Owner & President
Robert Deford has more than 50 years of experience in the wine industry.
His family began growing grapes for what is now known as Boordy Vineyards in 1965, and assumed ownership of the winery in 1980. Under Deford’s leadership, the vineyard has gained a reputation as a leader in the regional wine movement in the mid-Atlantic, through one of the most exciting and challenging periods for the American wine industry.
Boordy is the first commercial winery in the state.
Now, there are more than 70 and Deford predicts the state could one day have as many as 100 wineries.
“It may seem strange that Maryland’s first winery would be saying that having so many competitors is a good thing, but it is,” Deford said. “It invigorates the industry.”
It also opens doors politically and makes the industry more powerful as it works to improve the laws associated with its business.
Boordy now has two farms, including the family farm of more than 240 acres and a 114-acre farm that is leased in Burkittsville.
Boordy has three lines of wine and produces about 120,000 gallons of wine annually — the equivalent of about 600,000 bottles or 50,000 cases.
Deford said the vineyard sells 1,000 accounts around the state and works with a distributor.
Among other things, Deford has overseen the modernization of the winery’s equipment and facilities, the replanting and expansion of its vineyards and the development of a broad following for its wines. He works closely with his staff on every aspect of Boordy’s operations, and is responsible — in partnership with his wife, Julie, and his son, Phineas — for shaping the winery’s long term strategic direction.
Active in both state and national wine groups, Deford is twice past president of the Maryland Wineries Association, was a charter appointee of the Governor’s Wine and Grape Task Force, and is also past chairman of the board of WineAmerica — the wine industry’s national trade association. He served as the chair of the Maryland Wineries Association Governmental Affairs Committee for over a decade, working to improve the legal climate for Maryland’s wineries. His deep passion for agriculture and land preservation has been a guiding principal in his career.
In keeping with his family’s vision of sustainable agriculture, the 240-acre farm on which Boordy is located has been placed in permanent conservation, and Deford serves on the board of the Long Green Land Trust, a land preservation group.