Galloping Goose Vineyards Tasting Room. Photo by Kelly Heck.

Galloping Goose Vineyards Tasting Room. Photo by Kelly Heck.

If you haven’t noticed, there are more than just grapes growing on the rolling farmland of Carroll County. Where it used to be the closest place you could find good, local wine was parts of Virginia, there are now options right in your own backyard.

These wines and venues have also started to develop a following and a culture all their own. And since we’re starting to slowly turn the page to late summer and fall, now is the perfect time to sample what Carroll County has to offer.

In addition to the Maryland Wine Festival, which takes place September 17 and 18 at the Carroll County Farm Museum, you can also visit the following venues and enjoy a glass, some music, and time with family and friends. (Vineyards listed in alphabetical order.)

14463 Black Ankle Road, Mount Airy  •

Technically, Black Ankle Vineyards is located in Frederick County, but it’s close enough to Carroll that residents can still arrive in less than 30 minutes from downtown Westminster.

Owners Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron purchased the land for Black Ankle Vineyards in May of 2002 and haven’t looked back. Their belief is that great wine can be grown in the state of Maryland if the conditions are right. And the piece of land that Black Ankle sits on, they believe, has that right mix of sun and soil that can be ideal for producing great wine. Additionally, the venue itself is a fantastic spot to spend an afternoon with its vineyards and scenery. Bring a picnic of your own and enjoy the outdoors.

Special events

  • Friday Night Music Live music provided every Friday from early May through the end of October. Fridays through October • 6 – 8:30 pm
  • Second Saturdays for Wine Club Members Every Second Saturday, members of Black Ankle’s Wine Club may enjoy another night of music and wine. Saturdays through October • 6 – 8:30 pm

Tasting room hours

  • Fridays: 12 – 8 pm; Saturdays: 10 am – 6 pm; Sundays: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Tour Hours: Saturdays & Sundays: 1 pm & 3 pm

3130 Long Lane, Manchester  •

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Cygnus Wine Cellars is a place to go to increase your wine knowledge. That’s because owner and winemaker Ray Brasfield puts education and hospitality at the forefront of what he does, also making “methode champenoise sparkling wines” (champagne), using grapes grown locally for the process.

If you’re a fan of white wines, be sure to try the Manchester Hall, as it’s the most popular white at Cygnus. If you prefer reds, the Cygnus Red may be your choice – it’s also Brasfield’s overall favorite.

Special events

  • Dog Days Bring a picnic and cool off with a glass of white wine and water for your dog on the deck. Weekends in August
  • Stars in the Cellar! A tasting of Royele methode champenoise sparkling wines, accompanied by fine hors d’oeuvres. Reservations required. Sunday, December 4th • 1:30 – 4 pm 

Tasting room hours

  • Saturdays & Sundays: 12 – 5 pm
  • Other times by appointment
  • Tours are available
  • Closed major holidays

7933 Forest & Stream Club Road, Detour  •

Drive about 30 minutes west from downtown Westminster through rolling farmland and you’ll come to Detour Winery, one of the larger producers in the area. Geared more towards events and functions, Detour is owned by Daniel Tamminga, Sr. As a goal of his, Tamminga wants to create innovative and award winning wines, and it looks like he’s done just that. As winners of over 100 medals, Detour is a place where just about every palate will be able to find something they enjoy.

Special events

  • Saturday night UnWine Free live music is provided every Saturday in select months. September and October • 2 – 5 pm
  • First Sunday Free live music is provided on the first Sunday of the month. September and October • 2 – 5 pm

Tasting lounge hours

  • Wednesday through Friday: 11 am – 5 pm; Saturdays & Sundays: 12 – 6 pm
  • Tours: Wednesday – Friday: by appointment; Saturday & Sunday: 1 pm & 1:30 pm, advance reservation required.

15113 Liberty Road, Mount Airy  •

Located just a few miles outside of Carroll County in Frederick County, Elk Run Vineyards & Winery has had their wines rise to prominence in the past few years, especially after being selected to appear in the series House of Cards. The show chose to feature their Liberty Tavern Cabernet Sauvignon, among a few others, during its second season as a favorite of Francis Underwood, the show’s main character.

