You’ll find an abundance of locally produced wine, cider, mead, brews and spirits in Frederick County, Md. The rich soil and moderate climate have attracted farmers to this region for centuries.
Frederick County is home to more farms than any county in Maryland. Around every corner, you’ll find fresh produce at shops and markets, pick-your-own fruit at orchards, locally grown and harvested food served in fine dining establishments, ice cream scooped fresh at dairy farm creameries, and locally produced wine, cider, mead, brews and spirits.
Winemaking in Maryland dates from at least 1648. Just 14 years later, Maryland Gov. Charles Calvert planted 200 acres of European grapes, the first in Maryland, on the east bank of the St. Mary’s River.
More than 40 years ago, a small vineyard was planted at an old dairy farm along the Linganore countryside. Several years later, Linganore Winecellars opened its doors as Frederick County’s first winery and one of the first in Maryland.
The county now has more than half a dozen wineries offering a wide selection of award-winning wines, warm hospitality and a glimpse into the ancient art of winemaking. They are the perfect place to sip wine and relax in the tranquil countryside as you drink in the view.
Frederick County is an ideal location for harvesting grapes and prime for growing grains and fruit. Local breweries and distilleries offer beverages made from those harvests. A wide variety of breweries, from Maryland’s largest, Flying Dog Brewery, to small farm breweries allowed to produce up to 15,000 barrels a year, serve up craft beer.
On the heels of the craft-beer movement is the craft-distilling boom, producing whiskey, gin, vodka, rum and lesser-known spirits. In 2014, Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery opened in northern Frederick County, appealing to those who love both wine and craft spirits. The City of Frederick amended its city code to allow small craft distilleries downtown. Several downtown distilleries are slated to open in 2016, marking the first time handcrafted spirits will have been available in Frederick since Prohibition.
In addition to wine, beer and spirits, you will find cider and mead in Frederick County. Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Maryland’s first licensed cidery, is located in Jefferson. Its nine-acre orchard contains more than 300 semi-dwarf trees and 45 apple varieties, and its operation specializes in cider and baking apples. Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery in Middletown offers mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey dating from ancient Europe.
With the popularity of farm-to-table dining and a growing number of wineries, breweries and distilleries, agriculture’s importance in Frederick County shines today. Choose your favorite beverage and come enjoy a tour and tasting in hip and historic Frederick County.