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August 26, 2010

Tasting wine for a good cause: wine

wine glassHere's a fundraiser that should appeal to wine lovers.

First, it's a wine tasting.

Second, it benefits a political action committee formed to promote the Maryland wine and grape industry.

Here's the promotion e-mailed to me for the event, which takes place at Clementine Sept. 1.

"Join Al Spoler, host of WYPR's Cellar Notes, for an An Evening of Top Maryland Wine @ Clementine from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m., where guests will participate in a guided pairing of Clementine hors d’oeuvres and top-scoring Maryland wines in the Maryland Governor's Cup Competition, including new premium wines not yet publicly available.

"All proceeds to benefit Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing PAC, Albert Copp, Treasurer."

The e-mail also noted:

"This is the first of a series of events hosted by the Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing PAC.  The PAC was established to support the legislative efforts of the Maryland Wine and Grape industry.  This industry has a history of trials and successes in passing positive legislation which will create a positive business environment for vineyards and wineries in the state of Maryland."

Tickets cost $48. They are available at   

Tickets also can be purchased at the door with cash or check. Clementine is at 5402 Harford Road in Baltimore.


AP photo

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:40 PM | | Comments (13)


What legislative efforts is the PAC supporting? I can't find a web site; if they're affiliated with then they're probably at least in favor of direct shipping, but it seems a little hasty to name it as a 'good cause' without finding out (or at least, without telling us!) what their cause actually is...

Reading announcements such as this always cause me to do a slow burn. This article seems to imply that because I happen to enjoy wine, of course I'd be willing to pony up $48 for this event, regardless of what's being poured (all I know is that there will be Maryland wine poured at the event; as if that should be a sufficient inducement... give me a break please!). As if that isn't annoying enough, there is also the assumption that of course I should want to participate in this event, because I'll be supporting a beneficial PAC. Yet I know absolutely nothing about this PAC, and there is nothing in the email that helps me out (as MarkT alludes to).

"Top Maryland wine"

Now if that isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is.


Does spending your time to come to a blog and read a post really bother you that much? I would understand if this was an email clogging up your inbox but you chose to come to the clog and read it. Maybe you are not the target demographic because you are such a wine aficianado. That does not mean that other people are not interested in the event. Do you get this angry at advertisements in magazines and newspapers? Watching television with you must be a joy as well. "Really, I would never drink cranberry juice! Why am I subjected to this crap?"

Here is what I found about the PAC:

Seems like a good cause to me. Who wouldn't want to support local agriculture and local businesses?

Sorry, Sandbox, but I misunderstood something about tickets for this event. I thought they were ONLY available at the door. Turns out you can get them ahead of time at

I've made that clear in the post above. Sorry for the confusion.

If these are the wines I think they are, they'll change your perception of local wine. MD wine has evolved and has a real place on the winerack now.

Sounds like you're still stuck in the land of Wine Speculator where there are only 5 good wine regions in the world...

Things have changed. Local cheese, local meat, local veggies, local wine... get with it.

To anonymous

Actually, you've completely miscontrued why I'm annoyed about this post.

Too often I see posts such as this, suggesting that wine lovers will enjoy an event such as this, just because there's wine being poured. Perhaps you're a wino or an alcoholic, and so this sort of thing doesn't bother you, but personally I don't attend an event just because I hear there's going to be wine involved... and yes, the implication that I'll surely want to attend an event just because there's booze involved does annoy me.

As far as not being the target demographic, that was exactly my point. Who is the target demographic for this event? In my humble opinion, $48 is a bit on the high side for something like this. At least in terms of what will likely be poured. Sure, wine afficianado's (as you put it) pay that kind of price for a wine tasting event all the time, but generally NOT (I would argue) for an event that is pouring solely "top Maryland wine."

On the other hand, I do understand that this is something of a benefit (apparently), and so some people will attend this event solely to help out the PAC involved. This brings us to the other aspect of my original post. I have no idea what the PAC in question is all about, and you'll excuse me if just calling yourself "Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing" doesn't cut it for me. Again, before I plunk down $48 for an event such as this, I would like to have some idea what I'm supporting, especially if it's very likely that the event itself may leave me a bit underwhelmed.