As for the venue itself, it’s a great spot to kick back and listen to some live music in a relaxed, rustic environment. Try a tasting inside, or share a bottle with some friends around oak barrel tables overlooking their vineyards.

Special events

  • Wine Down Fridays Enjoy live music by a variety of local and regional artists. Fridays through August • 6 – 9 pm
  • “Sippin” Saturdays and Sundays Same program as Wine Down Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays through August • 3 – 5 pm
  • Elk Run Summer Music Classic Rock and Classic Cars Support the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding School, and enjoy a day of great American pastimes. Saturday, August 13 • 12 – 6 pm

Tasting room hours

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am  – 6 pm; Sunday: 12 – 6 pm
  • Tours: 1 pm & 3 pm

4326 Maple Grove Road, Hampstead  •

Owned and operated by the Hale family on their family farm, Galloping Goose Vineyards grows and creates all their wine right on the premises. The rustic atmosphere along with a relaxing country setting provides a great spot to get away for a picnic for two…or more.

Whether you’re trying the Vidal Blanc (crisp citrus finish), the Chilled Rose’ of Cabernet (bit of tannin, dry, and perfect with salmon on the grill), or Diane Hale’s personal favorite, the Estate Petit Verdot (rich tannin and great with steak on the grill), you’ll be sure to find something you enjoy.

Special events

  • Harvest Party Pick grapes from the vineyard and be rewarded for your work with libations and food. Late September, please check their website for more details.
  • Tour d’Tanks with the Mason Dixon wine trail Enjoy blending trials and a tour of our wine making in process. Each weekend in November.

Tasting room hours

  • Thursday through Sunday: 12 – 4 pm
  • Tours by appointment
  • Closed all holidays


Lisa Hinton, winemaker at Old Westminster Winery, pours samples for visitors inside their tasting room. Photo supplied by Old Westminster Winery.

1550 Old Westminster Road, Westminster  •

Now showcasing some of the best wines in Carroll County, the dream of Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard started in 2009 for the Baker family. Two years later, they planted over 7,600 vines on the family farm, which now produce two of their more popular wines, the 2014 Home Vineyard, Chardonnay, and the Revelry, First Edition. The Revelry, as Ashli Johnson, Estate Director and the youngest Baker daughter puts it, “is a lively blend of red wines from our first three years vintages: 2012, 2013, 2014.”

Whether you decide to experience a tasting with your spouse in the spacious, newly opened tasting room, or a glass and some charcuterie and fine cheeses with some friends outside among the vineyards, it will be a truly relaxing experience.

Special events

  • Fall Festival Celebrating the release of their Sparkling Gruner Veltliner. Check website.

Tasting room hours

  • Fridays: 5 – 10 pm (live music 6 – 9 pm);
  • Saturdays: 12 – 5 pm (live music 1 – 4 pm);
  • Sundays: 12 – 5 pm

2962 Nicodemus Road, Westminster  •

Owners Hal Roche and Karen Smith operate Serpent Ridge Vineyard with a very hands-on approach…literally. Every bottle of wine that is produced is hand filled and corked, which is no small feat. The hard work pays off though, as they produce some great wines, including their 2012 Cabernet Franc – Estate Reserve, and Smith’s favorite, the Albariño.

Their personality is on display, not only in their wines, but also in the tasting room as they are helpful, friendly, and willing to share their winemaking knowledge. Stop by, enjoy a glass, and unwind on their front porch.

Special events

  • First Friday  Live music performances in the vineyard, free of charge. Bring a picnic and your favorite chair. August 5, September 2, and October 7
  • Second Saturday Just like First Friday, only eight days later. August 13, September 10, October 15

Tasting room hours

  • Wednesday – Friday: 12 – 5 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 10:30 am – 6 pm
  • Closed Christmas Day
  • Tours – By appointment