Layton’s Chance Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Debut of Two New Wines
Region’s Only Certified Craft Winery Marks the Half-Way Point in Its Year-Long Celebration
VIENNA, MD – June 24, 2020 – When Jennifer and William Layton, and William’s parents Joe and Laura, decided to launch a winery on their farm in Vienna, MD, they could not have imagined what the next decade would really look like.
“We had a good business plan and great support, but it was the opportunity and risk of a lifetime,” said Jennifer Layton, ‘Jen’eral Manager for the Winery. “Farming was changing, and we had to envision a use for some land in a way that would be (mostly) recession-proof. The answer, we thought, was wine.”
A decade, a recession and COVID-19 have proved it was a winning idea. While at times it has been difficult, the winery has remained stable and steady, adjusting with the ebb and flow of each situation.
“Celebrating a major anniversary during COVID-19 has been challenging but oddly satisfying,” said Jennifer. “We altered our schedule, shipped five times the amount of wine than usual, created curbside delivery, bottled our largest harvest ever – nearly 42000 bottles in three days – and brought two new wines to market. We are so proud of our team; there are no words.”
The new wines launched last month. Turbo Pink is a sweet wine with notes of raspberries, pink lemonade and cotton candy. “This one is unabashedly for ‘the girls’ – the women of agriculture who are the backbone of farming,” said Jennifer. “And one of the most enjoyed areas of the winery our pink tractor, just like the one on the label. It’s become a must-have selfie spot.”
Chief Winemaker William Layton also brought Twilight Delight to market. Its a “Cab Franc” varietal that is dry to off dry with notes of sour cherry and cranberry. “It’s not a traditional Cab Franc – it’s surprising and refreshing and it is getting good reviews in the Tasting Room, which is really the test.”
William, who grew up on the farm, created both these wines as well as the nearly 20 others Layton’s Chance sells. “I love the combination of science and art that it takes to create a good wine,” he said. “We never want to be pretentious. We want our wines to be enjoyed at a party, a BBQ or just watching the sun set.”
The attraction is clear. Jennifer added that immediately after their first Joe’s Cool Red Turbo bottling of the year in April, more than half the 420 cases were sold within days, with markets like Harris Teeter and ACME, as well as wine stores across Maryland and Delaware stocking up. “We don’t want anyone to worry, though,” she said. “We’ll bottle more in August!”
A Decade of Risk and Opportunity
Launching with five wines in 2010, including the now-iconic Joe’s Cool Red, Layton’s became “the” place to come for an afternoon of sipping wine, listening to music and enjoying the relaxing setting. (It’s no accident that the winery’s slogan is “We work like crazy,? so our guests can be lazy!)
At the announcement in February that Layton’s had been named the Mid-Atlantic’s first and only Certified Craft Winery, Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37 Mid-Shore observed, “During its first decade, Layton’s Chance has shown itself to be a leader – in agriculture, environmental stewardship and of course in winemaking. It comes as no surprise to us that their approach to winemaking has raised the bar and we are thrilled to recognize them as the first and only craft winery in Maryland.”
To be a Certified Craft Winery, they had to demonstrate that their wines are commercially available in limited production; that wine development is led by a winemaker who is a partner and decisionmaker throughout the process (William); that the fruit used to produce each wine comes from traceable sources, both grown on-site and acquired; and that every wine produced by the winery is in 5,000-or-fewer case lots.
“Craft has long been recognized in other beverage categories, and it is really beyond time that wine be offered the same standard,” said Carole Lawson, the CEO and founder of the Craft Wine Association and is a certified sommelier. “We see this movement heading east across the US, and we’re thrilled to welcome Layton’s Chance as our first member in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.”
Dedicated to Community Service & Safety
One of the goals from the start was to give back to the community that has supported them by offering wines created to support local causes.
Five dollars from the sale of the winery’s United wine – a dry, light Chambourcin with notes of dry fig and cranberry – benefits the United Way of the Eastern Shore.
Five dollars from the sale of FREEDOM, one of Layton’s best-selling wines, has allowed for donations totaling more than $10,000 to the Friends of Harriet Tubman Visitor Center since 2018. FREEDOM is a “seminal blend of native Catawba and Chambourcin grapes is both romantic and refreshing with its berry essence and clean finish,” according to William.
In addition to being a gathering space for families, friends and tours, the winery is committed to building community through the Gold Leaf Wine Club. The club, which meets several times a year, offers early access to new wines, free and discounted tickets to winery events, four wine shipments a year and the much-anticipated members-only Tank Tasting event each spring. (This year’s event was cancelled but next year’s is already on the schedule.)
During COVID-19, the Layton’s and their team have worked hard to create an environment where people will feel safe to spend an hour or an afternoon. Some of the steps they have taken include a greatly-expanded outdoor seating area, a creative “cleaning needed” system for tables with red-and-green-sided hockey pucks, hand sanitizer stations and shopping-only in the Tasting Room. They have also expanded food offerings to include cheese plates, fruit plates, veggies & dip platters and snacks.
“During this time when so much is uncertain, we want the winery and vineyard to be a place of peace and relaxation for our guests,” said Jennifer. “While we hope the next decade will be calmer, it’s our goal to be there for our guests no matter the world outside our driveway.”
The winery will celebrate their 10th anniversary all summer and fall with ticketed-only music and tasting events. Learn more and register for tickets at www.LaytonsChance.com. Follow the winery on Facebook and Instagram or call 410-228-1205 for more information.