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Mind Share Project: Old Westminster + Aslin Beer

Mind Share Project: Old Westminster + Aslin Beer

A fundamental goal here at Old Westminster Winery is to put Maryland on the map. Maryland's diverse landscape, dynamic community, and business curiosity offer boundless possibilities for the creation of unique products and experiences.

We're not only passionate about creating forward-thinking, high-quality wines, but also collaborating with like-minded brands and businesses - joining forces to create avant-garde products.

Our intellectual curiosity and itch to challenge the status quo has given life to a new collaborative series we’re dubbing the Mind Share Project. The premise is simple: team up with our friends and create delicious, non-traditional hybrids of wine/beer/cider/spirits/kombucha, etc.! And we’re traveling all over the county in the process. After all, getting outside of our borders is vital to our vision for proselytizing Maryland’s bounty near and far!

Enter Alsin Beer Co.

Aslin Beer Co. is a distinguished brewery situated just across the Potomac River in Herndon, VA. We're excited to announce that our first Mind Share Project is in the works with these fine folks. Stay tuned for more info on what we're brewing (and fermenting!) this fall! 

The Price for Premium Maryland Wine

The Price for Premium Maryland Wine

Occasionally we’re asked, “Why is your wine so expensive?”

The answer is simple: Our price point is a direct reflection of the cost to produce and the quality of the product. If it were cheaper to make, the cost would be lower. Likewise, if the quality wasn’t there, the product wouldn’t sell as briskly as it does.

While I wish we were getting rich, it just isn’t the case. But to us it’s always been less about profitability and more about creating something truly great. Knowing that we’re producing what we think is the best is a form of compensation for us.

Maryland is one of the more expensive places in the world to farm. The cost of land, the cost of living and cost of labor are steep. Additionally, we farm the hard way: by hand. From winter pruning, to summer hedging, to harvest, it’s all powered by sweat, not oil. This method of farming offers our vines a level of care few others experience. Our fingerprints are on every vine, every grape and every bottle. If a farmer can’t afford to farm well, we all lose. 

The barriers to entry in the wine industry are high. Without getting into specifics, establishing and managing a vineyard, equipping a state-of-the-art winery, and building a beautiful tasting room are expensive. 

Selling premium is often selling scarcity. Not to be “cool”, but because that is the nature of our small vineyards – they yield limited quantities of delicious wines. 

I’m confident that we could raise our prices and not diminish demand. But our goal is not to see how much we can fetch for a bottle. It’s not an ego game for us.

At Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard, our singular goal is to produce great American wines and sell them at the most reasonable price we can justify.

Not-So-Local Wine Lists

Not-So-Local Wine Lists

Farm-to-table restaurants are all the rage in the American dining scene. Real food, locally sourced, thoughtfully prepared. It’s great. Organic veggies, pasture-raised animals, seasonal selections, local beer, craft cocktails and international wines. No, seriously, there’s often not a single local wine on the list. Not even regional… No Maryland. No Virginia. No New York.

I would understand this situation if there weren’t seriously delicious wines being made in these regions. A restaurateur can’t ask a guest to tolerate a bad wine because it’s local any more than they can ask a guest to tolerate a bad steak because it’s local. But the fact is that local wine is making a serious run.

Eat local food, drink local wine.

Lenn Thompson, executive editor of The New York Cork Report, has long said, "Good wine can be made in any state — it just takes the right grapes in the right places handled by the right people." I love that. It’s true. A good vineyard site, meticulous farming, thoughtful cellar practices and personal commitment will yield wines that display complexity, character and, most importantly, are a joy to drink.

Don’t get me wrong, not all local wine is fit for a prestigious wine list. I get that. But just like any other ingredient, the best local wines are worth seeking out. And the best wines of a particular region should be featured by restaurants that preach farm-to-table.

Vignerons are farmers. Trust me, I know. At Old Westminster Winery, we pour our hearts and souls into growing great American wines on our Maryland farm. We’re working tirelessly on our mission to put Maryland wine on the world map. This starts with winning the minds of influential restaurateurs, chefs and sommeliers.

We are so thankful for the numerous and prestigious restaurants in our region that do feature our wines.

I don’t intend this blog post to shame or insult restauranteurs without local wines on their menus. Rather, I hope it inspires folks to recognize local wine as local agriculture and a serious and beautiful addition to any wine list.

If you’re not a restaurateur, then I strongly encourage you to make sure your favorite restaurants know that you want to see local wines on their lists. But don’t just ask for them, buy them.

Drink local wine.  It’s not only delicious, it’s meaningful.