By Ashli Johnson

When traveling to new places you are challenged to grow in perspective and appreciation of other cultures and lifestyles. It provides a level of insight you can’t otherwise achieve; that’s why I love it.

Last week I returned home from the mecca of fine wine regions. With wide eyes and an almost mythic expectation of the country, France was dressed for the occasion: pristine architecture, cobblestone streets, café’s on every corner, wafts of freshly baked baguettes. It was everything I imagined.   

I spent ten days traveling the northeast regions visiting Champagne, Alsace and Burgundy. Hours each day were filled with conversations and tastings with winemakers and family members of these historic vineyards. These producers – some dating back to the 12th century – are rich in tradition and proud of their region’s status. I was inspired by their passion for excellence while maintaining respectful practices set forth by their predecessors.

But driving through the picturesque countryside, something was bothering me.

There were producers from Burgundy who had no interest in tasting wines from Alsace, nor Champagne, nor anywhere else outside of their region. And vice versa. The distance is not as though it’s an inconvenience either. They’re only as far as three hours from one another.

Nonetheless, it hit me: How can we truly appreciate a wine if we aren’t aware of how it fits into the world of wine?

Every region offers something unique and beautiful. Distinct soils, climate, and culture all contribute to a place’s ability to craft distinctive wines. And it’s not a competition, it’s about appreciation. When you learn a producer’s ‘why’, it’s impossible not to gain realization. Even if you don't like the wine.

I am invigorated by the idea that Maryland is a young, ambitious region. We are not only discovering all of our own possibilities, but we are also proving our place on the map of world wine.

We are building on a solid foundation: rolling hills, ancient soils, and a climate similar to parts of the Old World.

At Old Westminster Winery, our team is talented and serious about producing world-class wines. We will continue to strive for excellence. We will experiment with new varieties. We will plant vineyards on new sites. And we will continue to travel because it’s a prerequisite for personal development. Complacency is not an option.   

This is what gets me excited about wine in Maryland: There is so much more to discover. We’ve only just scratched the surface. Our story is being written every day.   

Be a part of it with us…


See Sights From Ashli's Trip...