Boordy Vineyards

Boordy Vineyards, the oldest winery in the state, sits on 230 acres in Baltimore County. (November 6, 2003)

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:

Basignani Winery

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.