Saturday, March 4, 2017 was the day of the grand opening of a new winery here in the area: Janemark Winery & Vineyard (click here for more detailed information on Janemark in our Food & Drink Business Directory), less than a mile from Romano Vineyard and Winery, which we’ve visited a number of times. With Gemeny Winery & Vineyards just a short distance away, that gives us three wine producers with a Brandywine address. Come October, 2017, we should have our fourth winery and vineyard in the neighborhood, when Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards is slated to make its first wines available.
Janemark takes its name from owners Jane and Mark Vogt. They’ve started out a bit simpler than some other folks, with no separate tasting room or fermenting facility. There’s a row of large fermenting tanks on display in the garage. The huge Giaguaro wine press doesn’t look like it will fit in the garage, so they must press their grapes outdoors. (FYI, “giaguaro” is apparently Italian for jaguar, but I’ve not found much information on It.)
Saturday’s tasting was on the Vogt’s porch and driveway, and visitors parked in the yard. We purchased wine tastings for my wife Cindy and I at $7 apiece. For the price, we each got a generous pour of the Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, Barbera, and Sweet Heidi wines (you can see the tasting menu in the photo accompanying this article). We also got to keep our glasses, etched with the Janemark owl-logo and name.
According to Jane Vogt, the story of how the owl logo came about goes something like this: When her kids were small, she worked nights at a law firm, where her boss nick-named her “Owl.” Now, a number of years later, she’s on the day-shift at the same firm, but she’s still called Owl. She also noted that they have owls in their neighborhood, which help keep moles and mice out of the vineyard.
Tasting the wines
It’s always interesting to try new wines, and those from Janemark were no exception. Now that we’ve visited several local wineries, we’re really getting know the Chambourcin. It is a grape that grows very well locally, and it makes some nice wine. If you know Chambourcin, all you have to do is put your nose in the glass and you’ll probably recognize the grape. After we tasted what they had on offer, our favorite was the Vidal Blanc, and we bought a couple bottles — they describe it as an off-dry white with grapefruit and pineapple in the aroma.
We also got a bottle of the Chambourcin for comparison purposes. The Sweet Heidi was ridiculously sweet, and just not suited to our palate at all (we did meet another patron though, who seemed to have fallen in love with it, as she was praising it to the heavens). Our favorite sip of the day, though, was from a batch of mulled wine. It was outstanding, and on a chilly day the warmth of it was wonderful. We were told it was made with their Chambourcin, plus cinnamon, clove, and some sangria mix — delicious!
Enjoying the surroundings
Despite the chill, the gathered folks all seemed to be enjoying themselves. The family cat was nosing around the edges of the crowd, and folks were also admiring the purple 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible parked adjacent to the wine press.
Looking east from the house, you can see the grape vines planted on either side of the driveway. It’s nice to see where your drink is coming from. In the same direction, looking across Bald Eagle School Road, you can see a very high hill (an unusual piece of geography for this part of Maryland), atop which you may be able to just make-out what appear to be grave markers. It is the site of the Naylor family cemetery. The oldest remains are those of Joshua Naylor, 1745–1816, who served as a Sergeant in the Third Maryland Regiment in the Revolutionary War. ♦