Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 12, 1996

On Staff: Fiore Savors Taste of Good Life With Family Microwinery

Ben Walker
Applied Physics Laboratory

     With all the attention that microbreweries have been
getting, it's easy to overlook a parallel trend: microwineries.

     Eric Fiore of the Applied Physics Laboratory is celebrating
the 10th anniversary of Fiore Winery, a small family business in
Harford County, Md.

     And there is much to celebrate. Fiore's Chambourcin--a deep,
dark, full-bodied red wine with complexity and a fruit finish--
was recently judged the best overall wine at the 1995 Governor's
Cup Wine Competition. It's one of 10 wines made by Fiore, whose
line includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, several whites, a sweet red
named "Scarlet" and a popular wine called "Blush of Bel Air."

     "We use a clean, cold, fast fermentation that locks in the
fruit flavor," Fiore says. "You're able to taste the grape in our
whites, and the reds--well, they're a religious experience."

     Located on 14 acres just north of Bel Air, Md., Fiore Winery
is operated by Fiore and his parents, with the help of two
part-time college students. They produce 60,000 bottles of wine a
year, production that Fiore hopes to increase to 150,000 bottles
within five years.

     Fiore is no dilettante in the wine business. In June 1994 he
was appointed to a three-year term as chairman of the Maryland
Wine and Grape Growers Association Advisory Board by then
Governor William Donald Schaefer. He says he's working to get
more money to promote Maryland's wine industry, and to pass
legislation that will permit Maryland's nine wineries to mail
their products within the state.

     To help spread the word about Maryland wines, Fiore is
creating a colorful World Wide Web homepage, whose address is

     "It's under construction right now, but by March we hope to
have it up to speed, with maps to all Maryland wineries and a
listing of events throughout the state."

     Fiore wines cost under $20 and are sold at the Village Green
and Olde Towne Shoppe in Ellicott City, Md. Fiore says 1995 was
an "outstanding" year and invites wine lovers to sample the
products of Maryland wineries, including the first offering of
Fiore Chardonnay, at the Wine at the Woods Festival to be held at
Symphony Woods in Columbia, Md., May 18-19. He's working with the
Howard County Recreation and Parks marketing committee to help
assure success of the annual event.

    Fiore's day job is systems engineering in APL's Space
Department. He recently completed work on X-ray and gamma-ray
instruments on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft,
whose scheduled Feb. 16 launch will send it on a three-year
journey to 433 Eros and scientists' first prolonged, close-up
look at an asteroid (see the NEAR story in this issue of The

   For a picnic celebrating a NEAR milestone last summer, Fiore
provided wine whose custom labels carried pictures of the NEAR
spacecraft. "NASA's program manager bought a case," he says.

     Fiore now works on instruments going aboard two space
missions scheduled for launch next year: Cassini, which will
study Saturn and its mysterious moon, Titan; and ACE, the
Advanced Composition Explorer, which will take up station between
the Earth and Sun to give advance warning of geomagnetic storms
that could disrupt communications on Earth and present a hazard
to astronauts.

     Asked if he's been able to transfer any technology between
his space work and the business of making wine, Fiore laughs. 

     "A good glass of wine helps you think through a problem." 

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