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Wine at a Farmers Market -- Finally

Black Ankle Vineyards near Mount Airy. (Sarah O'Herron)

Fans of the Bethesda Central Farm Market will have a chance to taste some local wine with all that local produce this Sunday, Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when Black Ankle Vineyards will be pouring and selling its new Leaf Stone Syrah. According to market organizer Mitch Berliner, it is the first time a winery has been allowed to participate in a farmers market in Maryland.

That may seem strange, considering a vineyard is nothing if not a farm. But of course, we’re talking alcoholic beverage here, so the laws and politics are different.

Berliner said he wanted wineries to participate in his market because wine should be part of the “eat local” movement. He picked a good winery to feature; Black Ankle just won the Maryland Governor’s Cup for the second year in a row with its 2007 Crumbling Rock, a Bordeaux-styled blend. Not bad for a winery that just opened its doors in 2007. The 2006 Crumbling Rock won the Governor’s Cup last year.

The entrance to Black Ankle. (Dave McIntyre)

The 2007 Leaf Stone Syrah is no wallflower; it took “Best of Category” as best syrah in the recent Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, and created quite a buzz among the judges, including me. (“Leaf Stone” is another way of saying “Crumbling Rock,” and is emblematic of the soil at the Black Ankle vineyards, near Mount Airy.)

As I wrote about Black Ankle a year ago: “This is not your father’s Maryland wine.”

Don’t miss this chance to taste the wine, because you won’t see Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron, the husband-and-wife team behind the winery, at the farmers market on a regular basis. Maryland law allows a winery only three special permits per county per year, and this is using up one of Black Ankle’s, Boyce said.

Berliner hopes to change that when the Maryland General Assembly convenes in January. It could be an exciting year for Maryland wine lovers, with hopes high that legislators will also ease restrictions on having wine shipped directly to consumers’ homes.

For now, though, taste the Leaf Stone Syrah on Sunday. If it catches your fancy, there will also be a Farm Market dinner on Monday, Sept. 14, at Redwood restaurant in Bethesda Row, featuring Black Ankle wines. Cost is $75 per person.

-- Dave McIntyre

By The Food Section  |  September 11, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  To Market, To Market , Wine  | Tags: Dave McIntyre, farmers markets, local wine  
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Wish more local markets would get on board with wine tasting. North Gate sells at the West End Alexandria market but the city won't allow sampling. In Oregon the markets are filled with wineries offering samples, which I suspect boosts overall sales, thus boosting revenue to the city.

Posted by: ColleenFoodieTots | September 11, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

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