While the exact date of National Wine Day is uncertain, do you really need an extra reason to enjoy a glass of locally bottled fermented grapes?
Representatives from the Maryland Wineries Association, a Timonium-based nonprofit, certainly don’t think so. All they ask is that you keep it local.
Featured posts from both the National Wine Day Facebook page and Gothamist.com indicate that the day for all things vino is either today or tomorrow.
However, Punchbowl.com insists that National Wine Day will be observed on March 25, which gives you a few extra weeks to consider the Maryland Wineries Association’s advice.
“I think people should get out to their local wineries and wine trails. ... A lot of wineries are holding events over the weekend,” said Regina McCarthy, the association's marketing coordinator.
Executive director Kevin Atticks concurred. “I would want people to get out and explore their closest wineries. When people go shopping during the summer for tomatoes, they go to their local farmers' markets, where they have very, very local farmers there. Wine is the same thing. Cheese is the same thing.
“There are tons of great places, especially in Baltimore City and County. At any moment you’re within 20 to 25 minutes of local wineries,” he said.
The Maryland Wineries Association’s website provides links to all the major wine events happening over the weekend, as well as during the weeks to come. Additionally, the site provides direct links to all five Maryland wine trails where wine makers, grouped by region, are available for tasting and samples.
The wine industry has bloomed and flourished from the grape seeds planted in France and Italy, but “going local” seems to be catching on—especially in Maryland.
By the numbers (according to statistics provided by the Maryland Wineries Association):
- 181,000 more wine bottles were sold in 2011 than 2010
- 1.7 million bottles were sold in 2011
- That’s 354,599 gallons
- 700 acres of grapes are currently planted in Maryland
- About five new wineries open each year across the state
- There are 54 wineries currently open in Maryland (all of which are represented by the association)
“In terms of the East Coast, we’re certainly a player,” McCarthy said. “All of the states in the country have at least one winery and most have wine industries that are growing.”
Pennsylvania and Virginia currently have 150 and 200 open wineries, respectively.
A new law, which took effect on June 1, 2011, allowing wine distributors to send their product directly to a consumer’s home, has been factor.
“We have seen an overwhelming number of wineries get the license,” Atticks said. “Almost 600 licenses have been applied for around the country, including our wineries, to be able to ship to Maryland consumers.
“It’s had a big impact on our industry because it’s opened up new markets,” he continued. “It’s allowed our wineries to reach customers that they were not previously able to reach, but also to be able to market their product in a different way through wine clubs and online orders.”
So however it is you plan to observe National Wine Day, the Maryland Wineries Association wants you to keep the following in mind.
“With all these wineries, they’re typically in rural areas and they’re creating jobs, which is fantastic in the rural communities. They are keeping farms in the family,” McCarthy said. "Every time you buy a bottle of local wine, you’re supporting a local farmer, you’re helping create jobs and you’re really fueling an economic engine that’s fueling the state in a big way.”
The Maryland Wineries Association is a nonprofit trade organization representing all 54 wineries in the state. The association helps wineries get started by aiding licensing and zoning issues, the industry’s legislative efforts, general marketing and brand awareness, educating consumers, planning events and festivals to highlighting local wineries.