Second in a Series of Maryland Wineries
The first time I went to a winery — just a couple of months ago, by the way — I felt a bit insecure. After all — I’m by no means knowledgeable about wine and I’d mistakenly believed that I needed to be more sophisticated about wines before visiting the wineries. The very first place I’d visited last July I held back a bit and didn’t ask many questions — but I soon learned that the more questions I asked and the more I engaged the wine servers (not sommeliers, I’ve now realized), the more fun it is.
So for this second round of winery visits, I knew what to expect (more or less, since each winery is a bit different) and I knew to bring some noshes along to soak up some of the wine and to experiment with parings!
Some of my favorite wines come from Boordy’s Vineyards. The sangria — loaded with marinating apples and oranges — I make every year for our holiday party I make with Boordy’s Sangria. So Hubby agreed to serve as designated driver for DayTrip Pal and I as we headed to Boordy’s. Oh — and we discovered DeJon Vineyard was just around the corner, so why not try that as well? We had our plan, we had a driver, we had our snacks, so off we went!
We stopped at DeJon first, and were their first customers of the day — but we drove up at just after opening hours at noon and were soon joined by another couple. A sign on the door requested we give Dave a call and he’d come open up immediately. Which he did. We waited only a few minutes on the porch, which was decorated with new and vintage furniture and decorations: it felt homey and comfortable. Although the wine tasting room was not air conditioned (to our disappointment on a day predicted to hit 90 degrees), Dave opened up several wall-sized doors to allow for a delightful cross breeze and a view up the hill to the huge sunflowers shining over the vineyard.
DeJon is a new winery and currently purchases the grapes it needs for its wines, which are all created onsite. Grapes come from Chile, Harford and Carroll counties in Maryland, and the Finger Lakes Region of New York. DeJon has planted vines, but these take time to mature and produce grapes that are worth making into wines — which should be in the next year or two.
Of the wines we tasted, two stood out for me: the Chardonnay and Festivus, the latter a very sweet, sangria-like red. (Full disclosure: I’m by no means a wine connoisseur. I know what I like, I don’t yet know why. Being relatively inexperienced wine drinker, I tend to go for sweeter. I expect as time goes by that’ll evolve. We’ll see. But that’s one of the reasons why I’m enjoying visiting the wineries!) Dave was very knowledgeable about the wines he was serving, and ably shared the history of the vineyard and was a very pleasant server.
I found DeJon’s wine tasting room homey and comfortable. It was definitely decorated in a way that was meant to be comfortable and evoke that homey feeling. By the way, every Wednesday and Saturday they bring in bands and offer a pleasant space to enjoy live music and wines — check their website for which bands come when. My husband and I are planning on returning some Saturday evening to enjoy one of the bands.
It was a fun visit and we’ll certainly be heading back. I thoroughly recommend visiting DeJons — they’re understated and a small, relatively recent addition to the Maryland Winery scene, but well worth the detour!
Boordy and DeJon are not even a mile apart and make a natural pairing. I found that the two vineyards compliment each other — the oldest vineyard in Maryland and one of the youngest. Boordy’s opened in 1945 and basically pioneered Maryland’s wine production. I know this because I looked it up on the internet and found a recent Baltimore Sun article.
Unlike at DeJon, the wine server, whose name I never learned, was a little distracted and busy — so no chatting, much to my disappointment. For the basic price of wine tasting, you can choose 6 out of a lengthy list — and the wine server asked me a few questions and then made some excellent recommendations. But there were several other pairs of people also tasting the wines while we were there — on Labor Day Monday — and she had little time to spare. We didn’t get any of the history of the place or have an opportunity to chat about what food a particular wine might compliment, which I realized was one of the aspects of the wine tasting experience I enjoy most. It’s a good thing the lobby in Boordy’s sells wine wheels that matches wines to food.
I left having enjoyed some wines and enjoyed the experience overall, but not feeling as welcomed as I’d felt in other wineries, including an equally big one such as Linganore Wine Cellars. Still, don’t let this dissuade you from visiting Boordy’s. The wines are worth it, the wine tasting room(s) are visually pleasing and very pleasant — in the cellar of an old barn that was tastefully and artfully repurposed. Although we didn’t have time that day, we would have learned some of the history had we gone on the winery tour.
After our first visit to wineries, we’d learned to bring bread, cheese,
grapes, and chocolate to picnic on at the wineries. Both DeJon and Boordy’s offered comfortable places to spread out the contents of our mini-cooler and have a picnic. Boordy’s felt like we’d stepped into a 100-year old kitchen in Paris — yet still comfortable and thankfully, cool in the 90-degree heat.
Tip #1: Even on holiday Mondays, many vineyards are closed. So make sure you check their websites or call to verify availability.
Tip #2: If you avoid purchasing wine and pack your own picnic, this is a budget-friendly day trip!
Getting there: GPS it! DeJon Vineyards is located at 5300 Hydes Road, Hydes, MD 21082; Boordy Vineyards is located at 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes, MD 21082.
Hours: Check the websites.
Dogs: Dogs and wine — not really a good mix.
Eats: Pack a picnic — that’s the best plan. Put in some favorite cheeses, maybe a smoked gouda or a nice garlic cheddar? Rustic bread goes well, and maybe even some summer sausage. Don’t forget a bit of chocolate to try with wines that pair well with it.
Check out the post about our first visit to three Maryland wineries: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-taste-wineries-of-maryland-first-in.html
Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email email@example.com if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger!