Big Cork Vineyard named Washington County Farm of the Year

Article by CJ Lovelace

Big Cork Farm of the YearROHRERSVILLE — Big Cork Vineyards, which will soon be opening an on-site production facility and tasting room in southern Washington County, added another honor to a growing list of awards this week.

The winery has been named the county’s 2014 Farm of the Year.

“We’re excited about being named Farm of the Year in Washington County,” said Randy Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Big Cork. “We’ve been doing a lot of work here in the vineyard and the building to make this a premier agritourism farm site for our county.”

It is the first time a farm winery has earned the honor, county officials said.

Joined by Thompson and others, Leslie Hart, agricultural business development specialist with the county Department of Business Development, made the announcement Tuesday at a Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“Each year’s winner has been unique, but all have shown growth in terms of diversification, value added-products and a commitment to keeping future generations involved on the farm,” Hart said. “These magnificent farm businesses show a sincere dedication to preserving the longstanding agricultural traditions of Washington County which we’re proud to recognize.”

Business Development Director Kassie Lewis said Big Cork’s “commitment to the best of the best” in terms of production, proficiency and conservation is evident on the approximately 100-acre farm in Rohrersville.

“Our judges were extremely impressed with efforts to make the farm 100 percent sustainable, and with the addition of the hospitality center, Big Cork will continue to flourish and be a vital part of the Washington County economy and business community,” she said.

Since planting numerous grape varietals on about 24 acres of the larger tract of rolling farmland purchased by his family about 25 years ago, Thompson said the winery has spent about $4 million to date, including its new 4,000-square-foot facility expected to open on 9 acres later this fall.

In addition to on-site production of wine, which currently happens in Frederick, Md., the operation will include vineyard tours and tasting events, as well as a new venue for corporate events and weddings, Thompson said.

Open Thursday through Monday, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. Open Fridays until 9:00 pm.