Wine Country On the Chesapeake
Napa, Sonoma ... and now North Beach
You don’t have to travel to California, nor even to Virginia, to get to Wine Country. Maryland is fast making up for lost time as a grape-growing, wine-making region.
“There are 50 wineries in the state, and their production is booming,” said Regina McCarthy, Maryland Wineries’ marketing coordinator.
In Calvert County, old tobacco soils are proving the Patuxent Wine Trail is ripe for the picking.
Eat Drink Go Local, a three-stop festival of Maryland wine, celebrates the boom — and brings you in on it. North Beach is the second stop for the festival, organized by the Maryland Wineries Association with a specialty-crop grant from the state. Saturday, August 13 is the date.
Maryland Wineries at Eat Drink Go Local
“Our wineries are giving us crops in the county that weren’t here 20 years ago,” said Joyce Baki, tourism specialist at the Calvert County Department of Economic Development. “We’ve had our Patuxent Wine trail here for two years, and it’s one of the top requests we get for information. Our wineries have proven themselves to be extremely good.”
Friday nights’ weekly North Beach farmers market — with its lines of shoppers — laid the foundation for this event.
The North Beach Farmers Market is “a place where the local community wants to come, and Eat Drink Go Local is just an extension of that,” Baki said.
Eat Drink Go Local is free, but $15 buys you a tasting pass plus a stemless wine glass to hold samples from 17 local wineries. Need a little something in your belly to go along with it? Then you’ll want the $25 wine and food pairing pass. You’ll still get your stemless and a six-bottle wine carrier for taking your haul home.
North Beach’s pairings will have a local taste.
“You’ll actually see how local chefs take what you can buy at the farmers market, and you can take it home to make for your own family,” Baki said.
Six restaurants will showcase their food and its Maryland wine partner. Sweet Sue’s Bakeshop and Coffee Bar will pair dessert with sweet wines. Blondie’s Bakery pairs focaccia and cheeses with wines. For meat-free, A Better Bakery instructs you on which variety of vino goes with vegan plates.
“It’s a great opportunity to watch a chef do a demo, find the wine that goes with the food and pick up the ingredients and that bottle of wine,” McCarthy said.
It’s not all booze by the beach.
On the local front, four local farmers will be selling cheese, fruits and vegetables. Businesses will be open all day.
At ReStore, for example, three local recycled art artists show and sell their work. You might have to speak up, though, as The ReStore is also hosting a chainsaw carving demo throughout the day.
Eat Drink Go Local was a hit in Frederick, drawing 800 people. McCarthy expects a similar scene in North Beach with 400 tickets already sold and plenty more at the door.
Eat Drink Go Local noon-6pm, North Beach: www.marylandwine.com.