"I was amazed at how good they were," he said. "What impressed me was the intensity of fruit, something that can be hard to get here" on the East Coast in general and in Maryland in particular, where the humid climate has long been thought to put wineries at a steep disadvantage vis-a-vis West Coast winemakers.

Deford said such accolades affirm what Boordy is trying to achieve.

"I'm quite sure we could not have achieved that if we had not undergone this program," he said.

Once the new vineyards are up to full strength, they'll produce about 15 percent of Boordy's total production, but 75 percent or more of the wine in the premium Landmark series, and up to that amount for certain wines in the Icon series, the middle price range of Boordy's three product lines.

Boordy also buys fruit from other growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington state and California.

At least two local wine merchants say Maryland wine in general, and Boordy in particular, continues to build a following.

"We've seen a tremendous growth in Boordy business, as in the rest of Maryland wineries," said Michael Hyatt, managing partner at Wells Discount Liquors. He figures Boordy sales are up 20 percent to 30 percent in the last two years.

Carey Williams, a manager at the Wine Source, couldn't put a number on it but said Boordy and other Maryland wines make up a growing portion of their sales, particularly when there's a local wine festival or competition, and for holidays.

"I think it's driven by the increase in quality," Williams said.

arthur.hirsch@baltsun.com

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