Once you leave Chestertown, you are literally “on the farm” everywhere. The vast fields of Eastern Shore ag country slide off into the horizon; sometimes incandescent green, sometimes hauntingly barren and sere depending on the season.
Take any road in Kent County, and you’re likely to pass miles of fence and farmhouses where families for generations have seeded and tilled the earth, or raised dairy cattle.
One of those roads, northeast of Kennedyville, leads to Crow Vineyard and Winery, where the Crow family has farmed dairy, wheat, corn, and soy on 365 acres of pastureland since the 1900s.
Ten years ago, Judy and Roy Crow had a different idea about farming—diversify land use by adding a vineyard.
Met with skepticism at first, Judy Crow says they held fast to their vision of creating a destination spot for visitors to experience the unique atmosphere of a working farm combined with a vineyard, tasting room, and wine club, along with a hefty schedule of special events showcasing their 15 varieties wines, often with a guest celebrity chef.
As it continues as a working farm —galvanized steel silos, barns, and a herd of 100 Angus cattle give it away—12,000 visitors last year alone Visited Crow Vineyard and Winery for lunch in the newly designed Hay Barn Tasting Room, wine seminars, tours of the farm, overnights at the Farmstay B and B or get-togethers at their wine club.
Another aspect that sets Crow Vineyard apart, however, is their commitment to sustainable farming practices. The vineyard is certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture as a Best Management Practices (BMP) farm, which means they use environmentally-friendly methods to grow their grapes. They also have a strong focus on supporting the local community, using only Maryland-grown grapes in their wines and partnering with local businesses to showcase the best of the Eastern Shore.
Famous social commentator Will Rogers once quipped, “the farmer has to be an optimist,” and the Crows have proved that optimism and hard work will be rewarded with gold and silver medals and thousands of new friends.
The Spy recently talked with Judy Crow and estate manager Brandon Hoy about how the vineyard developed and became one of the stars of the Maryland wine industry.
This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about Crow Vineyard and Winery, go here. Better yet, visit.