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Weekend Wine Trip: Piedmont Wine Trail, Part 2

January 27, 2010

Welcome back to part 2 of Maryland’s Piedmont Wine Trail. Let’s pick up where we left off Monday with a look back at Harford and Fiore wineries, both found in Harford County, MD. Once again we found two winemakers at opposite ends of the spectrum – one a long-time leader in Maryland’s industry and another just beginning their first vintages.

Harford Winery ViognierHarford Vineyard and Winery

The story of Harford Winery (named for Maryland’s Harford County) traces the path from start-up wholesale grower, to craft winery, to full-fledged vintner. Their current business model combines all three of these pieces, but focuses on the “amateur market.” Would-be wine makers can purchase juice from Harford and, with the help (and equipment) on-site at the winery, rack, blend, and bottle their own wine – for home consumption, of course.

The winemakers at Harford, however, want to grow the business even bigger. Take it to the next level. I applaud their confidence and wish them the best of luck as they embark on their mission to start their own label. Right now, their operation is so new that they haven’t even produced their first estate vintage – the bottle pictured above started as imported juice from Chile, poured for us in a tasting room opened less than 3 months ago. Congratulations to the staff of Harford winery on this important first step, and we look forward to that first vintage of 100% Harford County-grown grapes!

Sign up to make your own wine or just learn more at harfordvineyard.com.

Fiore Winery Maryland MerlotFiore Winery

In stark contrast to Harford’s brand-new entry to the state industry, Fiore stands as one of the more senior Maryland vintners. Before the winery opened in 1986, owner Mike Fiore was already a veteran from his experience on his family’s winery in Callabria, Italy before his emigration.

We picked up a bottle of Fiore’s Maryland Merlot, a balanced offering that leans on the dry side of merlot and should pair well with flavorful dishes. Their homemade limoncello proved very tempting as well – interestingly, Fiore is the only Maryland winery that also holds a distillery license. The Fiore staff hand-make this lemon-flavored liquor on site using alcohol distilled from leftover grape skins and lemon peel.

Learn more about Fiore Winery’s history at fiorewinery.com.

Stay tuned for the final installment later this week!

-Matthew K.

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