"Lisa Hinton was the last family member to get on board with the idea of opening a winery on her parents' farm in Westminster. She had just graduated with a degree in chemistry, and wasn't quite expecting working on a family-run winery to be her career path.
It's a good thing she finally warmed up to the concept. Hinton, 26, is the scientific brain behind the successful Old Westminster Winery. If she hadn't agreed to jump on board, she never would have discovered her talent for winemaking.
The farm had never even grown a grape until four years ago. And Hinton had never made wine. But her parents were looking for a way to put the farm's eight acres to good use and proposed the idea of starting a family-owned wine company to their three children. Once all of the siblings agreed that this was a good idea, the family planted vines on their farm with the understanding that each child would be responsible for his or her place of expertise.
Hinton's brother, Drew Baker, is responsible for business administration while her sister, Ashli Johnson, handles all of the marketing, promotions and events.
The family hired a consultant to teach them about winemaking in 2011, after Hinton graduated from Stevenson University. The next year, she spent six months in Sonoma, Calif., perfecting her skills through an internship.
"Wine is fascinating," she said. "There's so much to learn about it and you can never really know everything."
But she already knows a lot. The company's Albariño 2013 was named the Best White at the 2014 Maryland Governor's Cup Competition.
"It was the best feeling ever," she says. "When we found out it was almost kind of surreal, because I wasn't expecting it at all. I knew that we produced some really great wine, but I also know that I'm so new to the industry and you never really know if it's the best."
Hinton continues to take online classes focused on winemaking through the University of California-Davis. But the most important thing she has learned hasn't come from winemaking. It has come from working with her siblings.
"They're my best friends even outside of work," she said. "Friday night comes along, and we've worked together all week and we hang out anyway. All of our spouses are really close friends and we hang out all the time. "
By Lindsay Machak, Published: August 27, 2015