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By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Restaurants
Brandywine, MD – I went to visit my second winery/vineyard on the Legacy Wine Trail on Saturday. Janemark Winery & Vineyard (JWV) is located on a farm on Baden Naylor Road in Brandywine. The tasting room is in a revitalized tobacco barn. It has a comfortable farm feel…a barn with a chandelier! Perfect! There are plenty of seating options, from tables and chairs to couches.
The best part of my visit was meeting Jane (Jane of Janemark). She spent a lot of time with me and my friend, telling us about the winery’s beginnings and giving us a tasting of their current wines. Her passion and enthusiasm were unforgettable! We loved spending time with her and will be back soon!
Jane is the vintner…which means she makes the wine. Making wine is a lengthy process. The five main steps are: harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification, and aging and bottling. Some wine is aged in barrels during fermentation and others are aged in the bottles. Often, wines can take up to three years to age.
Jane keeps very busy! She is a self-taught vintner. It’s great to be able to do something you love! She grew up on a farm, not far from the current winery. She and Mark live on the farm, which has been in her family since 1877. She told me she can remember working in the garden alongside her mother and her grandmother. She was in her happy place!
Jane and Mark lived in Napa Valley (wine country in California) for a year and found their love for wine! They brought back that passion to Maryland. The first vines were planted at their home in 2013. Before they had the tasting room, they had an open-air wine bar set up in front of the garage. People would come to taste and purchase wine. They have regulars who have been coming since the “front yard” days.
In the last few years, they have expanded. First, opening the tasting barn, which is lovely. In the next few weeks, exciting things are happening…a new barn will be going up next to the tasting barn. They will be able to move the production/processing and storage out of their home and into the new barn. They are also going to put an addition on the tasting barn which will include restrooms and a kitchen.
Jane told me they plan to bottle around 1,000 cases of wine in 2020. They use grapes from their vineyard to produce the Estate wines and local (Maryland) grapes for their other wines. Their barrels are from a Napa Valley cooper, which uses wood from America and France.
I had a tasting of the seven wines they are currently pouring…three whites, three reds, and a dessert wine. The wines and descriptions (from the winery literature) are:
- 2017 Chardonnay Reserve (White) – Barrel fermented and aged on the lees for 12 months in American and French oak. Velvety on the palate with flavors of ripe pear, butter, and vanilla that intertwine in a soft, creamy finish. (I could taste the oak; it was earthy and delicious). Of note, lees is the coarse sediment, which consists mainly of dead yeast cells and small grape particles that accumulate during fermentation. Many vintners believe certain wines benefit from being aged this way.
- 2018 Vidal Blanc (White) – A dry white wine with aromas of tangerine and pineapple with crisp flavors of melon and pears.
- 2018 Gewurztraminer (White) – An off-dry white wine with pineapple, allspice, and mango on the nose and hints of apricot, peach, and orange on the palate. It is elegantly balanced with a long finish.
- 2018 Aviation (Red) – A dry Bordeaux blend. Dried cranberries, plum, and tart cherries on the palate followed by soft tannins and balanced structure. Aged in French and American oak for 12 months. (This wine is named after Mark’s father who was a World War II and Vietnam pilot).
- 2018 Chambourcin (Red) – A dry medium-bodied red wine with nice soft tannins and notes of cherries and blackberries. Aged in American oak barrels for 12 months.
- 2017 Rougeon (Red) – This is a sweet red wine. It’s soft on the palate with flavors of blackberries and cherries.
- 2017 Sweet Heidi (Dessert) – A delicious sweet wine with honey, peach, and floral notes on the nose with honeysuckle on the palate.
I like white wines…I mean I really like sweet white wines and fruity wines…usually. I must say, I liked all seven of these wines! The aromas and the flavors were distinctive and delightful! My favorites were the Vidal Blanc, Rougeon, and Sweet Heidi.
These wonderful wines have been winning awards too! The last two years, their wines have received the following awards at the Maryland Comptroller’s Cup Competition:
- Best in Class – Red Blend – Aviation 2016
- Gold Medal – Aviation 2016, Barbera NV
- Bronze Medal – Mean Jane 2016, Vidal Blanc 2016
- Best in Class – Dessert – Sweet Heidi 2017
- Gold Medal – Sweet Heidi 2017
- Silver Medal – Albariño 2017, Chardonnay 2017
- Bronze Medal – 1877 2017, Cabernet Franc 2017, Mean Jane 2017
Most weekends, Janemark Winery & Vineyards has special events, which usually include live music and food. This weekend, they are celebrating their 3rd Anniversary! Their anniversary event will include:
- Release of JWV’s 2018 Albariño
- Special menu by Calvert Crabs and Seafood to pair perfectly with the new release
- Live music by Bryan Frates from 2-5 pm
- There will also be an opportunity to sign up for their Wine Club. They are expanding they’re sought after wine club, Parliament. If you have been wanting to join, March 7th is your chance!
Jane told me, the bottom line is, “I love to make wine. It’s fun.” She loves all agriculture, which goes back to her childhood spent on a farm. She also gave a lot of credit to her staff, who are wonderful! She said, “The best people work for us”.
Check out their Facebook page, website, and Instagram for upcoming events.
The Legacy Wine Trail is composed of four wineries located in Brandywine, MD (Southern Prince Georges County). The wineries are: Janemark Winery & Vineyard, Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Gemeny Winery and Vineyards, and Romano Vineyard & Winery. I wrote about Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards in January.
Janemark is located at 15200 Baden Naylor Road, Brandywine, MD.
The hours are:
- Friday ………. For special events
- Saturday ……. 12:00pm – 6:00pm
- Sunday ……… 12:00pm – 5:00pm