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Producing Excellence

Greg and Karen Lambrecht

Westminster, MD

Operation: Serpent Ridge Vineyard

Product: Wine

Size of Operation: 1,500 cases

: 2009

Farm Credit Partner: MidAtlantic Farm Credit

Years Working with Farm Credit: 2008

When U.S. Coast Guard officer Greg Lambrecht was transferred to Maryland 15 years ago, he and his wife, Karen, planted a personal vineyard of 36 grapevines behind their home. After winning several awards for their homemade wine, they decided to turn it into a small business: Serpent Ridge Vineyard.

As a new agricultural operation, they were able to secure a MidAtlantic Farm Credit StartRight loan, which has a discounted interest rate for the first five years of the term. This was important for Serpent Ridge because it takes five years or more before a vineyard can produce and sell its first wines.

Greg, who is in the process of earning his winemaking certification, is responsible for all the winemaking decisions at Serpent Ridge. He’s also spent time with Australian winemakers and applied many of their concepts to his operation. For instance, Serpent Ridge’s wines are aged in poly flex tanks that hold more wine and take up less space than oak barrels. Serpent Ridge imparts the oaky note into the wines using alternative oak, which are small planks of toasted oak placed into non-reactive mesh bags inside of the flextank. The finished bottles are sealed with a “zork”, which eliminates the potential problems from cork and is reusable.

Serpent Ridge wines have garnered a number of awards in the Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition and the Maryland Winemaster’s Choice Competition. The vineyard produces and sells about 1,500 cases of wine each year.

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