Wine sales come to Md. farmer’s markets

Jamie Forzato,

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – Farmer’s markets in Maryland can now offer one-stop shopping for fresh food and homegrown wine.

On June 1st, a new statewide permit system went into effect which eliminated confusing restrictions and allowed wineries to set up shop at any market.

The new system requires wineries to apply for the permit themselves, and they must be invited to the market before participating.

Jo-Ann Romano, who with her family owns Romano Vineyard and Winery, in Upper Marlboro, says “For the wine industry in general, it has opened up the opportunity to sell directly to the customer. Now if I want to go every weekend, I can.”

Fortunately for the Romanos, the Our Local Bounty farmer’s market is just across the street from their vineyard at the St. Thomas Parish. Jane Hodgdon, who co-founded the market, says, “We have so much bounty locally homegrown, but people needed to go to faraway markets or the grocery store to get that.”

She says the Romano wines are something special. “Their red wines have fewer tannins and so you get fewer headaches. You can have more with less pain!”

Jeff Colburn, a local brewer, hopes beer can also be sold alongside the wine and produce. “It’s not that much different if you grow hops on your property. How is that so different from growing grapes and making wine?” he asks.

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