A little over one year ago, on September 13, 2019, Running Hare Vineyard in Prince Frederick, MD sustained a $2.5 million dollar loss when a fire destoryed their manufacturing and wine building. The fire wiped out machines for bottling and label making, along with a wine stock.
Due to the loss of the facility, the Calvert County Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board’s (“APAB”) decided at a November 12, 2020 meeting that Running Hare Vineyard had to cancel all public events until the next scheduled meeting on December 12, 2020. The reason behind the decision the APAB made was that they can no longer be categorized as a Farm Winery since they are not currently making wine and as such, are no longer permitted to hold public events at Running Hare Vineyard.
“This decision could not come at a worse time for Running Hare Vineyard, our employees, and the residents of Calvert County and Southern Maryland. In the span of a little over a year, we have experienced a devastating fire, an extended off-season due to COVID-19 closures, and a shortened outdoor season with COVID-19 restrictions in place. As one can well imagine, this confluence of circumstances has had a negative impact on Running Hare Vineyard’s business. The hosting of these public events, in addition to providing fun, safe, and socially-distant outdoor activities for the people of Calvert County, have been paramount in helping us progress towards a point at which we would be in a position to rebuild our manufacturing facility and return to making the wine we love. Unfortunately, the APAB’s decision has put a hold on all of this,” Running Hare Vineyard says in the petition.
Running Hare Vineyard started a petition on Change.org directed at the Calvert County Government in hopes to get 2,500 signatures to show support for the Vineyard to continue to operate and promote Southern Maryland Agrotourism while they rebuild.
“We have been working extensively with the APAB, the Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning, and other County staff in hopes of finding a reasonable solution which would allow us to continue holding public events while rebuilding our production facility, but as it stands now, that solution has not been reached. Despite this setback, we will continue to work with the county in hopes of finding common ground.”
If you would like to iew or sign the petition, you can view it here.