Black Ankle Vineyards: Quality, Sustainability and Fun

| 8/21/2017 11:11:00 AM

Tags: wine, vinyeards, ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, Maryland, Kurt Jacobson,


Traveling through Central Maryland’s wine country is a study in contrasts.  Fragmented but tall forests surround fields of corn and other crops. As you approach Unionville Road on the way to Black Ankle Vineyards, a tunnel of trees engulfs the narrow country lane. Once you emerge, it’s as if you have been beamed down from space into a European-like vineyard scene. You have arrived in another world.

I used to doubt Maryland wines were any good, but in just one afternoon, my mind changed instantly at the 2017 Comptroller’s Cup Wine Competition. The awards presentation held at Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen July 28, 2017, exposed me to the best wines in Maryland. The award-winning wines were darn good, and the variety was impressive. Winemakers from the Eastern Shore to the Blue Ridge Mountains and in between are making excellent wines.  

As I started the exploring of some of Maryland’s 80 wineries, none impressed me more than Black Ankle Vineyards near Mt Airy. Husband and wife team, Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron, have refreshed a tired old feeder farm and turned it into wine paradise. The setting between two hills provides a perfect micro-climate for grapes. The tasting room is nestled in the low point of the hills providing wide views of the classic farm scene and vineyards.

A Sustainable Vineyard

This secluded setting seems more like a private park than a vineyard. Happy customers linger on the lawn, in the tasting room, or on the patios enjoying being on the farm. But this farm is serious about making great wines and proving it can be done sustainably.  On their website, the owners say,

“We spend a great deal of time doing what we think of as farming the soil – making sure that the microbial life in the soil has a good mix of air, water and nutrients so it can create a healthy environment for our vines.  

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