Rob Deford is a twelfth generation Marylander with over forty years of experience in the wine industry. His career began inauspiciously with a summer job hoeing thistles in the family vineyard at the age of fourteen, and took several detours - including two years traveling and working in Central and South America - before he studied viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis from 1979–1980. Upon returning to Maryland, Rob assumed the role of president and winemaker of Maryland’s historic Boordy Vineyards. Under Rob’s guidance Boordy has gained a reputation as a leader in the regional wine movement in the mid-Atlantic, through one of the most exciting and challenging periods for the American wine industry. Rob has overseen the modernization of the winery’s equipment and facilities, the replanting and expansion of its vineyards, and the development of a broad following for its wines. He works closely with his staff on every aspect of Boordy’s operations, and is responsible – in partnership with his wife, Julie - for shaping the winery’s long term strategic direction.
Active in both state and national wine groups, Rob is twice past president of the Maryland Wineries Association, was a charter appointee of the Governor’s Wine and Grape Task Force, and is also past Chairman of the Board of WineAmerica - the wine industry’s national trade association. Rob currently serves as the chair of the Maryland Wineries Association Governmental Affairs Committee, which works to improve the legal climate for Maryland’s wineries. Rob’s deep passion for agriculture and land preservation has been a guiding principal in his career. In his leadership of Boordy Vineyards. In keeping with his family’s vision of sustainable agriculture, the 240-acre farm on which Boordy is located has been placed in permanent conservation, and Rob serves on the board of the Long Green Land Trust, a land preservation group.
Rob graduated summa cum laude with a degree in geography from the University of Maryland and he earned an MBA from Loyola College of Maryland. In recognition of his efforts to foster the Maryland wine industry he was named "CEO of the Year" in 2008 by Smart CEO Magazine. When not “lashed to the vine”, Rob is apt to be found playing traditional music, fishing, foraging for wild mushrooms, skiing, or sharing a good meal & wine with friends.
Thomas Burns grew up in south-central Pennsylvania, where he immersed himself in nature. After graduating high school, he traveled to Peru visiting a family winery, Ocucaje, which was the genesis of his interest in food and wine. He graduated in 1983 from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Business Management, then took his first job as winemaker’s assistant and vineyardist at Allegro Vineyards. He moved on to become vineyard foreman at Bully Hill Vineyards in New York state, where he developed a keen understanding of cold climate viticulture. He returned to Pennsylvania as cellar master with full production responsibility at Mt. Hope Estate and Winery in Manheim, PA. He arrived at Boordy in 1986 as winemaker and vineyard manager, producing approximately 16,000 gallons of wine annually.
Tom has built an enviable reputation creating wines for Boordy, and his talent has been instrumental in the winery’s growth. He relinquished command of the vineyard in 2003 in order to focus his full attention on winemaking. With 18 varietals and blends to manage, and an annual production of more than 95,000 gallons, his fascination for winemaking continues to grow with each vintage. Tom’s dedication to his craft is clearly reflected in the many accolades and awards that Boordy has won for its wines. Still a naturalist with attention to detail, Burns is an integral part of the dedicated team at Boordy Vineyards.
Julie is married to Rob, which you can interpret as married to Boordy, married to the boss, or sometimes the wife is the boss – depending on the day and the issue. Julie weighs in on matters large and small, but focuses on Boordy’s image, be it in the wine shop, around the grounds, or out in the world. In this capacity, she shepherded the winery through two complete revisions of its graphic identity – one in 1986, and one in 2004 - each of which brought dramatic growth in production and sales. Julie’s responsibilities include the production of promotional materials, oversight of landscape and architectural design, and the coordination of projects with Boordy’s graphic designer in Adelaide, Australia.
Julie holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She and Rob live in an old house by the Gunpowder River in Monkton. Their son Ben studies environmental science in Colorado, and daughter Lilly completed an engineering degree in Montana. Rob's son Phineas works for Boordy. Julie enjoys skiing with her family, hiking, gardening and reading, and has been active in rural land preservation in northern Baltimore County for over two decades.
