With two new farms, Mount Airy's Black Ankle Vineyards prepares for big expansion
Now, 16 years after buying their Mount Airy farm and a decade since bottling their first wine, O'Herron and Boyce are preparing for a major expansion that could eventually quadruple the output of their company, Black Ankle Vineyards. The couple recently purchased two new properties — totaling 380 acres — one in Montgomery County and another in Carroll County, to give the vineyard room to grow.
Just like the grapevines they cultivate to use in Black Ankle's Merlots, Malbecs, Muscats and more, the expansion will take a while to come to fruition. O'Herron said it will likely be another five years before the vineyard is ready to welcome the public into a planned second tasting room, and grapes planted at both new sites will also need time to mature before they can be pressed into wine.
But the work is already underway. New vines will be planted on the properties this spring, according to O'Herron.
"We're excited that it's happening, but in terms of us having anywhere to go and see, it's going to take a while," she said.
Finding the right locations for the vineyard to expand took some time. O'Herron said she and Boyce spent a few years looking for Maryland farmland with the right topography and soil conditions — a search that wasn't strictly limited to properties that were on the market.