Antietam Highlands Wine Trail

Photo By: MazzarothVineyard.com

Western Maryland
A unique combination of Maryland's lush, rollings hills, historic battlefields, and unforgettable small towns

Places along the way

An easy drive from the hustle and bustle of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia, making the trip along the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail can feel like an escape to another century. Anchored by a dozen unique vineyards, meaderies, and even a pair of cider mills, the Antietam Highlands Trail is connected by a glassy smooth ribbon of asphalt winding through Maryland’s lush, rolling hills, historic battlefields, and unforgettable small towns.
 

Tour the Antietam battlefield, home of America’s single bloodiest day of combat and one of the turning points of the Civil War. The views from this hallowed field will stay with you forever. Spend a day in charming, walkable downtown Hagerstown; soak in the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts with its world-class collection of important American landscape painters; and don’t forget to grab a box of Krumpe’s world-famous donuts – they’ll pair perfectly with the region’s fantastic wines you’ll be picking up along the way.
 

And oh, those wines! As magnificent as this uniquely Maryland countryside can be, it’s the wines that make this a trip fit for a sommelier's dreams. Blessed with rare, lime-rich soil, balmy days, crisp-cool nights, and a pleasant elevation rising just a few hundred, to a few thousand feet above sea level and away from the humidity that challenges so many American vineyards, the Antietam Trail is perfectly suited to growing classic, French and German grapes; it’s no wonder the region has produced so many remarkable wines.

Don’t miss out on the Riesling from Deep Creek Cellars, famous for their “natural wines,” and voted best vineyard in Maryland by Baltimore Magazine, it’s an exquisite wine that can go toe-to-toe with Germany’s best. Try the Cabernet Franc from Big Cork Vineyards, a staple at many local tables, and their unparalleled Russian Kiss, a double-gold winner and best in class at the Indy International Wine Competition. Cider aficionados simply cannot miss Distillery Cider Works’ American Extra Dry, a crisp and singularly New World take on the style. And sweeten up your adventure with a bottle of Archer from Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery, a silver medalist in the Mazer Cup International Mead Competition, its notes of cinnamon, clove and juniper make this a great choice served hot on a chilly night. The fact of the matter is, you simply can’t go wrong with any of the Antietam Highland Trail’s nine spectacular wineries.

(Continued below)

Photo By: BigCorkVineyards.com

Antietam Creek Vineyards, Sharpsburg

Anchored by its lovingly preserved Mennonite bank barn, now an unforgettable tasting room, this 55-acre former dairy farm gets its name from the creek running through it that also gave its name to the Battle of Antietam. Known for their full-bodied, Bordeaux-style wines, a toast at Antietam Creek Vineyards makes for the perfect capstone to a day touring the battlefield.

More information...
 

Big Cork Vineyards, Rohrersville

Winner of Best in Show at the 2017 Maryland Governor’s Cup with its 2015 Cabernet Franc, Big Cork is quickly making a big name for itself. And it’s no wonder with bold wines like their Black Cap Port. Take the tour, Big Cork’s American oak and French oak tanks are works of art in themselves.

More information...

Blue Mountain Wine Crafters, Funkstown

This boutique winery in the heart of Funkstown prides itself on its funky traditions like Girl Scout Cookie Wine Pairings and make-your-own wine kits and classes. They’ve even got a beer club and beer-making classes for the suds lover.

More information...

Cool Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Hagerstown

With rolling hills, spectacular Appalachian views, and a prime location just minutes from Hagerstown – unofficial capital of Mountain Maryland — Cool Ridge is a perfect base camp for a day downtown, or an unmatched fall foliage destination. But it’s the wines that will keep you coming back. Taking pride in his more than 15,000, hand-planted vines, winemaker Gerhard Glocker’s small lot vintages work magic from Cool Ridge’s limestone chalk soil. The 2016 Chardonnay is a particular standout, and a 2017 Comptrollers Cup Competition Gold Medal winner.

More information...

Knob Hall Winery, Clear Spring

A Cumberland Valley landmark beneath the forested slopes of Fairview Mountain, the property was founded as Good Neighbor Farm more than 200 years ago. Over time, the name shortened to “Knob Hall,” and now it’s home to some of the finest wines in the Mid-Atlantic. Weekly “Wine Down” Fridays and free Saturday shows pair perfectly with their big, full-bodied Cabernet Franc Reserve and sweet Gold Digger, a blend of Moscato and Vidal Blanc.

More information...

Mazzaroth Vineyard, Middletown

Known for their boutique, extremely limited availability vintages, and a bold selection of varieties including Albarinos -- normally grown on the Iberian Peninsula, it thrives here in Maryland’s Appalachian foot hills. Open only by appointment, book a trip and spend the day picking your own grapes in this idyllic valley

More information...

Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery, Middletown

With its modern take on the world’s oldest alcohol, Orchid Cellar’s amazing meads have been opening eyes around the world. Specializing in complex honey wines that pair spectacularly with their sunflower-bordered paths that help feed their apiary and tastings outdoors on the deck of their beautiful log-cabin headquarters, a trip to Orchid Cellar will sweeten any wine lover’s getaway.

More information...

Red Heifer Winery, Smithsburg

There’s just something about Red Heifer that feels like home. Walk their butterfly-filled gardens, bring your own picnic to their welcoming, outdoor patio, and definitely do not miss their mouthwatering Evening Sky, a tawny port of late harvest Chambourcin and fortified with brandy, we encourage you to take a bottle home to friends, but the truth is, it probably won’t make it home….

More information...

Willow Oaks Craft Cider and Wine, Middletown

There’s no other way to put it. Eric and Lori Rice’s “Gloaming,” a small-batch, barrel-fermented, unfiltered cider handcrafted from organic, American heirloom apples and black currants, will just blow your mind. It’s dark, delicious, and like everything else at Willow Oaks, unforgettable. Tour the orchard where Eric has been selectively growing blueberries, pears, tart cherries, black currants, and of course, those amazing apples at Country Pleasures Farm for more than 30 years.

More information...

Photo By: MazzarothVineyard.com

Maryland Lore

Union victories at the battles of South Mountain and Antietam — fought just three days apart — inspired Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, calling an end to American slavery. 

Photo By: G3 Photography/Visit Hagerstown

Trails in this Region

Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Western Maryland