Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Maryland wineries ship wine to me?
A: YES! After many years of attempts, we finally changed the law to allow Maryland citizens to receive wine by mail, provided the winery has a Direct Shipper's Permit from the state. Wineries can ship 18 cases per household annually.

Q: Why do certain wines pair well with spicy foods?
A: Certain wines will match certain foods due to their flavors and how they interact. Spicy foods require a wine with an ability to stand up to (and complement) spicy hot peppers, curry and other ingredients that make spicy foods so wonderful. Avoid really oaky or tannic wines. Try a Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris – or even Sangiovese.

Q: Which Maryland wineries host weddings?
A: Most wineries offer their tasting rooms or other space for rental. Some specialize in hosting wedings and other private parties, including Bordeleau Winery, Dove Valley Winery, Elk Run Vineyards, Fiore Winery, Linganore Winecellars, Running Hare Vineyards and St. Michaels Winery. See a listing of wineries who have Event Facilities on the Wineries page.

Q: Do Maryland wineries private label their wines?
A: Many do—search for Private Labels on the Wineries page.

Q: Does glassware make a difference?
A: Dixie cup or fine crystal? Riedel or IKEA? The key to a good wine glass is simple: it must allow you to see, smell, swirl and sip your wine accordingly. This rules out painted and colored glass and typical cocktail glasses. An ideal wine glass is not necessarily expensive, but will have a tulip shape – a bowl at the bottom with a narrower opening at the top, allowing a wine's aromatics to escape just far enough for your nose to catch. Fine, hand-blown crystal such as Riedel does make a difference when truly analyzing wine, but any appropriately-styled glassware does the job. Some wine glass makers even specialize the shape of the glass to grape variety! Just remember to look for clear, tulip shaped glasses, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy your wine with every sip.

Q: What’s the best way to select a wine to match with foods?
A: The old rule is to pair reds with meat, and whites with fish. But that leaves out way too many exciting details – what about herbs, spicy sauces, appetizers and desserts? The “new rule” is to pair the weight and body of wines and foods. For example, grilled salmon is fairly robust and can stand up to a light-to-medium red wine. While an herb-crusted pork tenderloin might fare well with a crisp white or dry rosé. That said, never feel intimidated into following any rule but your own: "Drink what you like!" Learn more about pairings in our "Appreciation" section.

Q: What is a Nouveau wine and why can't I find it year-round?
A: Nouveau literally means “new”… and the French are famous for their Nouveau wine made in the Beaujolais region. Call new wine because it’s the first wine of the vintage, Nouveau is typically produced by carbonic maceration – a process through which whole berries are fermented more quickly than a usual fermentation. The wines tend to be fruitier and lighter than others, and is usually ready 6-7 weeks post-harvest. Maryland wineries occasionally make Nouveau.

Q: Which MD reds work best with foods hot off the grill?
A: Your char-grilled favorites will pair well with both Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc. Chambourcin can be light and fruity or rich with dark cherries and spice and can complement everything from grilled tuna, salmon to chicken and vegetables. Cabernet Franc is more of a powerhouse, needing something heavy – like steak – to pair with its medium-to-full body and bold tannins.

Q: How long can I keep an open bottle of wine?
A: It depends on how you store the wine once it’s been opened. Refrigerating an open bottle will prolong its life, as will using a vacuum pump sealer. It’s best to enjoy the wine within a few days of opening to ensure you experience all the intended fruit flavors and aromas.

Q: Driving by a vineyard in November, I noticed grapes still hanging – under netting. Didn’t wineries already harvest their grapes by then?
A: Yes, harvest has ended for traditional wines. The grapes still seen on the vine are most likely sweetening up to create what wineries call “late-harvest” wines. These wines, aptly named because of the delayed harvest, are typically rich with flavors of honey and often, tropical aromas. Waiting for these delicious grapes to further ripen on the vine is a risky proposition – the birds and deer love the grapes even more the sweeter they get!