Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
06.09.2011  
 

Baltimore Micro-Winery Is One of a Kind

City limits tiny Aliceanna to 100 gallons: Oak barrels prohibited

 
by Linda Jones McKee
 
 
Aliceanna Winery
 
Erik Bandzak plans to release three wines when he opens Aliceanna Winery on July 29.
Baltimore, Md.—Microwineries, which Wikipedia loosely defines as producing “small batches…primarily for local consumption,” are popping up like mushrooms across North America: 159 wineries with less than 1,000 cases of annual production have been added to WinesVinesDATA since January of this year.

Depending on their goals, marketing plans and location, approval can be a harrowing process, and prospective winemakers may face unexpected hurdles. In May, after negotiations spanning many months, Erik Bandzak finally received the necessary approvals from the Baltimore City Municipal Zoning and Appeals Board to open Aliceanna Winery. It’s Maryland’s 50th winery and the city’s first urban winery.

Bandzak began working toward the necessary licenses and permits last autumn: Part of his problem with the local zoning board was that his proposed winery is in a residential area of the city. According to David C. Tanner, executive director of the zoning board, breweries were permitted in the city, but “a winery or vineyard is something that’s not even listed. As the code developed, it just wasn’t on anybody’s radar screen.”

When the board finally issued its approval, it came with some restrictions that put Aliceanna firmly into the “micro-winery” category: Bandzak’s production is limited to 100 gallons per year—the exact quantity permitted by the federal government to a single-adult-household home winemaker. In addition, he cannot sell wine on the premises, advertise his business at the site or use oak barrels. The bizarre ban on oak was a result of zoning board concerns that these traditional vessels might leak wine into the ground.

Bandzak is not deterred by the limitations imposed on his fledgling business. “I plan to start selling wine at Maryland wine festivals and through local restaurants and distributors,” he told Wines & Vines. “In the next five years I’d like to move into a commercial space, in a location where I can bring in grapes to make wine and have a tasting room—but still be in the city.” By then, he would like to quit his day job as a guidance counselor at an elementary school and work full-time in the winery. He also wants to encourage other micro-wineries to open in the city, with the ultimate goal of starting an urban wine trail.

Like many small producers, Bandzak began by making homemade wine. His ancestors in Italy made wine in oak barrels in their basement, and his grandfather, now 91, made wine in Pennsylvania and taught the process to Bandzak and his brother. A friend tasted some of Bandzak’s homemade wine at a Christmas party in 2008, and encouraged him to go into commercial production. Initially, he resisted the idea of going pro, but began experimenting with different wines in a rented storage space on Aliceanna Street, not far from the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.

He now makes his wine in carboys in his basement, and plans to release three wines when he officially launches the winery July 29 at the Pierpoint Restaurant on Aliceanna Street: a dry red Rougeon, an Isabella-blackberry blend and a sweet Riesling.

A major challenge for Bandzak has been to find a source of grapes or juice to use for making wine. Demand for winegrapes in Maryland has exceeded the supply for years, and it is estimated that for the 2011 vintage, the state’s wineries will need approximately 900 more tons of grapes than Maryland’s vineyards can produce.

Consequently, Bandzak has been using juice from New York state, although he would prefer to use local Maryland fruit. He hopes to add a fourth wine made from Maryland fruit to his wine list after the 2011 harvest. For more information, contact Bandzak at aliceannawinery@yahoo.com.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $627 million
5%
$8,028 million
5%
April 2014 $595 million $7,623 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $184 million
17%
$1,890 million
15%
April 2014 $157 million $1,649 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 406
34%
252
19%
April 2014 302 212
     
 
MORE » Released on 05.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • May 28-30
     
    WIneMaker Annual Conference
     
  • May 28-30
     
    International Chardonnay Symposium
     
  • June 2
     
    Taste of Mendocino
     
  • June 3
     
    Napa Valley Viticultural Field Day
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: $10 Wine Would Cost $40-plus Under COOL »
 
As a Napa Valley producer, we have spent 30 years building our brands in the...
Reader: Pete Przybylinski
 
Article: Be a Sustainable Wine Ambassador »
 
A great idea. All TR employees at every responsible estate should be encouraged/required to become...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
It would be nice to know that Trost Jacking and Heavy Moving is the structural...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Women for WineSense offering scholarships »
 
This is fantastic! Women in Wine Education must find ways to continue their individual pursuit...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
Very Interesting, I'm so glad the building is successfully being saved.
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wine Country Concierge
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Harvest Intern
 Geyserville, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Wine Educator
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Bussers
 Santa Rosa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Specialist
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Represent...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine And Spirits Sales...
 San Diego, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Manager, Artisa...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Sales Manager -...
 Manchester, NH
Sales and Marketing
 Senior Brand Manager
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.