WESTMINSTER — Carol Wilson, owner of Elk Run Vineyards Inc. in Mount Airy, is looking forward to this year's wine festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
Elk Run Vineyards is one of 11 wineries that plan to participate in the seventh annual Maryland Wine Festival this weekend.
The two-day event offers Maryland's commercial wineries the chance to showcase, share and sell a variety of vintages, many of which have been recognized by the American Wine Society.
"We will be bringing a variety of our wines and also introducing our new vintage, 'Annapolis Sunset,' " Wilson said.
"This is a blush wine with a hint of sweetness. It has a crisp, clear flavor that everyone is respondingto real well."
Lucille Aellen, owner of Berrywine Plantations in Mount Airy, has quite a different wine to showcase -- Berrywine Dandylion.
"We make it from the flowers of the dandelion," said Aellen."It's a very diverse wine. It's great to have with a salad of dandelion greens, or you can use it as an ingredient when you are making mince pie."
Berrywine Plantations, which is Western Maryland's oldest winery, is also one of its most versatile, making fruit wines and mead -- or honey -- wines, in addition to grape wines.
"We make our(honey wine) using a Colonial recipe, dated 1765, from Martha Washington's cookbook," she said. "The base is mead and it is the authenticmead --100 percent honey."
Other events scheduled during the festival include a bike tour and an amateur wine-making contest.
The bike tour, sponsored by the American Lung Association, features 10-, 25- or 50-mile courses through the county, said Dottie Freeman, administrative assistant at the museum.
A $15 registration fee and a $45pledge fee will entitle cyclists to preferred parking, admission to the wine festival, wine coupons, a T-shirt and a wine glass.
Registration for the bike tour will be at the museum beginning 8 a.m. Riders will depart 9 a.m. Proceeds from the the bike tour will benefit Maryland programs and services of the American Lung Association.
Formore information, call the American Lung Association of Maryland at 560-2120 or (800) 492-7527.
The sixth annual Amateur Wine Judging Competition, sponsored by the American Wine Society, will be conducted 1 p.m. behind the garden at the museum.
All wines must be produced and bottled by the entrant. Each person may enter two varieties, which must be submitted 10 a.m. For information, call the museum at 848-7775 or 876-2667.
At 1:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the popular grape-stomping event will take place. Anyone interested in squashing the fruit of the vine is invited to participate.
Each day, ticket-holders will have the opportunity to attend the wine-tasting education seminar, during which wine experts will explain the art of wine tasting. Sessions are conducted each hour on the half-hour. Bring your own glass.
In addition to these events, Freeman said, there will bemany other activities for festival-goers to enjoy.
"There will be28 food stands with offerings from sandwiches and cheese to gourmet foods, and 26 arts and crafts booths will be displaying and selling items," she said. Also, 11 different acts on both days will feature staged music from classical to country, as well as strolling violinistsand jugglers.
About 17,000 people attended the festival last year, Freeman said.
Hours for the festival are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The daily admission price is $10 for people 21 and older. Children accompanied by a paying adult are admitted free. Special group rates are available for tour groups of 30or more people.
The $10 admission entitles each person to 10 1-ounce samples of wine from the wineries represented, and the logo-engraved glass.
The Maryland Wine Festival is sponsored by the Association of Maryland Wineries, the Maryland Grape Growers Association, theAmerican Wine Society and the Carroll County Farm Museum.