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Wine Lovers Can Win Big This Month in Maryland

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“March Madness” isn’t just a term for college basketball fans

This March, oenophiles can celebrate during Maryland Wine Month with a jam-packed calendar of events, eight wine trails and the official Wine Month Challenge.

The challenge is simple: visit, taste and enter to win. Pick up a Wine Month challenge card at any participating winery and earn a sticker for every winery you visit. The more places you visit, the more likely you are to win a prize. Email a photo of your completed card by April 10 to enter to win. Five stamps earn you a 20 percent off discount code to all Maryland Wine Association events through April, 10 stamps receive the code with two free tickets to an event of our choosing in April, 15 stamps earn an entry in a drawing to win a Maryland Wine Lovers Weekend for Two and 20 stamps earn a second entry.

You can also enter the month-long, Rivers to Canal Instagram contest. Just visit the three wineries that make up the Rivers to Canal trio and snap a photo enjoying a glass or bottle of wine at each winery, then post to your Instagram account and tag the right winery, plus the Maryland Wineries Association and Rivers to Canal. Prizes include a one-night stay at Crow B&B for two guests, lunch at Broken Spoke and a sunset desert at Chateau Bu-De Winery. You’re already in the area, so it’s really a no-brainer; after all, you can’t spell “wine” without “win.”

This year’s Wine Month is jam-packed with can’t-miss events. Start the month off right with a Girl Scout cookie and wine pairing at Blue Mountain Wine Crafters from March 1-4 or enjoy happy hour at Great Shoals Winery with enticing wine and drink specials on March 1-2. Step outside the box with The Urban Winery’s “Trivia Night with Geeks Who Drink” on Wednesdays throughout the month.

If you enjoy live music, Black Ankle Vineyards is hosting concerts every Friday evening, rain or shine, starting at 6 p.m. At Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Joshua Bayer Jazz will be performing on March 10, Mark Weinberg will perform on March 17 and Matthew Mills on March 24. Romano Vineyard & Winery will host “Music in the Winery” every Saturday night with acts like Ross Crampton, Joe Parsons and the Higher Standards Jazz Duo.

At Crow Vineyard & Winery, variety is the name of the game with a farm-to-table pizza night on March 10, a wine and chocolate pairing event on March 24 and a “Grapes to Glass” wine seminar on March 25. Don’t miss Crow’s chili cook-off on March 18, where you can sample and vote for your favorite chili from seven local chefs. Five tickets are only $5, and 10 tickets are $8, with all sales proceeds benefiting the Humane Society of Kent County.

Make the most of your travels with a relaxed wine weekend and mosey down one (or more!) of Maryland’s eight wine trails.

  • History buffs will appreciate the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail with its location among several Civil War sites and five distinct wineries, including the Sunday brunch favorite Knob Hall Winery in Clear Spring.
  • Caper down the Capital Trail to visit five premier wineries, including Great Shoals Winery, Olney Winery, Rocklands Farm, The Urban Winery and the scenic, award-winning Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, located at the base of its namesake mountain.
  • If you’re voracious about vineyards, the Carroll Wine Trail is ideal with a focus on small, handcrafted winemaking in rural Carroll County, home to four local vineyards.
  • Beach lovers can take a detour on the Chesapeake Wine Trail, an Eastern Shore route through 13 wineries. The largest on the list is St. Michaels Winery, housed in a Historic Old Mill complex that features small boutiques and artists.
  • Don’t forget the Frederick Wine Trail with five notable wineries offering assorted tastings and food pairings. Stop by Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery, an impressive 1775 manor house, for gorgeous views of the surrounding Catoctin mountains and a sample of the French-styled sparkling wine Frizzante.
  • Head through the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay on the Patuxent Wine Trail. If you have a hankering for Maryland crabs, check out the Slack Winery that specially crafts wines to pair with local seafood.
  • The Piedmont Wine Trail is perfect for visitors to Harford and Baltimore counties, featuring nine wineries. Maryland’s oldest winery, Boordy Vineyards, holds outdoor concerts and open-air festivals in warm weather months and indoor concerts in the 19th-century barn during the fall and winter.
  • The newest addition, the Legacy Trail, will open in mid-March in Southern Maryland. The Legacy Trail will wind through four wineries and vineyards in Prince George’s County and Charles County – Gemeny, JaneMark, Robin Hill Farm and Romano – to unite the area’s agricultural heritage with the new legacy of fine wines. Celebrate the debut of the trail on March 17 with a special event featuring an open house at each trail winery with a tasting of five wines and a souvenir gift from each location.

Now that March is officially the best month to visit Maryland, you should plan your mini-vacation and book your stay today. Cheers, and we’ll see you on the trails!

For more information about Maryland Wine Month, the challenge and trails, go to visitmaryland.org.