Press Feature : The Washington Post
The hole was six feet deep, and despite the symbolism, I was eager to jump in. This wasn’t a final resting place, but a soil pit carved in a hillside in upper Montgomery County that in a few years will become one of Maryland’s top vineyards. Crouching in the dirt, I could see grass roots reaching deep into the soil, and crumbling rock called phyllite that spoke of centuries of evolution and decay. It was a visual representation of what wine lovers call terroir.
These were data points — among many — the Baker family of Old Westminster Winery will use to configure their Burnt Hill vineyard, in Clarksburg, Md., near Little Bennett Regional Park. And it’s a family effort: Drew Baker tends the vineyards, sister Lisa Hinton makes the wines, and their younger sister, Ashli Johnson, manages the tasting room, publicity and special events. Over the next year, the Bakers will decide which grape varieties to plant and where to plant them throughout the vineyard, decisions that will affect the quality of the wines they make here for years to come. They won’t plant vines until spring 2019, and we won’t see wines from Burnt Hill until 2022 or later, but decisions made now will reverberate in our wine glasses for years…