Daily Record Staff//July 28, 2022
//July 28, 2022
In 2011, Big Cork Vineyards came onto the Maryland wine scene – announcing it had begun cultivating 13 varieties of grapes on 22 acres in Washington County, near Rohrersville. By the 2013 vintages, awards and accolades had started rolling in.
Big Cork Vineyards won Best in Show at the Maryland Governor’s Cup for its 2013 Petit Verdot. Its Black Cap NV won the first Jack Aellen Cup Award at the competition in 2016, which highlights fruit wine, cider and mead.
Previously winemaking for 25 years in Virginia at Breaux Vineyards, Collins joined the Maryland wine scene with excitement. When he first walked the knoll that would become Big Cork in 2010, he was immediately struck that it was a magical place.
“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,” Collins recalls on his website. “It was a gravelly loam soil, probably a Catoctin Complex. It was exactly what I had hoped for.”
Big Cork Vineyards welcomes visitors to its tasting room and also hosts weddings at the 100-acre farm. It was nominated in 2022 by USA Today as one of America’s Top Wine Tasting Rooms. The vineyard also hosts festivals and concerts and incorporates community groups like inviting Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland so people attending the BIG BBQ & Bluegrass Festival can also adopt pets from the shelter.
Collins earned a bachelor’s of science in horticulture from Virginia Tech.