Our name might be BIG, but what makes us so special is something small. Big Cork’s idyllic, microclimate and fertile soil yields smaller grapes with more concentrated flavors, resulting in (you guessed it) BIG and intensely flavorful wines.
THE VINES & EARTH
In September of 2010, I first walked to the knoll that now is Big Cork Vineyards. I was eager to walk the land, kick the soil, and feel the breeze. After 25 years of winemaking just to the south in Virginia, this was to be the pinnacle project of my career. It had to be right.
Making my way through the fall hay stubble, I kicked the soil to see what lay underneath. To my delight, small pieces of shale, greenstone, and quartz came into view. It was a gravelly loam soil, probably a Catoctin Complex. It was exactly what I had hoped for.
Atop the knoll, I could clearly see the surrounding valleys and ridges. A stout breeze prevailed from the west. Migrating hawks kettled overhead – Red Tails like the high ground. That very day, I knew it was a magical place.
In the months to come, I would spend countless hours poring over geological contours, topographical maps, and soil surveys. Varieties were chosen; row orientation was selected, and the trellis was designed. On a bright, sunny day in May 2011, the first 22 acres of wine grapes were planted. For three years, they would be tended to patiently.
Skip ahead four years. Unheard of Big Cork Vineyards wins Best in Show at the Maryland Governor’s Cup for its 2013 Petit Verdot. The course was set. Next came the Best in Show at the Maryland Winemaster’s Cup. Next was the Comptroller’s Cup for 2015 Cabernet Franc. Then the Jack Aellen Cup.
When you visit us for the first time, walk out to the vineyard. Kick the soil. Feel the stout breeze. Look overhead for kettling Red Hawks. Have a glass of Petit Verdot. On that very day, you too will know it’s a magical place.
I look forward to seeing you.
Dave Collins, Big Cork Vineyards’ Winemaker