A Day in Delmarva (Review of Broken Spoke and Chateau Bu-De Wineries)

Once again, a great find in the liquor store inspired a journey – our first foray into the Delmarva Peninsula.  The wine in question: Chateau Bu-De’s “Flagship White,” a refreshing blend that contends with any other East Coast white we’ve tasted.  Conveniently, this winery is less than an hour away from home, along with another winery – Broken Spoke – less than five minutes way.

Broken Spoke Vineyard & Winery

The vines at Broken Spoke winery.

Sticking to our routine of starting at the furthest winery, then working our way back, Broken Spoke was our first stop.  This winery is on a working pony (and other animals) farm!  We were there on a cold day in November, so we didn’t venture out to see the animals, but we will certainly remember to visit during the summer.  The tasting area was spacious and comfy, and they have a larger barn for events (they were setting up for a wedding when we were there). The tasting fee was $6.42 (we remember this because it was such a specific price), a reasonable fee for a tasting along with a nice presentation of the wines, served on a small plank of wood with each glass secured by a small horseshoe.

Tasting presentation at Broken Spoke winery.

Broken Spoke uses Maryland-grown grapes, so the wines have a true local taste.  We were particularly impressed with the light and clean “Chit Chat Chardonnay,” the not-at-all-sweet “Just Say Rosé,” and the surprisingly bold “Babble Barbera.”  Oddly, we prefer Broken Spoke’s standard wines (the “Animal Talk Wines”) over their higher end “Take a Break Varietals.”

Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery, Bohemia Manor Farm

Chateau Bu-De is making traditional style wines that can compete with bottles from anywhere else in the world.  The winemaker uses local grapes, as well as those from elsewhere in the region and California.  Everything we tasted here was amazing.  The prices are somewhat higher than other local wineries, as was the tasting, but well worth it for a wine lover.

To list their best wines would be to list all of their wines.  So, we’ll stick with those that really stood out to us.  Of course, the “Flagship White” is a perfectly balanced blend, lightly fruity with a tasty vanilla finish.  The “Dickerson Red” has just the right combination of oak and berries.  Deep red and with a little black pepper on the nose, the Bohemia Manor Farm Cabernet Franc is the equal of any great Cab-Franc we’ve ever had.

And even on a chilly, windy day, we couldn’t resist sitting on the porch with a glass of wine.  The view of the Bohemia River is so serene and the grounds are beautifully maintained.  We can’t wait to spend some more time at Chateau Bu-De after the cold weather passes.

View of Bohemia River at Chateau Bu-De Vineyard and Winery.





And for Dinner…..

We aren’t natives to the area, but we’re pretty sure that there is no one from the Maryland-Delaware border region who hasn’t heard of Schaefer’s Canal House.  This is Maryland seafood exactly as we hoped it would be.  Not only was the jambalaya the best we’ve had outside of New Orleans, it also came topped with an entire lobster tail!  Schaefer’s was pretty busy at only 4pm, so make sure to call ahead if you’re planning to visit. Also, we would recommend this restaurant for a special occasion given the price, but it is certainly well worth it.

Jambalaya from Schaefer’s Canal House

Main Takeaways:

  • Visit Broken Spoke when the weather is nice to see the farm animals and explore the grounds.
  • Broken Spoke’s wines are budget friendly, locally sourced, and perfectly represent the northern Chesapeake Bay wine region.
  • Chateau Bu-De makes wines that can compete globally and has a broad selection that encourages multiple visits.
  • With a small menu of wine-friendly foods, an amazing view, and plenty of outdoor seating, prepare to spend some time at Chateau Bu-De.
  • If you’re a seafood lover, Schaefer’s Canal House is a must.  As popular as it is, be sure to call ahead for reservations.