Mrs. Fred and I paid a visit to Frederick Cellars today. Frederick Cellars is one of six wineries in Frederick County and is located in downtown Frederick on East Street just north of Shab Row. It has the distinction of being one of the few urban wineries in the country. It sits in a beautifully remodeled old ice house that was built around the turn of the last century.
The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the smell. They make, store and bottle all their wines right here in the building and there is a beautiful aroma of grapes that permeates the air. There is a large bar for tasting, and around the room there are displays of their wines as well as chocolates, wine related books and other goodies for sale. On the walls were pictures exhibited by a local artist, which our host indicated changes monthly. We were greeted warmly and since we were the only patrons in the building at the time we had our hosts undivided attention. At the bar they offer nine of their wines. You can pick any five for a tasting flight for $6 or they offer each one by the full glass or bottle. They have a nice explanation sheet of their wines and pencils at the bar to write down you preferences, and tasting notes if you’d like. We went with the tasting flight and after some deliberation we each picked out or five wines to taste. As it turns out it didn’t matter which five we picked as our very enthusiastic host ended up giving both of us a pour of all nine of their wines!
Anyone who buys a tasting flight gets a tour of the winery which is in the room next to the tasting room. They grow their grapes from two vineyards: one in western Frederick County, and one by Annapolis. They also buy some other varietals to round out their production. In the production half of the building there are the crushers, fermentation vats, oak barrels, filters, and bottling apparatus. Our host walked us through and explained their process from grapes to bottled wine. It was fun to see where they were made right after tasting them.
We both thoroughly enjoyed the visit and agreed it was a great way to spend and hour and a half on an afternoon. We enjoyed being the only ones there. Our host says it gets quite busy on weekends so I would consider going there on a weekday. Overall I would highly recommend it for anyone with even a passing interest in wine.
TOMORROW: The wines