Antietam Highlands Wine Trail

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.

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.

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