Celebrating Women in Maryland Wine
Written by: Christos Yiatrou, staff intern
In celebration of Maryland Wine Month and Women’s History Month, we would like to highlight some women winemakers and winery owners.
Kimberly T. Johnson
Philosophy Winery & Vineyard
Kimberly has taken big leaps in the wine industry after co-founding and opening Maryland’s first black and woman-owned winery at Philosophy Winery & Vineyard. It all began with free admission into some of Maryland’s biggest wine festivals where Kimberly’s interest in the industry began to grow. Her passion for winemaking only grew when she started working at Old Westminster Winery where she learned about all that goes into turning grapes into wine. All it took was one bad day at her previous job that prompted her to call her best friend, Denise Mattews, and ask if she wanted to start a winery together. That conversation turned into Philosophy Winery & Vineyard and here we are today. Kimberly shows that there are no limits when you are chasing your passions.
Rachel is one of the youngest winemakers in Maryland, and her commitment to preserving her Jewish family’s fifth-generation winemaking business is apparent. In November of 2018, Rachel took over winemaking at Loew Vineyards. The family business carries on a tradition of meades that date back to the late 1800’s. Tradition and heritage are things Rachel has always admired. Today, Rachel is focused on honoring her family’s traditions and heritage in ways that respect the history while reflecting their personality by creating new wines. When asked what excites her about the wine industry, Rachel mentioned the aspects of the industry’s simultaneously fast and slow pace. It takes more than a year’s work to create a bottle of wine and once it’s released to the public, it will be gone in a blink of an eye. It makes boutique wine so much more special.
Crow Vineyard & Winery
Owner and operator of Crow Vineyard & Winery, and former Maryland Wineries Association President, Judy Crow has done it all. Together with her husband Roy, Judy began to transform Crow farms in 2008. Judy admires Maryland’s wine industry and compares the feeling of opening a winery to the first settlers that moved West and developed their own wine region. Crow Vineyard & Winery is much more than a winery, operating as both a working farm that raises beef and features a farmstay bed and breakfast. Maryland wine is something new for many customers and visitors to Crow Vineyard & Winery look forward to tastings. Judy thinks the real excitement is seeing the look on the faces of tasting room guests when they taste a wine made from grapes grown on the farm, it’s truly exciting.
Port of Leonardtown Winery
Lauren was only 22 years old when she accepted her first role as a professional winemaker. Her knowledge and inspiration prove essential in crafting award-winning wines at Port of Leonardtown Winery. Having just won the 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition with their 2019 Chambourcin Reserve, it’s fair to say Lauren’s mastery of winemaking is making a notable impression on local wine. Lauren has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, having studied viticulture and enology in Ontario, Canada and she has trained with master winemakers in New Zealand. Having experience working at wineries that vary in size of production, Lauren appreciates being part of the process from grape to glass. As the head winemaker at Port of Leonardtown Winery, she knows the impact of seasonality and is accustomed to working long hours to ensure the grapes are completely processed and fermented. From monitoring grape growth to sharing finished wine with customers, Lauren makes it all worth it.
We’d like to offer a special thanks to all of the women in Maryland Wine. If there’s one thing all of these women have in common is that with the right attitude, fortitude, and passion, anything is possible. Be sure to visit the wineries on the Woman-Owned Winery Trail and earn your Maryland Craft Beverages App badge!