State's Finest Vintages to Be Uncorked at Md. Wine Festival

By Amy Spiezio

WESTMINSTER, Md. -- It promises to be a fine year for the Maryland Wine Festival. Oenophiles and novice lovers of the grape can spend Sept. 20 and 21 tasting the wares of Maryland's vintners at the Carroll County Farm Museum here. The two-day festival, rated one of the American Bus Associations' Top 100 Events in North America, will provide guests with wine tasting and dining opportunities as well as entertainment and handicrafts available for purchase.

The event, which is hosted by the Association of Maryland Wineries, the Maryland Grape Growers Association, the American Wine Society and the Carroll County Farm Museum has attracted more than 250,000 visitors since its inception 14 years ago. On tap will be chardonnays, cabernets, berry wines and zinfandels as well as other offerings from nine Maryland wineries.

Visitors can develop their wine palates at amateur-friendly Wine Education Seminars on judging wine by its taste, aroma, color, clarity and finish, sponsored by the American Wine Society. The information sessions will be held hourly from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The $13 admission fee to the festival for adults age 21 and older includes a logo-engraved wine glass, 10 one-ounce samples of Maryland wines, attendance at the wine-tasting seminars, guided tours of the museum's 19th century farmhouse and self-guided tours of artisan exhibits and demonstrations by crafters dressed in period attire. Proper age identification is required to sample the wines. Visitors under age 21 are admitted free of charge if accompanied by a paying adult.

A tempting menu of dining options, from snacks to gourmet meals on sale by local eateries, will complement the selection of libations on hand. Once visitors' thirst and hunger are satisfied, they can shop for handcrafted items on the festival grounds or pick up event-related memorabilia.

The festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sept. 21. For more information, call the museum at (800) 654-4645, (410) 848-7775 or (410) 876-2667.

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