rounds, two seasonals and three reserve-series brews, it’s an all-star lineup well worth experiencing.
605 S. Talbot St., St. Michaels
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