California's Napa Valley may be wine country, but it's not the only region in America to boast great-tasting, award-winning vintages.
Locally produced wines have been recognized at numerous national and international competitions, and the critical acclaim has begun to put the state's burgeoning wine business on the map.
"It makes the larger wine crowd look to Maryland for good wines," said Kevin Atticks, spokesman for the Association of Maryland Wineries.
The state is ideal for viniculture, he said, because it has distinct growing regions, from the mountainous western panhandle to the marshy, low-lying Eastern Shore.
The regions' topographic diversity means that wineries can create a wide array of tastes.
The types may vary, but the quality always remains high, Atticks said.
"Each of [the wineries] takes advantage of their local microclimate. We juggle topography and our climates to consistently create good wines," he said.
So dust off that map of Maryland and head to wine country - it's not as far off as you think.
The following is a list of Maryland winemakers:
15722 Falls Road, Sparks.
The roots of this wine company began to grow in 1974 when Bert Basignani and his wife planted 60 vines on a 10-acre plot near Baltimore.
The Basignani Winery opened in 1986. It produces 10 varieties, including chardonnay, seyval and riesling.
Tours of the operation, which is on Falls Road, are available during visiting hours.
Winter hours are noon.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. For more information, call 410-472-0703 or visit www. basignani.com.
Berrywine Plantations and Linganore Winecellars
13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mount Airy.
This local purveyor offers a number of different wines, including fruit, honey and dessert varieties.
The 40-acre winery, which began producing in 1976, makes about 250,000 bottles annually and offers daily tours at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-795-6432 or visit www.linganore- wine.com.
12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes.
This winery, the oldest in Maryland, sits on a picturesque, 230-acre plot in northeastern Baltimore County.
More than a dozen varieties of wine are produced, including merlot, cabernet sauvignon and vidal blanc.
Tours take place daily, on the hour, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-592-5015 or visit www.boordy.com.
805 Greenbridge Road, Brookeville.
Founded in 1983, this Montgomery County winery produces the wine standards: chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir and cabernet.
But the vineyard also creates its own blends, including Eye of the Oriole (blush), Beholder (white) and Mariage (white).
Hours are noon-5 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. For more information, call 301-774-2310.
Cygnus Wine Cellars
3130 Long Lane, Manchester.
Carroll County's only winery specializes in nearly a dozen types, including sparkling varieties and blended reds.
Stop by for a tour and a tasting - the grounds are open to the public on weekends.
Hours are noon-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and weekdays by appointment. For more information, call 410-374-6395 or visit www. cygnuswinecellars.com.
Deep Creek Cellars
177 Frazee Ridge Road, Friendsville.
Located in Garrett County, this quaint winery was founded in 1997 and has since created half a dozen varieties, including blueberry, seasonal and dessert wines.
At an elevation of 2,100 feet, the grounds of Deep Creek Cellars also offer glorious views of Maryland's countryside.
Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays through Nov. 22. During winter months, call for an appointment. For more information, call 301-746-4349 or visit www.deepcreekcellars.com.
Elk Run Vineyards & Winery
15113 Liberty Road, Mount Airy.
This Mount Airy operation was established in 1979 and began producing wine in 1983.
It offers nearly a dozen wines, including pinot noir, cabernet franc and riesling.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-775-2513 or visit www.elkrun.com.
3026 Whiteford Road, Pylesville.
Located in Harford County's Graceton Valley, this winery was started by an Italian family with more than 400 years of viniculture experience.
It offers a wide variety of wines, including chambourcin, vidal blanc, merlot and riesling.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-879-4007 or visit www.fiorewinery.com.
Little Ashby Vineyards
27549 Ashby Drive, Easton.
Little Ashby was founded in 2000 and is Maryland's only winery on the Eastern Shore.
The vineyard, on the banks of the Miles River, has produced four varieties of wine: merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and Spring Red.
Hours are by appointment. For more information, call 410-819-8850 or visit www. littleashbyvineyards.com.
14001 Liberty Road, Mount Airy.
This winery did its first "commercial crush" in the autumn of 1985.
Today, the company produces about 3,000 gallons per year and offers more than a dozen varieties, including honey wine, chardonnay and riesling.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 301-831-5464 or visit www.loewvineyards.net.
Penn Oaks Winery
11 Midhurst Road, Silver Spring.
Founded in 2000, Penn Oaks is one of the newer additions to Maryland's wine community.
The Montgomery County winery offers nine varieties of wine, including Piesporter, Muller-Thurgau, noble rot and riesling.
Hours are by appointment. For more information, call 301-562-8592.
Woodhall Vineyards and Wine Cellars
17912 York Road, Parkton.
This Baltimore County winery was founded 20 years ago.
It purveys 17 varieties of wine, including cabernet sauvignon, seyval, chardonnay, chambourcin and riesling.
Saturday and Sunday, the winery will present a juried art show, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Regular business hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 410-357-8644 or visit www.woodhallwine cellars.com.
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