Big Cork Vineyards
Big Cork is the class of the field. The facilities are new and first-rate, the brand already established and the wines delicious. The drive is the longest from Bethesda—almost to West Virginia, but worth it.
The winery is large and modern, situated on a remote hilltop. Parking is ample, and the building is striking from its wide-open interior and witty cork furnishings to its welcoming views and its cork wall art depicting the winemaker. There is a cigar lounge on one side and space for the kids on the other. The tasting bar is spacious, and many groups take their selections (poured into Riedel tumblers) to their own tables.
The site was first planted by Dave Collins in 2011, and the first wines were produced in 2013. That first vintage of 2013 petit verdot won the Maryland Governor’s Cup Best in Show in 2015. Big Cork has kept up the pace ever since.
Highlights: The 2017 chardonnay has sweet pear flavors and a crisp finish, while the viognier has honey citrus and subtle floral notes. The reds I tried were a malbec with its inky color and ripe fruit, and a barbera that tasted like a pinot noir with amped-up dark plum flavors.
Prices: Tastings are $10; bottles range from $21 to $56.
Food: Assorted local cheeses and charcuterie are available.
Extras: Music on weekends; a bed and breakfast is on-site.
4236 Main St., Rohrersville; 301-302-8032; bigcorkvineyards.com