Charles Mewshaw of BirchView Vineyard in Manchester said he’s looking forward to participating in this weekend’s Maryland Wine Festival.
Mewshaw said he’s been making wine since he was young. And about nine years ago, his family acquired a vineyard and got to work. This year’s festival will be Mewshaw’s first representing BirchView.
The 37th Maryland Wine Festival will return this weekend after a year’s hiatus because of the pandemic, featuring wine tasting, wine sales, live music, juried artisans and a variety of food vendors. The two-day event runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the BirchView Vineyard’s presence in the county, Mewshaw said his wines are available for purchase online or can be picked up with an appointment only. In addition, they are being served at local restaurants throughout the Baltimore area.
In this year’s Governor’s Cup competition, three of BirchView’s wines won silver medals, including the 2019 Pinot Grigio that will be served at the festival.
“The community of the Maryland wineries and grape-growers are almost like a family,” said Mewshaw, general manager and owner of BirchView. “They welcome you with open arms.”
Although there is always “some friendly competition” among the wineries, he said everyone knows each other and is willing to lend a helping hand.
Philosophy, a mobile boutique winery run by Hampstead resident Kimberly Johnson and her partner Denise Matthews, will also be participating in this year’s wine festival for the first time. It’s also the first woman-owned and African American owned winery in the state, Johnson said.
“We’re unique because we don’t have a brick-and-mortar location,” said Johnson, who also serves as treasurer for the Maryland Wine Association.
All of Philosophy’s wine is made from Maryland grapes at the Baltimore City Wine Collective, which consists of a group of winemakers who share equipment.
Soon the pair plan to open their own facility where Johnson will make the wine and Matthews will run the tasting room.
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Johnson said is looking forward to serving their 2020 Viognier, a white wine native to France, at the festival.
“I’m a little nervous about pouring the wine but I’m glad people will get the chance to taste it,” she said. “I hope people will come out the festival this year … I can’t wait.”
Jim Bauckman, director of communications for the Maryland Wineries Association and the Brewers Association of Maryland said something new at the festival this year is the Maryland Wine Shop, a retail store selling glasses and bottles of wine not included in the event’s main field.
At Thursday’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, encouraged residents to attend.
“A lot of people put some hard work into that,” he said. “It’s a chance to be outside and enjoy a great venue.”
Tickets are available for purchase at mdwine.missiontix.com with ticket packages ranging from $20 and $65.
Parking is available on site and a large handicapped parking area will be offered on the museum lot on a first come, first served basis.