Tuscany is Closer Than You Think

Running Hare Vineyard in Prince Frederick, Md., Brings Old-World Charm to Calvert County

By Danita Boonchaisri

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (July 26, 2008)—As you scan the rolling hills lined with tidy rows of grape vines laden with ripening fruit, it’s easy to forget that you are just minutes away from the Prince Frederick town center.

In fact, the location is very similar to the famous wine region of Tuscany in Italy, says Running Hare Vineyard proprietor Mike Scarborough. “The rolling landscape, the sandy soil, and even the hot, dry summers are much like Tuscany,” said Scarborough. “It’s a great place to grow grapes.”

Running Hare Vineyard, located on Adelina Road, is the latest entry in a burgeoning Calvert County wine trade. It joins three existing wineries in the county, and another is scheduled to open to the public this fall. Together they are carving out a business niche that draws on the county’s strong agricultural traditions.

“If you want to keep the agrarian lifestyle in Southern Maryland, growing grapes is the perfect situation,” Scarborough said.

The end product is what really excites Scarborough. Four varieties of grapes grown on the 300-acre site – Cayuga, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Franc – are used to create wines with a unique regional signature. Scarborough is also crafting three other varieties, including the hearty red Malbec, from imported juice.

Running Hare Vineyard’s on-site production building is dominated by large stainless steel tanks in which the wines are fermented. Certain varieties are then transferred to oak barrels for aging before being bottled and labeled. It is a labor of love that Scarborough first discovered while living in France as a child. As a vintner he is largely self-taught, and as a viticulturist he revels in the hands-on care of tending the vines.

Scarborough planted the first vines in 2002. Now he and three full-time employees are gearing up to begin bottling, sales and distribution in August. Scarborough is also leveraging the rustic beauty of the vineyard to create a site for special events such as weddings and receptions. It is all part of his plan to bring a little old-world charm to central Calvert County.

For more information on Running Hare Vineyard, visit http://runningharevineyard.com/ or call 410.414.8486.

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