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View of the Pavilion and Barn on the property

Discover Antietam Creek Vineyards: A Journey from Abandoned Dairy Farm to Premier Winery

Antietam Creek Vineyards, nestled next to the historic Antietam National Battlefield, began its transformation from an abandoned 55-acre dairy farm in 2010. After acquiring the land, our dedicated owners meticulously cultivated the soil, tested microclimates, and constructed a deer fence to protect our vines. By 2011, the first of our 4.5 acres of vines were planted.

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Our region is renowned for its karst or limestone formations, a feature that local farmers often highlight with the phrase, “It ain’t Washington County if you don’t hit rock.” Preparing our fields involved removing massive rocks, some as large as refrigerators, while integrating those too large to move. This limestone is crucial for winemaking, maintaining our soils at a perfect 7.0 pH, which imparts a unique "terroir" to our wines.

 

In 2015, with our vines at full production capacity, we partnered with local artisans to retrofit a century-old barn into our tasting room. This renovation preserved the barn's rustic charm and soaring chestnut beams, while equipping our limestone cellar with state-of-the-art winemaking technology. By late 2016, we began selling our wines from a tent, and by 2018, our tasting room was fully operational.

 

Today, Antietam Creek Vineyards features a complete estate wine production facility and tasting room. We proudly focus on estate-grown and estate-produced wines. As a proud member of Maryland's burgeoning viticultural scene, we invite you to experience the unique flavors of our wines.

Historical significance

Antietam Creek Vineyards is situated next to the southern edge of Antietam National Battlefield Park, commemorating the September 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle in U.S. history. While our farm did not witness the fighting, much of the battle unfolded on nearby private farms. 

 

Some of these historic farms, including ours, have remained privately owned, creating a unique periphery around the Antietam National Battlefield. Our proximity to this significant landmark adds a rich historical context to your visit, allowing you to experience both the beauty of our vineyard and the legacy of the surrounding area.

At Antietam Creek Vineyards, we deeply respect the history of our land where we cultivate our grapes and produce our wines. We do not use labels directly referencing the Battle of Antietam, in deference to the memory of those who fought. We chose instead to evoke the gentle arch of the Burnside Bridge. This iconic stone bridge, a site of historical significance, symbolizes the enduring connections within our community, linking the past to the present. Burnside Bridge which was the scene of some of the fighting, but which also, long before and well after the battle, was one of several stone bridges that crossed the Antietam Creek to connect the area to commercial centers. Through our wines, we celebrate this rich heritage and the peaceful landscape that surrounds us.

Joan and George - ACV Owners

Meet the Owners Behind Antietam Creek Vineyards: George Warmenhoven and Joan Larrea

Antietam Creek Vineyards is the passion project of co-founders George Warmenhoven and Joan Larrea. George, originally from the Netherlands, lived in Dutch New Guinea (now Indonesia) and Australia before settling in the U.S., where he pursued a career in healthcare and IT. Joan, who spent part of her childhood in Asia, has traveled extensively as a finance professional. She continues to work in development finance during the week, while assisting George at the vineyard on weekends.

 

George's lifelong dream of combining his biology degree with his love for viticulture led to the creation of Antietam Creek Vineyards. With Joan's enthusiastic support, George decided to pursue this dream after retiring, even amidst a global financial crisis. Today, George remains the driving force behind the vineyard, with Joan equally involved in its operations. Visitors to the vineyard might find George and Joan working in the fields, overseeing wine production, or welcoming guests in the tasting room.

 

Their shared dedication and hands-on approach ensure that every aspect of Antietam Creek Vineyards reflects their passion and commitment to quality winemaking.

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