Piedmont Wine Trail: Harvest Time!

Piedmont Wine Trail at Harvest Time!  Fourth in the Maryland Winery series
This week Lynn, aka “Day Tripper,” shares her experiences on an Anne Arundel Community College-sponsored wine tasting trip along the Piedmont Wine Trail. Here’s what she thought about her experiences at three Maryland wineries. — Daytrip Gal

I’m now convinced harvest time is the best time to visit vineyards. We got to taste the grapes, saw the grapes being separated from the vines and got to taste a rough early wine as well as a lot of delicious fully developed wines. 
An Anne Arundel Community College (yeah, shameless plug) wine tour to the Maryland Piedmont Wine trail north of Baltimore was the perfect adventure on a beautiful late September Saturday. A small bus of fun people left the college at 9:30 a.m.  and went to three vineyards along the Piedmont Wine Trail: Mount Felix Vineyard and Winery, Harford Vineyard, and Royal Rabbit Vineyards. We tasted a wide variety of wines, most on the dry side, including some new grapes I hadn’t even heard of before.

The first winery we visited was Mount Felix Vineyard and Winery, located on the estate of Mount Felix Manor, a circa 1830s Georgian house located at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. The wines are named after historical figures and pay tribute to the background of the owner’s family. We enjoyed a box lunch outside on the patio overlooking the vineyards with the Susquehanna River in the distance. It doesn’t get much better!

Photo courtesy of Harford Vineyard.

Harford Vineyard and Winery is located in the heart of the Piedmont wine trail region of Harford County, MD. Harford Vineyard was founded in 2003 when Vidal and Traminette grapes were planted, followed by Merlot in 2005. In May 2009 it officially became a Winery and specializes in limited production of finely crafted wines. Harford Vineyard currently has 10 wines. The winery supplements its own production by purchases of a small amount of high quality grapes from other growers. But it also makes really good wines from its own vines. This is where we were allowed to taste a very young wine just beginning to ferment as well as some grapes–delicious!

If you enjoy making wines as well as tasting professional vineyards’ wines, then you’re in the right place. Harford Vineyard is unique in that it sells everything a home wine maker needs. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Go Local for the Holiday Annual Even at Harford Vineyardt, running all Saturdays & Sundays in December. This event combines wine tasting with a craft show, with all local artisans, restaurants providing food, and everything you need to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Photo courtesy Royal Rabbit Vineyards

At Royal Rabbit, the tasting room is in the basement of the owner’s house. (Love the name. Royal is a
combination of the owner’s first and last names and he had pet rabbits growing up). They are trying some grapes there that aren’t being grown elsewhere in Maryland. Who knew Cabernet Sauvignon vines grew well in Maryland? He’s made a nice wine out of them.

Like most wineries, Royal Rabbit encourages guests to either bring snacks or lunch and enjoy it with their favorite Royal Rabbit Wine. The winery also has board games out to give the tasting room the feel of an inn.
Coming up on Nov 2nd, Royal Rabbit is sponsoring a Medieval Afternoon. There will be hand-to-hand combat (although presumably, that’s not mandatory if you visit and taste some wine!), various demonstrations, and the following contests: Best attempt at medieval garb; best medieval favor, best favor presentation, best pub song (to be sung in the tasting room), and various children’s games throughout the day. On the same day, the House Rabbit Society will be promoting the humane care of rabbits. They will have a couple rabbits for adoption. Anyone who joins the HRS at the Medieval Afternoon will receive a 10% discount on all Royal Rabbit purchases that day.

Photo courtesy of Harford Vineyards

The Piedmont Wine Trail includes the wineries of Baltimore and Harford Counties. As you follow the Piedmont Wine Trail, you can visit historic towns, hike through numerous state parks, and tour the many cultural attractions. Baltimore and Harford counties’ countryside provides a vibrant landscape of rolling hills dotted with thoroughbred horse farms and nationally recognized wineries producing cellar-worthy reds and lively white wines. For more information about the Piedmont Wine Trail, visit: www.piedmontwinetrail.com

Hours: Check the wineries individual websites for wine tasting room hours.
Getting there: GPS recommended if you go on your own. Check the wineries’ websites for directions and addresses.
Eats: Box lunches provided via the AACC winetasting tour. However, if you visit the wineries on your own, just pack a picnic — most wineries provide both inside and outside space to enjoy a picnic basket and a bottle of wine. 
Dogs: Dogs and alcohol don’t mix. 

Websites: For upcoming AACC winetasting tours, go to aacc.edu and search on wine. Next trip will be in May 2014.

Mount Felix Winery: http://www.mountfelix.com;
Harford Vineyard and Winery: http://www.harfordvineyard.com;
Royal Rabbit Vineyards: http://www.royalrabbitvineyards.com/

Visit MidAtlantic Daytrips Blog for updates on places we’ve visited and upcoming events on Facebook: facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Check out previous posts about Maryland wineries:
Linganore Winecellars, Serpent Ridge VIneyards, and Black Ankle: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-taste-wineries-of-maryland-first-in.html
Dejon and Boordy vineyards: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/10/dejon-and-boordy-contrast-of-new-and.html
Red Heifer Winery: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/10/red-heifer-winery-furlough-special.html
Elk Run: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/yoga-and-wine-in-vineyard.html

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email [email protected] if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger! 

One Reply to “Piedmont Wine Trail: Harvest Time!”

  1. Thanks for the post! I enjoyed talking to the wine class especially since there were several Rhone Valley wine lovers in it!

    Roy (Royal Rabbit Vineyards)

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