One of the promising discoveries during our 2007 trip to visit some Mid-Atlantic wineries was Black Ankle Vineyards. Founders Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron decided to look for an alternative careers to Management Consulting, and their fascination with wine, winemaking and viticulture led them in 2001 to actually consider the process of owning and operating their own vineyard and winery. But where?
After years of research, the pair decided they could make excellent wine in Maryland. After nearly a year of searching, they found a beautiful 146-acre farm in Frederick County, with 40 acres well suited to grape vines. The farm has all of the things they were looking for: relative altitude, well-drained and low vigor soil, and a mix of different eco-systems. They purchased the property in May of 2002.
Beginning in April of 2003, Ed and Sarah planted a mix of red and white grapes, choosing some of their favorite varieties, but also ones known for high quality wine and thought to be most suitable for the Mid-Atlantic climate. Varieties inclluded: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Later they added a small parcel of Pinot Noir, and some Grüner Veltliner, Albariño, Viognier, and the ubiquitous Chardonnay.
They also made a decision to farm with the principles of Biodynamics, the original Organic farming movement which was founded by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the 1920’s. Biodynamics involves working as much as possible by the rhythms of the moon, planets and seasons, with a strong emphasis on biodiversity, and a goal of self-sufficiency. Although they continue to experiment with new pest management ideas, they are not yet able to farm 100% organically, though they are optimistic that they will get there before too long.
Join us as we talk with Ed Boyce about the trials, tribulations and successes of East Coast vineyard management and winemaking.
For More Info on Black Ankle Vineyards: www.blackankle.com/
The sponsor of this video is CrushPad: www.crushpadwine.com