As for the rest of your post, I'm afraid I'm not getting your analogy. The blog owner apparently invites comment on her articles, which is all any of us are doing (including yourself). Certainly it's OK to be a sheep if you like, and you've every right to feel the way you do (which I assume is that everything is just fine and dandy, so why is anyone rocking the boat). However, I really would like to see better and more frequent wine events in Baltimore, and I would very much like to see an end to the all too prevailing attitude that if you drink wine, it goes without saying you'll gladly pay to attend any event where wine (any kind of wine) is featured. You may disagree, but my impression is that that is exactly what this article promotes.

To AndrewS.

I would be happy to have my perception about Maryland wine changed. Seriously, if you have some tips about some local wineries that you feel are producing good wine, I would love to know about them. Despite my original post (and yes, my experience with Maryland wine has not been very good), I would much rather give my money to local vinters as opposed to wineries located in the Willamette Valley, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla, Napa, Sonoma, the Anderson Valley and Santa Cruz (regions where at present I tend to obtain most of my current domestic wine).

It may be unfair, but after listening to the complete and utter nonsense I once heard during a "tour" at Liganore Cellars, I'm afraid it somewhat colored my impression of Maryland wine (and not in a good way). Subequent experiences with wine from Boordy, Basignani and the much overhyped (in my opinion) Black Ankle have not helped to change that opinion.

Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing PAC
In 2010, members of the Maryland wine and grape growing community formed the Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing Political Action Committee to further the interests and needs of the industry.

About the PAC
The Maryland wine and grape industry prides itself on its dedication to local fruit, preserving land from development, increasing agritourism activity throughout the state in the state, and growing Maryland's rural economy.

The PAC works toward positive laws and regulations that encourage the development of vineyards and wineries throughout the state, in an effort to foster and maintain a sound business environment.

In previous years, the industry has supported expanded market access to Maryland wines, increased tourism activities at wineries, the development of favorable zoning laws for wineries, and the general modernization of Maryland's alcohol laws.

The PAC is a voluntary, nonprofit and unincorporated committee of members of the Maryland wine and grape industry, and other individuals passionate about the mission. The PAC is not affiliated with any political party.

For more information
Supporters of Maryland Winegrowing PAC
Attn: Richard Seibert, chair
22 W. Padonia Road
Suite C-236
Timonium, MD 21093
410-252-WINE • 800-237-WINE • 240-525-7438 fax

Richard Seibert, chairman
Albert Copp, treasurer

Dear Anonymous—
Agreed; like any other wine region, there are some dogs in MD (not ALL wines from ALL of the regions impress), but overall, they've come a great long way in the last five years or so. As have Greece, Finger Lakes, South Africa, etc.

MD's Serpent Ridge, Bordeleau, Sugarloaf Moutain are all new wineries producing at least 1-2 pro-level wines each. Some of the older wineries are also retooling and producing great wines (Cygnus/sparkling, Fiore/Sangiovese, Elk Run/CabFranc).

Good wine is good wine, and when it's good LOCAL wine, we should be even more excited. Ever had wines from VaLa in PA or Veritas in VA? Also top shelf.

Sorry about the anonymous sign off. I thought my personal info had been retained....

Thanks for the tips on the Md. wines. I'll search their stuff out and give them a try. I absolutely agree that good wine is good wine, but when it's local as well, it's especially deserving of our attention. On the other hand, I refuse to drink otherwise bad or indifferent wine, just because it's local.

Am not familiar with VaLa, but have been to Veritas several times. My experience is that their reds are up and down, but the SB and chard are usually pretty solid. My only criticism of Veritas is that the quality of their wine does not not justify the prices they charge..... but then I would probably say that generally about Va wine (Oasis sparkling wine being the worst offender by far in that regard). Just my opinion.

In any event, thanks again for the tip regarding the wineries from Md.

John M must be a lot of fun at parties.


:-) I always bring a couple of bottles of good wine for my host or hostess at any party I attend. If it's a beer crowd, then I always bring a couple of 6 packs of good craft beer.

So yeah... I'd have to say I'm pretty popular and fun at most of the parties I go to.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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