This weekend some black women who wine had the pleasure of visiting Red Heifer Winery in Smithsburg, MD. Smithsburg is a little under 3 hours from Pennsylvania and about 3.5 – 4 hours from Virgnia. Red Heifer is one of the wineries included in those that are part of the Maryland Wine Pass.
The winery is close to the Catocin Wildlife Refuge and Zoo and some national forest/park areas and about 30 minutes from Frederick, MD, – where we enjoyed brunch before heading to the winery.
The winery is smaller, but has ample space for larger groups and groups of just two or three. We reserved a cabana, which in my opinon was worth the $30 it cost to do so, especially on a hot day. The cabana offers privacy and shade that otherwise isn’t easy to come by. There is no indoor seating available. Red Heifer is 21 and up, so it is a pretty peaceful spot. On Sundays there is live music.
Now for what you really care about, the wine! Eight wines are available to taste via custom flights and others available by the glass and bottle. Since the wine pass offers BOGO flights, we got two flights that included all of the offerings available via flights, so basically a dry flight and a sweet flight. The dry offerings included a vidal blanc, the Chardonel, a 2017 Cabernet Franc, and the 2018 Red Heifer Red. First the good. The Vidal Blanc was a winner and the Chardonel, which is a hybrid grape varietal of Chardonnay and Seyva, was nice as well. The Red Heifer Red is a dry blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Chambourcin aged in French oak. This was probably one of our least favorites. This was a bold red, but not a good blend.
The sweet flight we got consisted of the Blueberry Wine, Sweet Heifer, Catawba, and Red Heifer White. The Blueberry and Sweet Heifer are semi-sweet, while the Catawba is sweet and the Red Heifer White is a dessert wine. Of these 4, the Catawba, a sweet rose, was the favorite. We picked up the strawberry and lemon notes easily.
The Blueberry was a nice surprise. It was semi-sweet and tasted like a light, mild red table wine.
While there we also enjoyed wine slushies and tried the chacuterie board, which included watermelon, wasabi peas and some other unique offerings.
One thing I love about Maryland wineries is that they really offer a different experience than Virgnia wineries. They often offer more varietals, are often less kid-friendly (which I like), and in many ways just all around more casual. Red Heifer is worth if a visit if you want a fun outdoor experience at a winery with a large variety of wines.