Underneath the same big, country sky that blankets Frederick County's dairy farms and horse ranches, the winery building at Elk Run Vineyards, built in 1756, overlooks rolling hills that were originally a land grant to Lord Baltimore from the King of England. Though this land has seen many uses, today Fred and Carol Wilson and Neill Bassford tend its soil to produce a range of Gold, Double Gold, and Best of Maryland award-winning wines such as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and Cold Friday chardonnay. Winemakers craft these libations using a blend of contemporary equipment and Old-World winemaking techniques. They harvest grapes from plots planted in schist and shale soil designed to follow sustainable agricultural practices.
Winery staffers guide guests through the flavor profiles of these wines in a private tasting room with blue-and-yellow walls, sloped ceilings, and a stained-glass window that lets in ample natural light. For private tastings and other events, staffers lead guests into the barrel room—where festive string lights and candles illuminate long tables between the racks. And in warm weather, they erect outdoor tents to house local artisans and jazz musicians.