I’m always dismayed when I go to a restaurant that typically does it right by sourcing food locally — except on the wine list, where there isn’t a single local wine on their menu. When I ask about it, I never get an answer that quite satisfies me.


When I do see a local wine on a menu, like I did last night at Carolina Blue* in Pitman, N.J., I order it. (If I’m going to be as vocal as I am about putting local wines on independent restaurant menus, I’d better be ordering them, right?)

Right now, if you live in Maryland, you have an entire week’s worth of opportunities to be served local wines when you go out to eat at participating restaurants in Maryland Wine Week. Restaurants in Baltimore, Annapolis, Tilghman Island and several small towns around the state will have state wines on the menu for the week.

Several wine shops around the state will be offering discounts on wine from Maryland wineries. Some wine shops will have special tastings, and wineries will be hosting special events, too. The website has a calendar that lists all events for Maryland Wine Week.

The week ends with the Great Grape’s! Wine, Arts, & Food Festival in Cockeysville, Md., during which 20 state wineries will feature more than 200 wines.

At the top of the Maryland Wine Week website, it says, “Support your local businesses who support local wine.” This is great advice, whether you live in Maryland or elsewhere. When you see a restaurant with local wine choices on the menu, make sure to let the restaurant know you appreciate it. Also, let them know that having that choice might just bring you back to the restaurant.

For more information on Maryland’s wineries, visit the Maryland Wine website to find out about wineries, wine trails, events, festivals and more.

*Carolina Blue has wines from Heritage Vineyards to their menu. Heritage, by the way, was just named by the Garden State Wine Growers Association as Winery of the Year. I enjoyed a nice Syrah with my Bistro Filet sandwich. The meat on the sandwich had been smoked with wood from Heritage’s peach trees.

There’s a rule of thumb that says you should pair wines with foods that are grown in the same area. Since the meat was smoked with wood grown on the same farm as the grapes for the wine, this ended up being a very nice pairing. If I had the opportunity to visit one of the restaurants in Maryland that are participating in Maryland Wine Week, I would try to order local food to go with the local wine I was drinking.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

It's Maryland Wine Week
In Maryland, local restaurants and retailers will be featuring state wines through June 12, 2011.