Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Next Md. winery could open in Hampstead

The next winery to open in Maryland? Even wineries association executive director Kevin Atticks wasn't completely sure. Too many obstacles in the process can delay scheduled openings for months. That's not a Maryland phenomenon; obviously proprietors planning wineries across the border in Pennsylvania have found there's always another surprise waiting around the corner as they do all the things necessary to open a winery's doors.

Atticks would only conjecture that it could be Galloping Goose, perhaps about a 15-minute to 20-minute drive from Woodhall Wine Cellars, one of our favorite wineries located in Parkton, Md. Located in Hampstead, it will be run by Diane Hale. "She's a wonderful lady who had a horse name goose and is opening Galloping Goose Vineyards, and she is one of the state's largest grape growers and plans to still have that be her primary business," Atticks said. "But she's going to make two wines a year from her best grapes. So she's going to cherry-pick her fruit, whatever she thinks is best that year and the rest she's going to continue to sell. And even her quote-unquote not best fruit is still wonderful fruit. Woodhall buys some, a couple of wineries buy it. But she's going to cherry-pick very small amounts; she's looking at maybe 30, 40 cases of each wine. No more than two wines per year. She's literally going to be picking clusters and figuring out which ones are the best."

Atticks said Hale's business is fully licensed as a winery and there's wine in the barrel. "The game has been trying to figure out when she's opening," he said. Indeed, a story in the Community Times ways back in November 2005 suggested the the winery would be open by the following year. But that just shows how much time can pass sometimes before the plans become a reality. Atticks said that now might be just a matter of weeks or several months. "There's still work to be done," he said, "but she's pretty close."

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