Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
18125 Comas Rd
Phone: (301) 605-0130
Contact: James McGarry
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard was conceived with awareness of the unique character of the property, the quality of the soil, and with familial commitment. The double-bank red barn – built in the early 1900s – the silo and windmill are all signature landmarks of the farm. Purchased by Dan and Polly O'Donoghue in 1962, the 92-acre “Windmill Farm” has been a working farm and family retreat ever since. Owned and operated by the four children – the McGarry, McKenna and two O’Donoghue families – the transformation from a traditional farm to a vineyard broke ground in 2002. A wine making team was formed, and soon vines were planted and being nurtured. By 2005, the winery was complete and we were making our first vintages. The award-winning results are worth a taste!
The soil of the farm is comprised of equal parts clay, shale and sand. Combined with a unique microclimate at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, the family believed that a vineyard dream might be possible. In early 2002, after soil tests proved the land was ideal for producing grapes, the vineyard plan moved off the drawing board. Through 2004, while the stock was being nurtured and prepared for planting, an infrastructure of fences, irrigation, and trellis system was installed. Two fields were chosen and four separate cover crops providing necessary nutrients were planted, and upon maturity were worked back into the soil.
We assembled a team of experts in 2004 to ensure we produce successful quality-focused wines. John Caldwell of Caldwell Nurseries in California nurtured the grafted vines to assure they were well prepared for planting. Our renowned vineyard consultant, Lucie Morton, obtained a degree in viticulture in Bordeaux, and she has worked in and studied vineyards in France, California and Virginia. Carl DiManno, who attended the University of California at Davis where he obtained a degree in winemaking, served as our vineyard manager and winemaker from 2004 until 2011. Benoit Pineau came aboard as SMV's winemaker in 2011. He hails from France and has been educated in oenology and viticulture in Bordeaux and Toulouse.
With our team in place, Caldwell Nurseries grafted 19,000 French certified vinifera vines which were shipped here to Maryland. The vines were individually inspected for quality assurance and hand planted by our experienced crew. The vineyard contains 2.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5 acres of Pinot Grigio, 2 acres of Chardonnay, 1.25 acres of Merlot, 1 acre of Cabernet Franc, .5 acre of Petit Verdot, and .25 acre of Malbec. A third field has been prepared and 1 acre of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 acre of Cabernet Franc and .25 acre of Merlot have been planted with more to come.
We built our winery in 2005, designed by the acclaimed Washington, DC architectural firm Cunningham & Quill and furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. We harvested our first grapes in the fall of 2005 and debuted our first vintages in April 2006. Our winemaking philosophy blends precision with passion in the creative approach to the science and art of winemaking.
Our tasting room opened for business in the fall 2008, and was formally dedicated in January 2009. It is bright, warm and cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. It adjoins our outdoor patio that is a big hit with our customers. Hosted by a cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful staff, you can enjoy samples of various vintages, take a winery tour, and hopefully purchase wines you like. Cheese and other pairings are available to complement your tasting experience. Our tasting tent provides an additional space for groups and parties. We want to make your visit memorable and pleasant; one that will bring you back to us again (and again...with your friends and family!). Consider hosting your next party or event at SMV, click here for details. We always welcome your comments and suggestions.
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