A Side Trip to Black Ankle Vineyards

Down a country road, the corn and soybeans give way to rolling hills filled with vineyards. This may not be Napa Valley but it's the closest you can get to it in Maryland. At Black Ankle Vineyards, 14463 Black Ankle Rd., Mt. Airy (tel. 301/829-3338; www.blackankle.com), about 20 miles northeast of Frederick, the wines are state champions and its tasting room is a remarkable example of green construction. The walls are constructed of bales of hay (grown here), the heating system is passive solar, and the countertops in the tasting room were made from the vines and seeds left over from winemaking. The winery, which pressed its first grapes in 2006, is small, with only 2,200 cases produced annually. It's a lovely place to spend a weekend afternoon. Bring a picnic lunch, or order a cheese plate in the tasting room. Tastings are $5 and tours of the vineyards and winery are offered. Pasta dinners are served on third Sundays and musicians perform some Friday nights. The tasting room is open Wednesday to Sunday noon to 5pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.