Boordy's Estate Vineyards
Boordy grows forty acres of grapes in two distinct microclimates of Maryland: Long Green Vineyard in the rolling Piedmont Plateau northwest of the Chesapeake Bay, and South Mountain Vineyard in the Blue Ridge Province, a band of mountains that splits the state. Our vineyards are managed for quality, not quantity. We strictly control the size of our crop through pruning and cluster thinning; we maximize photosynthesis through careful canopy management during the growing season, we selectively hand harvest all of our grapes, and all of our vineyards are rain fed, not irrigated. Each operation is done with an eye toward growing fruit of optimum ripeness and concentration, and producing wines of distinction that reflect the climate and soils in which they are grown.
Vineyard manager, Ron Wates, oversees our vineyard operations with an emphasis upon using sustainable farming practices to the greatest degree possible. Ron brings a wealth of experience from his work in both commercial horticulture and Maryland viticulture. Among our objectives are reduced dependency upon pesticides; healthy, balanced soils; and an environment where beneficial plants, animals, and insects can thrive.
Viticulture is an evolving science, and Boordy consults with renowned viticulturist Lucie Morton on every aspect of its vineyard program to keep pace with new developments. As part of our Landmark Project, we began replanting all of our vineyards in 2006 to a closely spaced configuration, with rows spaced at eight feet, and a meter between the vines. Close spacing counters a tendency of grapevines toward uneven ripening of the fruit, and enables us to manage our crop for higher maturity and better overall quality. We also introduced many new “clones” (sub-varieties) and rootstocks to our vineyards, each promising to contribute a nuance to the flavor of the wine. Our chardonnay vineyard to the east of the winery, for example, consists of five distinct clones which are “field blended” – or harvested together – for our estate grown Chardonnay. We have four clones of merlot and cabernet franc, and two clones of cabernet sauvignon, all contributing to the character of their respective wines.
A profound commitment to quality has led us to make changes that may be costly in the near term, but demonstrate our belief that the mid-Atlantic region, and Maryland in particular, have the attributes to produce wines of world class quality.
Long Green Vineyard, Hydes Maryland
Our home vineyard is located in the beautiful Long Green Valley north of Baltimore. Here the limestone depressions and granitic hills that characterize Maryland’s Central Piedmont region afford some excellent microclimates for viticulture. The spring and fall are cooled slightly by the influence of the Chesapeake Bay. This vineyard, which was first planted in 1965, sits at an elevation of 400 ft. and occupies the eastern slope of the valley, with aspects ranging from southeast to slightly northwest. Valley soils are clay loam, changing to schist on the hills. French hybrid grapes are planted in the lower elevations, and vinifera grapes on the valley sides. Varieties include chardonnay, seyval blanc, vidal blanc, chambourcin, cabernet franc, and pinot grigio. This site is particularly favorable for white varieties, yielding well balanced wines that are delicate and aromatic.
South Mountain Vineyard, Burkittsville Maryland
Our South Mountain Vineyard is located on the broad shoulder of South Mountain in Frederick County, about one and a half hours west of Boordy’s winery. The vineyards have a southeast aspect and command spectacular views of the town of Burkittsville and surrounding farm country. The landscape has remained largely unchanged since Union and Confederate armies clashed in these fields three days before their fateful encounter at Antietam in September 1862. Elevations range from 600-800 ft.; soils are shaley loam; and diurnal temperature variations are greater than in our Piedmont site. This characteristic, plus a growing season that is about two weeks longer, makes South Mountain an exceptional site for red varieties since they require more time to reach optimum ripeness. The first vines were planted here in 1974 by Drs. Jerry & Ann Milne; today 20 acres of vineyards include four Bordeaux varietals: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and petit verdot in addition to chardonnay. Syrah was introduced in the spring of 2008. In the best years, Boordy produces a Landmark Reserve red blend from South Mountain Vineyard.