From Chardonnays to Cabernets, cycling tours to Maryland foods, artisans and music, the annual Maryland Wine Festival has something for everyone.
Rated one of the five best festivals in North America by Tours Magazine, the wine festival opens tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Carroll County Farm Museum. This is the 11th year for the festival.
All five phone lines at the museum have been busy all week, said Dottie Freeman, the museum's administrator.
"The one question I really enjoy answering is, 'Is this the Maryland Wine Festival?' " Ms. Freeman said. "We have been told that this festival is preferred over other festivals and tastings our visitors have attended."
Ten Maryland wineries will showcase and sell their finest vintages at the festival.
A $12 admission for adults over age 21 includes an engraved wine glass, tickets to try 10 samples of wine, attendance at the Wine Tasting Seminar, guided tours through the Museum Farmhouse and self-guided tours of the grounds.
The event runs until 6 p.m. tomorrow and is open noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Promoters will squeeze in the Maryland Wine Festival Bike Tour, a fund-raiser for the American Lung Association.
Bikers can register for $15 at the museum between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow and cycle through Carroll County on courses of 10, 15 or 25 miles during the fifth annual bike tour. The price includes admission to the festival.
The Governor's Cup, an award for excellence in winemaking by the Association of Wineries, will be awarded tomorrow, and there will be hourly entertainment both days.
Tom Matte will present the Governor's Cup trophy at 1:45 p.m. Mr. Matte, a former halfback with the Baltimore Colts, is executive vice president of Baltimore Football Club/Stallions.
The American Wine Society will sponsor a judging of amateur wines made by winemakers from through out the state. Amateur winemakers submit their entries to a panel of experienced wine judges, receive an evaluation of their wines and a certificate of participation.
While not a competition, the highest-rated wine does receive a commendation for "Best of Show."
Entertainment during the festival includes:
Tomorrow: 11 a.m., Eastern Standard Time group, mainstream jazz; noon, Carl Filipiak Group, electric jazz; 1 p.m., Peabody Ragtime Ensemble; 2 p.m. Hot Clave Bop, Afro-Cuban/Caribbean; 3 p.m., Jody and Suzie West, country; 4 p.m. Carl Filipiak Group and 5 p.m., Bourbon Street Ramblers, Dixieland.
Sunday: noon, Monumental Brass Quintet, classical/pops; 1 p.m. The Dave Cosby Project, jazz; 2 p.m., Monday Night Bowling, jazz; 3 p.m., Mama Jama, tropical/Caribbean; 4 p.m., Swing Central, swing jazz; 5 p.m., Bourbon Street Ramblers, Dixieland.
"A wine and dine area set up in the farm museum's garden will give attendees a chance to sit and listen to the music, while tasting Maryland's fruit of the vine," Ms. Freeman said.
The Maryland Wine Festival was the brainchild of John Barker, who in 1984 was the public information and tourism officer for Carroll County. Mr. Barker saw it as a way of promoting and gaining recognition for Maryland's fledgling wine industry as well as a vehicle for attracting tourists to Carroll County.
The first festival, a one-day event, was held at the Union Mills Homestead with about 4,500 people attending. The next year it was moved to the Carroll County Farm Museum and now attracts about 20,000 people.
Last year, the festival added a shuttle service, allowing festival-goers to park at the Carroll Community College and take a shuttle bus to the Farm Museum.
Food available at the festival includes breads, cheeses, salads, gourmet meats, pit beef and platters.
Festival memorabilia will be sold, including posters, T-shirts and sweat shirts.