A graduate of North Carolina State with a degree in horticulture and landscape design, Ron started managing vineyards in Maryland in 1999, and quickly became fascinated by the diversity of the grapevine and its interactions with the sun and soils. He has managed vineyards in the state’s three major microclimates: Coastal Plain, Central Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge, and has worked with 16 varieties of grapes. Upon assuming the position of vineyard manager at Boordy in 2006, Ron has worked closely with viticultural consultant, Lucie Morton, spearheading the transformation of Boordy’s vineyards with the goal of producing top quality wines.
Ron is recognized in Maryland and in the mid-Atlantic region as an invaluable resource to new and established grape growers. He has been a frequent speaker at seminars, has served as vice-president of the Maryland Grape Growers Association, and is on the Governor’s Wine and Grape Commission.
Ron lives with his wife and two children in Crownsville, Maryland.
Sally Deford Buck enjoys a short commute to work on her bicycle, provided that she can negotiate the morning traffic of chickens and dogs as she pedals up the hill. Born and raised on Long Green Farm, Sally has resided there with her husband, Bayly, and their three children for all but two years since graduating from Hollins College in Virginia.
Sally is no stranger to hard work as her childhood summers were spent baling hay, caring for animals, and tending the vineyard. While raising her family, Sally began working at Boordy part time greeting visitors and giving tours of the winery and vineyards. Her responsibilities have since expanded to include booking private tours and coordinating charitable donations, but perhaps her most visible contribution are the beautiful flower boxes and carts that adorn the winery grounds.
As a co-owner of Boordy, Sally provides invaluable perspective that shapes the winery’s activities on the farm and in the community.
Susan has over thirty years of experience in the hospitality industry. She began her career in four and five star hotels as Director of Sales and Catering Director, in Maryland, New Jersey, and Fort Worth, Texas. Leaving the hotel industry, she co-authored the book, Secrets, a wedding planning guide which sold through Brides Magazine. Using the proceeds of her book, she opened what was to become one of the top five restaurants in Maryland, Tabrizi’s, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. During her restaurant years, she traveled to both Napa Valley and throughout France, learning about the wines she featured in her restaurant, which won a Wine Spectator award for Best Short Wine List. After selling her restaurant, Susan took a long deserved vacation, traveling to Europe and California studying wines. During those two years, she met with prominent winery owners and winemakers, studied wine and food pairings, and how local cuisine meshed with local wines. This enlightenment led her to Boordy Vineyards in her home state of Maryland.
Phineas Deford is the third generation of the Deford family to work at Boordy Vineyards. After graduation from the University of Vermont, Phin worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducting migratory fish population studies. He moved to Charleston, South Carolina to become a project manager in residential development, remaining there until the summer of 2008. He returned to Baltimore that year to join Boordy and to pursue an MBA at the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business.
Phin works with vineyard manager, Ron Wates, and has been involved in the replanting of vineyards as part of the Landmark Project. He will take charge of a range of special projects after his graduation from the University of Baltimore, and will play an integral role in the development and implementation of Boordy’s master plan, including the construction of the new winery building in 2012.
Anne McAdoo Deford is the owner of Boordy’s home, Long Green Farm. She moved to Long Green in the late 1930’s after her marriage to Robert Deford. Following the war, Anne and Robert settled in to raise four children, a herd of beef cattle, several thousand turkeys, acres of tomatoes, and a small vineyard. When not on the farm, Anne devoted her time to the Baltimore Museum of Art as part of the committee which ran the successful sales and rental gallery.
When the family’s interest in grapes led to the purchase of Boordy Vineyards from the Wagners in 1980, Anne gave her full support, which has remained undiminished to this day. As Chairman of the Board, Anne has participated in Boordy’s evolution over three decades including an eightfold increase in production. The winery is a short walk from her home, and she visits regularly with family and staff to stay abreast of the winery’s constant activities, and to offer sage advice.
Boordy co-owner Bayly Buck – known to many as “Mr. B.”- spends his working hours (and then some) as Assistant Head Master of St. James Academy, a co-ed K-8 School in Monkton, MD. With his marriage to Sally Deford in 1977, Bayly moved to Long Green Farm where he and Sally have since lived and raised their family. Bayly brings invaluable perspective to the winery’s strategic direction gained through his professional life in business and teaching. It should come as no surprise that as Boordy’s neighbor on the farm, Bayly takes great personal interest in the winery’s events and can often be found entertaining friends at a Saturday evening concert.