There are 2,000 plants in the vineyard, primary chambourcin and chardonnay grapes, Kevin Ford said.
Fiola said he has long hoped to see a winery in the Smithsburg-Cavetown area, which has a long history of peach and apple production.
“Anywhere you can grow great peaches and apples, you can grow great grapes,” Fiola said.
Fiola, the Washington County Commissioners and other officials joined the Fords on Tuesday for the ribbon-cutting for the county’s second winery.
Also present was Dick Seibert, owner of the county’s other working winery, Knob Hall Winery near Clear Spring. Seibert is president of the Maryland Wineries Association, the industry group representing 62 wineries in the state.
“It’s going to increase tourism in the county,” Seibert said of the new winery. Most of his customers come from the more urban Montgomery, Frederick and Baltimore counties, he said.
Knob Hall and Red Heifer will be joined next year by one or two more county wineries, Big Cork Winery near Rohersville and another expected to open in the Sharpsburg area, Seibert said.
Those wineries and some in western Frederick County will work together to create the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail, said Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Visitors and Convention Bureau. That will be officially christened next year, he said.
Planning for the winery began a decade ago, said Kevin Ford, who had been a draftsman for a surveying company. Yvonne Ford is a special education teacher at Northern Middle School.
Because the vines have not matured, the winery has been buying the grapes and fruit to produce the wines now offered. Those include Vidal Blanc and Red Heifer White, along with blueberry and catawba wines, she said.
Available soon will be a cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, she said.
The lower level of their home is where production takes place with five 750-gallon fermentation tanks and 18 60-gallon French oak barrels where the cabernet franc is now maturing.
The farm has been in Kevin Ford’s family for a long time and it was a bit of family lore that gave the winery its name.
In the 1940s, his great-grandfather, Clyde Naylor, wanted to buy the farm and was haggling with the owner over the price. Seeing a cow in the field, Naylor told the farmer, “Throw in that red heifer and it’s a deal.”