EWE Honors Rob Deford of Boordy Vineyards

March 23, 2020

Lancaster, PA – The 2020 Eastern Winery Exposition Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Rob Deford of Boordy Vineyards on March 11 at the 9th annual Eastern Winery Exposition. 

Boordy Vineyards, in Maryland’s Long Green Valley, was purchased by Deford in 1980 from Philip and Joyce Wagner who had begun it in 1945 and proven that French hybrids would grow, overwinter and make fine table wine in the Mid-Atlantic.

Over the last 40 years, Deford has made Boordy into Maryland’s oldest and largest winery, with a diverse and segmented product line. While keeping and honoring the French hybrid legacy begun by the Wagners, Deford added a focus on premium vinifera wines that have been winning top awards at national wine competitions like the Finger Lakes International and San Francisco International for Albariño and Cabernet Franc.

Deford has also made Boordy a three-generation family business with a focus on sustainable viticulture, with Lucie Morton as his viticulturist. “Like most farming, winegrowing stems from a profound respect and fascination with the land; indeed, a vineyard is a crop that lasts many decades, so sustainability is foremost on our mind. In keeping with an ethos of stewardship, we have placed our farm in permanent preservation with the Maryland Environmental Trust,” says Deford.

Dr. Joseph Fiola, Maryland’s grape extension agent, said of Deford, “The transition of this winery to a world class operation under his ownership has been amazing to follow and is a glowing example for wineries in the Eastern US. He is a tireless supporter of on-farm research to continually improve the quality of grapes and wine produced in the state and openly shares the results with others in the industry.”