We have a simple mission: to put Maryland wine on the map. That makes it important for us to be fully aware of everything we do and how it plays into the bigger picture. The beginning of a new year is always a great time to reflect back and look ahead.
On New Year's Day, our family got together for our annual big picture meeting. We discussed everything from farming practices to winemaking techniques, new product ideas, finances, staffing, and events. What’s working, what’s not and where can we do better were the common questions regardless of the topic.
The only rules at our family meetings are:
Allow everyone to contribute
Don’t interrupt the person speaking
Don’t start sentences with “No”
Cell phones off
Capture decisions and action items
At the end of the meeting we talked about what we were most proud of from the year past, and what we were looking forward to sharing with our community in the year ahead. That’s what we want to share with you.
1. Top 101 Winery in America – For the second year in a row, we’ve found our name on this prestigious list. We honestly still can’t believe it. The number 87 winery in America is truly humbling given that there are nearly 9,000 wineries across all 50 states. To put that in perspective, Old Westminster Winery is in the top 1%. We’re happy that the criteria is rigorous and that any winery that makes the list has to pass tough muster. It’s an honor to make the cut. Here’s a link to the article and the complete list: 101 Best Wineries in America
2. Wine On A Mission – Shortly after hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas, we started a campaign to support the victims. This project quickly grew to include those affected by subsequent hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. Our hearts broke for those faced with the epic task of rebuilding their homes, businesses, and neighborhoods. We earmarked $1 of every bottle of wine we sold for the relief effort and ultimately donated $10,000 to The Red Cross hurricane relief efforts.
3. Featured in Wine Enthusiast – The Old Line State isn’t all that old in wine years. And it certainly isn’t known in the grand world history of wine. But that’s changing. And it’s always been our intent to be a part of the evolution. Fast forward to now. Wine Enthusiast just published an article that offers our little state a long-awaited nod of approval: “At 370 years old, the winemaking industry in Maryland is ready for prime time.” Minds... blown. Maryland is coming of age right before our eyes. And we’re so honored to be considered a “top winery” along with so many others that are doing things the right way. See the full story here: Maryland Wine Hits National Newsstands
4. Baltimore’s Best Winery – Every year, Baltimore Magazine publishes a list celebrating all things awesome in the Baltimore region. This year, we were honored with the title of Best Winery. The magazine wrote: “When three siblings are a farmer, a chemist, and a marketing whiz, the logical next step is to open a winery. Our ideal Friday night is sipping on fizzy Pét-Nat Albariño and listening to live music outside the beautiful tasting room.” See the full list here: Best of Baltimore 2017
5. Can Project – Everything we do at Old Westminster Winery focuses on making the best wines we can and challenging the status quo. In that spirit of innovation... we CANNED WINE. And not just any wine. These wines are true to our vision: 100% local & natural. Aaron Menenberg, founder at Good Vitis, said of our canned project: “Old Westminster, for all the fun they have, only put out serious wine, even if it’s playful.” Read more here: Noteworthy Maryland Wine... In a Can.
New Year; new goals. It’s challenging to lay out all of our goals for 2018 in a single post, so instead we’ll share a few things we’re most excited about in the coming months:
1. Saint Vincent Wine Festival – We're putting a Maryland spin on an ancient Burgundian tradition! Each January, wine lovers travel to Burgundy, France to celebrate Saint Vincent, the Patron Saint of Wine. On January 27-28, 2018, The Saint Vincent Wine Festival will take place in the rolling hills of Westminster, Maryland! Join us for a festive weekend featuring winery tours, barrel sampling, live music, seasonal fare and roaring fire pits. Tickets are limited – get yours HERE!
2. New Pét-Nats – If you’ve been following us over the past couple of years, you know we’re ALL IN on pét-nats. Not only because it’s delicious and refreshing, but also because it’s natural and transparent. Pét-nat is an all-but-forgotten style of sparkling wine that made its debut in France’s Loire Valley half a millennia ago. Unlike its showy cousin, the Champagne method, which is precise and calculated, pét-nat is wild and spontaneous. That’s why we love it. This year we’ll be introducing new varieties into our repertoire. Think Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Muscat and Albariño. Stay tuned!
3. En Primeur, Maryland-style – We’re pleased to present a modern twist on a centuries-old Bordeaux concept. Cru members are invited to join us for an exclusive opportunity to taste and purchase new wines before they’re released to the market. During this 2-hour wine immersion, we will acquaint you to the diverse Maryland vineyards where the grapes are grown and Lisa will explain the particulars of each wine by illuminating the different processes and characteristics in the glass. Look for the first En Primeur event the weekend of March 17-18. Stay tuned for more details.
4. New Tasting Room Events – We believe that the only way to truly appreciate great wine is through a personal experience. And that’s why everything we do at our tasting room is centered on our overarching goal to connect our community to the land through a glass of wine. Join us to taste delicious, Maryland-grown wines and a variety of local cheeses, charcuterie, soups, and other seasonal fare – we support local farmers by sourcing local ingredients. We also love to showcase local musicians, artists, and chefs. From Food Truck Friday to Sunday Funday, it’s all about the wine. Wine that displays complexity, character, and – most importantly – is a pleasure to drink. So pack up some lawn chairs this spring and join us in the country for a relaxing, fun-filled experience.
So here we are at the very start of a new year. Now is the time to prepare for a new phase in our growth. As local farmers and artisans, we absolutely love to share the fruit of the land with you. We can’t wait to see you at Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard this year!
Happy New Year!