Jan Luigard worked for a company that had business in Wurzburg, Germany in the late 1980's into 1990's. He lived near the Main River and the surrounding valley. The valley was covered in vineyards. He enjoyed the wine especially Riesling, Sylvaner and Muller Thurgau which was often "halb trocken" or half dry. When arriving back to the US, he decided to model a cooperative style of winery similar to towns in Germany. In this scenario, the people grow grapes together and divide them to make their own wine at home. In 1997, the federal and state licenses were obtained for Penn Oaks Winery. The winery was named after several references to the original location near Oakland, Md and Jan's home state roots of Pennsylvania. Jan purchased grape must and began making wine after the German model in the second location of Silver Spring, Md. In 2000, we joined the Association of Maryland Wineries and began to attend wine festivals across the state.
We started to look for a farm to plant our own vineyard and began developing plans for where to purchase land, what equipment was required and what varietals to grow. We researched a number of locations but settled on an agricultural preservation parcel in Cooksville, Md in 2002.
We have a wholistic, sustainable approach to agriculture and care about the environment. Knowing our soil, plant physiology, how to care for and maximize plant health is the most important part of our farm. When the soil and vines are healthy, the vines yield better fruit and hence the wine quality is initiated in the vineyard.