Small Vineyard Takes Root in Howard County, Maryland

Although Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland is a custom crush facility where anyone can craft a barrel of wine, the winery is venturing into a new area today. Behind the present winery facility, farmland was plowed. Today we start planting grape vines. Kathy and I will be there to help. Not that we have a lot of experience planting grape vines. We have mixed results from our six vines in our back yard. So we can offer little advice to Tin Lizzie.

Perhaps the most important suggestions are to construct a deer fence around the perimeter of the vineyard and use netting or road kill to discourage birds. Personally I like the road kill method. Put in a couple of dead animals near the vineyard and the birds of prey arrive. Grape loving birds that fear for their lives will keep their distance.

At home we have not had a problem with deer or birds. This is because we have had horrible years lately and our grapes had black rot. This year I am spraying the grapes more often. However, when we visit wineries on the road, we will be unable to spray and could possibly loose another crop for the third straight year.

We often hear the declaration that wine is made in the vineyard. That statement is easily said. What is left unsaid is all the hard work that the grape growers put into the vineyard to take care of those grapes. They make hundreds of decisions throughout the year, not just during the growing season. Their decisions have an impact on the quality of their grapes and the future quality of the wine.

I like the direction that Tin Lizzie is taking. Although they currently are producing wines with grapes sourced from around the world, planting a vineyard is a multi-year commitment to creating a wine that will have local roots. Although we are years away, I am anxious to “taste the place” and experience local wine in Howard County.

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