So my friend Frankie and I decided to make this past Saturday “-ery” day. We hit a cidery, meadery, winery and brewery. Ok, well Gordon Biersch is technically a “brew pub,” but they make beer, therefore, a brewery.  I’ll give you a brief rundown of our day and will have more in-depth product reviews coming later.

Our first stop was Distillery Lane Ciderworks (www.distillerylaneciderworks.com) where we took a self-guided tour of the orchard.  We were immediately bumped up to VIP status when our self-guided tour turned into a fully guided tour by the director of orchard security, Ruby.  Ruby is a Jack Russell Terrier who is in charge of keeping away deer and other critters from the apple trees.

In the shadow of the Appalaichian Trail, the cidery is home to over 40 varieties of European cider apples, heritage, and other hard-to-find apples.  They produce sparkling, still and premium hard ciders.

Did you know, that prior to prohibition, all ciders had an alcohol content?  During prohibition “ciders” were produced without alcohol.  Before prohibition they were just called “juice.”

Our next stop was Orchid Cellar (www.orchidcellar.com) which was a short drive from out first stop of the day.  We were greeted warmly by a loving black labrador retriever just before a hearty hello from the winery/meadery’s tasting crew for the day.

A fine producer of mead and Merlot, enjoy the meticulous recreation of some old family recipes using modern knowledge of chemistry and microbiology only to understand the process of winemaking, not to interfere with it.

Who would have thought that mead recipes from thousands of years ago would still be mindblowingly delicious?!

After stopping for lunch we took a quick detour through Old Town Frederick, which is a charming little part of Frederick, MD with an abundance of cute little shops and restaurants.  As we were parking we spotted a wine shop called Spin The Bottle (www.spinthebottlewinecompany.com).  I mean, how can you pass by a wine shop with such a cute name?

We knew we had wandered into the right place when we walked in and a mere 27 seconds later we were asked by the shop’s owner, “Are you thirsty?  I have some wines to taste.”  Our response in unison was of course, “yes!”  To which he replied, “Good!  And I think I’ll join you in the tastings.”  Aside from a fantastic wine selection, there was also an entire room dedicated to craft beers.

Our next stop was Viniferous (www.viniferous.co), also located in downtown Frederick.  We walked in to a huge area with hundreds of styles of wine from wall to wall.  We were welcomed by the owner and a moment later a tall long haired gentleman, who I now refer to as Wine Jesus, emerged from the back room and invited us back for a tasting of some beer and wines he had chosen to sample for the day.

I chose a bottle of Malbec that needed to come home with me before we left Viniferous. If you find yourself wandering Market St. in Frederick, MD definitely pop in and say hi.  They are ridiculously knowledgeable.

The last major stop on our tour for the day was The Winery at Olney (www.thewinderyatolney.com) where Dale expertly guided us through our round of tastings…and our second round of tastings…  A tasting here consists of choosing 5 wines from their list of 54984651.  Ok…it was a list of 25, but still, it was a lot to choose from and I was suffering from wine choice overload.

Frankie is friends with the owners of Noni Bacca Winery (www.nbwinery.com) in Wilmington, NC, who helped open The Winery at Olney.  So in a six degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way she was kind of a big deal when we got there.  She struck up a conversation with their winemakers while Dale helped us work our way through their extensive tasting list.

Such a fun little place and who would have thought that a winery in a strip mall could produce such fantastic wines!  Definitely a neat place to stop by if you are passing though, or if you live locally and you’re doing your grocery shopping go ahead and take a stroll across the parking lot and grab yourself a glass of goodness before finishing the day’s errands.

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