WHEN CAROLYN AND Robert Scott wed in 1980, Carolyn presented her bridegroom with 40 grape plant cuttings.
Now, in the Scotts' 20th-anniversary year, those cuttings have grown into an 800-plant, 2-acre vineyard on a sloping hill.
"I never thought it would grow to the extent it has, but he enjoys it tremendously," Carolyn said of her gift.
Dr. Robert Scott, an orthodontist, said his interest in agriculture dates to his days in his family's nursery and to his youth spent in 4-H. When he received the cuttings, he enlisted the help of Hamilton G. Mowbray, a well-known member of the Maryland Grape Growers Association who lives in Silver Run.
"He was my mentor," Scott said. "He used to come out here frequently. He was very helpful."
Today, it is not only Scott's vineyard that has grown, but also his knowledge of grape growing and winemaking. He talks about the importance of achieving the right percentage of sugar in the grapes to the stages of fermentation. Yeast is no longer just yeast - it is K1-V116 or Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
"But I don't do it as a career. I do it as an avocation," he said.
His vineyard includes a variety of grapes, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and pinot noir. The latter is a grape from France used to make champagne. New grapevines take nearly three years to yield their first real crop, he said.
One weekend recently, the Scott family and friends gathered for a day of grape picking. It has become an annual ritual, a reunion of sorts, according to Scott's daughter Allison Gladden, who lives in Taneytown with her husband, Greg. Also joining were the Scotts' other children: David Scott of Laurel; Andy Ingalls, who is in the Army and stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County; and Suzanne Scott of Ellicott City.
Scott said he tries to keep the grapes on the vine as long as possible to increase the sugar content. The higher the sugar content, he said, the better the wine.
After the grapes are picked, Scott said, he puts them through a estemmer crusher machine and then in a grape press.
"I put my cabernet sauvignon in an oak wine barrel," Scott said. "That's what gives it a distinctive flavor. French wood chips also give it a similar flavor."
After several settlings and racking (siphoning from one container to another) to clear the wine, the wine is bottled and labeled from "Bellendene Vineyard." The name is one the Scotts chose for their home.
"We found it was a name of a home in Scotland which means: 'The Hill from whence the Scots went forth to do battle,' " Carolyn Scott said.
The bottled wine then goes to the family's wine cellar.
During a recent Carroll County Arts Council silent auction, the Scotts donated a few bottles. The bids went out of sight.
Scott shakes his head when he thinks about his first wine.
"It was really bad," he said with a laugh.
The second annual Northwest Expedition Walk-a-thon at Northwest Middle School last week earned $6,300 for the PTO.
Nearly 300 pupils participated in the walk-a-thon, a one-mile course around the school, said Barbara Leyhe, a parent and event organizer. A pizza party was held for the top five boys and girls in each grade who completed the most laps.
During the walk-a-thon, students Evan Frock, 10, of Keymar, Clinton Leathers, 11, of Taneytown and Nick Hanson, 11, of Westminster said they were determined to win and chose to run during the 50-minute time period.
True to form, the three boys were winners for completing the greatest number of laps.
The top sixth-grade girls were: Amanda Bowers, Britini Hood, Amanda Roberts, Michele Mechalske and Elizabeth Lawrence.
The top sixth-grade boys were Bradley Beall, Evan Frock, Drew Seeley, Christopher Kolb, Nick Hanson and Clinton Leathers. All completed more than five miles.
The top seventh-grade girls were: MairinM-5 Leahy, Aubrey Cook, Maggie Leathers, Mandy Hill and Jacquelyn Wagner.
The top seventh-grade boys were: Nick Tarbert, Matthew Carman, Carmac Abate, Ethan Cook and Benjamin Brewer. All of them completed six miles.
The top eighth-grade girls were: Jolene McKenzie, at five miles, and Lyndsay Wagner, Jenae Rinehart, Heidi Smith and Nicole Szewczyk with more than three miles.
The top eighth-grade boys were: Zack Devilbiss and Shawn Ricketts (tied), Kurtis Lunz, Jordan Knox, Jack Galvin and Kevin Carmack. All the boys finished six miles.
The pupils who collected the most money were Thomas Galvin, sixth grade, $145; Sarah Leyhe, seventh grade, $75; and Jack Galvin, eighth grade, $102.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.