A Maryland Wineries Association Member Spotlight
At Big Cork Vineyards visitors are invited to experience wines that celebrate the terroir of the vineyards and the experience of the winemaker. Whether you are visiting the tasting room as part of a tour of Western Maryland wine or you are attending one of Big Cork’s events, the team at the winery has made every decision with you in mind.
We caught up with the team at Big Cork Vineyards for this month’s Cellar Chats feature. Below are a few questions and answers–enjoy getting to know a bit more about Big Cork!
The story of Big Cork Vineyards, as is told on the website, appears serendipitous. What about the location was an indicator that the property was going to be well suited for making great wine?
For many years, Dave Collins our winemaker and co-owner of Big Cork Vineyard had been driving through Pleasant Valley, where the vineyard is located. Dave who had been making wine in VA for over 30 years, noted how similar the terrior was to Virginia.
When Randy Thompson, the other owner of Big Cork Vineyard asked him to come and survey the property and offer his opinion, his intuition was correct. The slope, breeze, and soil all provide the perfect growing conditions for vines.
The Big Cork Vineyards brand has whimsical traits that play off of the word “BIG.” Does this whimsy translate to the intent behind the wines in the portfolio?
Not necessarily, we are committed to producing the most exceptional wine. Our brand story is to create a sense of place for our guests. We want them to unwind, to feel the breeze, to relax and have an opportunity to enjoy the beauty that is Big Cork Vineyards.
Programming a winery for events is something that every winery is doing, and Big Cork Vineyards seems to be successful with its events. What do your visitors like about the types of events that the winery hosts?
We try to create events that continue the theme of our brand and offer our guests multiple types of experiences to enjoy our wine. Some of our more serious in nature – for example, our wine education classes that Dave hosts to less traditional events, like our wine and donut pairings. Just like wine is an individual experience so are our events. We want to provide an opportunity for our guests to enter Big Cork Vineyards in a way that makes them comfortable.
The winemaker, Dave Collins, was a winemaker in Virginia before opening Big Cork Vineyards. How has the experience of making wine in Maryland compared to Virginia?
Dave is an artist, his art is his wine. It’s hard to give you the exact piece of knowledge that he processes, that would be like telling you how Picasso painted – but Dave brings a wealth of knowledge to the winemaking at Big Cork Vineyards in not only producing the wine but in growing grapes. He’s been growing grapes in this area for over 30 years.
From the website, it sounds like Petit Verdot is a staple Big Cork Vineyards release. Is this wine often the entrée for new visitors?
Petit Verdot is one of our more prominent grapes. It certainly is a lesser-known Bordeaux varietal than others. Going back to our vision, which is to surprise and delight our clients, we are always looking for wines that will do that, and Petit Verdot is part of the foundation of our vineyard.
What does the future hold for Big Cork Vineyards?
We have a fantastic summer concert series that we are launching this year with three bands that celebrate the music of ABBA, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel. In fact, the third band is Billy Joel’s band. We won’t have Billy Joel – at least not this year.
We will always continue to strive to produce exciting and new wines, we’ve got several ports that Dave is releasing in the next two years, we will continue to develop our Black Label Series and our concert series.
Stay tuned for more BIG news!