Small Southern Maryland Winery Claims Top Honors at Maryland Wine Competition

September 3, 2018

Port of Leonardtown Winery in St. Mary’s County Maryland won Best-in-Show for their 2015 Barbera Reserve at the 30th Annual Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition. This competition highlights Maryland-grown grape, fruit, and honey wines and meads. In addition to taking home the Governor’s Cup, Port of Leonardtown Winery won two Best-in-Class awards, seven gold medals, and one bronze medal. They are the first Southern Maryland winery to earn the top award. The wine will be released to the public at the 35th Annual Maryland Wine Festival on Saturday, September 15th and in the Tasting Room on Saturday, September 22nd.

“This prestigious award tops off an 8-year trend of consistently producing award winning wines since the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative first formed and began operating the Port of Leonardtown Winery in 2009” said Co-op President Patrick Isles.   “This recognition is a reflection of the hard work and attention to detail that our cooperative members/growers and talented wine production team puts into our products.”

The co-op style winery has provided an advantage to the Port of Leonardtown Winery (POLW) that many other wineries do not have.  There are eleven vineyards, all located in southern Maryland, that contribute grapes to the wine that the winery produces. This sets POLW apart because each vineyard has a different soil and climate. As winemaker, Lauren Zimmerman says, “We are beyond excited for this huge win. Our unique microclimate is consistently producing top class, premium red and white wine. Winning this award proves that great wines are grown in Southern Maryland soil.”

The 2015 Barbera grapes came from Long Looked for Come at Last Farm (LLFCAL) in Mechanicsville, MD and StoneMur Vineyard in Bryantown, MD.  As Gerald Byrne, the vineyard Manager at LLFCAL remarks, “our Barbera vines were in their 7th leaf in 2015. That combined with our sandy soil on gently sloping southeast hills helps create grapes with concentrated flavors. We expect further evolution of character as these vines mature in the years to come.”

This has been an unprecedented year for the Port of Leonardtown Winery. At the beginning of 2018, they hired a new general manager. It has been his personal mission to enhance customer service and connect with the people of southern Maryland. Since then, the winery has had record breaking sales and sold out of four wines before their anticipated sell out date. Michael Hughes, General Manager explains, “We are always looking for ways to be innovative, but also ways to stay with traditions. So far it has worked out in our favor!”