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The 5th annual Drink Local Wine Conference will take place this Saturday in Baltimore, MD. Started by Dave McIntyre (on Twitter: @DMWine), The Washington Post wine columnist, and Jeff Siegel, author of the Wine Curmudgeon blog, the Drink Local Wine Conference shines a spotlight on the ‘other’ regions often overlooked by many mainstream wine media and enthusiasts. This year’s conference will bring together wine enthusiasts from around the US and Canada to learn more about the wines of Maryland.

I recently caught up with Ed Boyce – one of Maryland’s most accomplished winegrowers and founder of Black Ankle Vineyards (on Twitter: @BlackAnkleVines) – to learn more about him, his winemaking philosophy and his thoughts on Maryland wine.


Me, with Black Ankle Founders – Sarah O’Herron, Ed Boyce

This is the first in the ‘View From The Punt‘ series of short interviews with Maryland vintners that I will post over the next few days.

DWYL: How did you get into winemaking?
Ed Boyce: I loved wine, and it got to the point that I wondered what it would be like to grow a great wine myself. I have never made homemade wine. It is really the growing part that makes this job so interesting.

DWYL: Can you describe your philosophy in the vineyard and cellar?
Ed: Grow and make the best possible wine. I have come to believe that there are many different ways to make a good wine; being dogmatic, however, is a sure path to mediocrity. (is that dogmatic?)

DWYL: What should consumers think/know when they think about Maryland Wine?
Ed: Actually, I look forward to the day when we get beyond political boundaries and start defining out wines by soils first and climate second. Maryland is a small state, but has at least three and probably 4 different geographic/climatic areas, and the wines from those areas are very different. I hope that in the future, consumers can begin to distinguish the differences between these areas. For now, I hope that consumers can see Maryland wine like California in the 1970’s – some spotty wines as we learn what works and what doesn’t, but huge potential.

DWYL: Where do you see the Maryland wine industry in 10 years?
Ed: I think it is rather easy to predict where we will be in ten years, since time scales are so long in our industry that anything that really affects the next ten years is already starting now; I think we’ll see a continued acceleration in wine quality and especially consistency (which is our industry’s true challenge). The real question is where will the industry be in 30 years? I think Central MD has the best vineyard soils on the East Coast, so I would hope that Central MD becomes known as the great wine region of the East Coast. However, so much is people dependent that I am not sure whether this is the future or just wishful thinking.

DWYL: If you weren’t in the wine business, where would you be working?
Ed: I would be doing something very entrepreneurial, because that is my personality. Probably food related, because that is my passion.

DWYL: What is a wine that you currently do not make that you want to make and why?
Ed: My dream would be to have an 80 year-old Grenache vineyard in Maryland, since I am a huge fan of the wines of the Southern Rhone. For now I’ll have to settle for Syrah, which has been very successful at Black Ankle Vineyards.

For more from Ed, see my previous interview with him about Biodynamic viticulture on the east coast.