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Non-GMO Wine Tasting at Chestertown Natural Foods

Chestertown, MD, October 2015 - October is Non-GMO Month, a month dedicated to education about our right to know about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in our foods. While you may already be aware of the extent to which genetically engineered foods exist in the food supply, you may not realize that GMO’s are also present in many of your favorite beers and wines. To further educate consumers about the issue, Chestertown Natural Foods will be holding a non-GMO wine tasting on Saturday, October 24th from 3pm to 7pm. Taste wines made from organic, non-GMO verified grapes and learn more about how organic, non-GMO wine is better for your body and for the environment. During the event, wines included in the tasting will be offered for sale at a 10% discount.

Chestertown Natural Foods’ wine selection focuses on organic, non-GMO wines made in sustainable and biodynamic vineyards, along with sulfite-free wines. The store’s beer selection is also based on organic, non-GMO beers and hard ciders, including specialty gluten-free varieties. The natural grocer accepts requests for new organic and non-GMO beers and wines if they do not currently carry your preferred brand or varietal. While you are there, help yourself to literature on GMO’s, the non-GMO verification organization known as The Non-GMO Project, and the hundreds of non-GMO products offered around the store. During the remainder of October, customers who donate $1 to the Non-GMO Project with an in-store purchase will receive a free non-GMO themed giveaway as a thank you for your donation.

Chestertown Natural Foods
303 Cannon Street
Chestertown, MD 21620

Aronia: a wine for the health of Chesapeake Wine Country

While many growers and winemakers are evaluating what will be the signature grape - Chambourcin, Vidal… for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there is one grower deep in the heart of Chesapeake Wine Country who is cultivating a bush not a vine, and making some interesting wines from its berry. That grower is Gerry Godfrey and the berry is Aronia.

photos: loblolly.biz

Gerry’s Aronia wines are crafted on his orchard farm in Caroline Country, Maryland and branded with the family Mt. Zion Orchard label. The berry brings a deep flavor to the wine uncharacteristic to wines made from traditional grapes that need a years of aging. According to Gerry, “Due, in part, to the high levels of flavonoids, eating the fresh aronia fruit can be an acquired taste. With shades of wild cherry, there is a unique fruity sweetness cloaked in astringency and a high acid level that lends itself very favorably to jellies, syrups, savory compliments like steak sauce, and of course, full bodied dark red wines.”

Using his orchard growing expertise, Gerry also works with other fruits such as apples and persimmons to create wines. But perhaps the biggest appeal may come from his wines’ healthy edge. The aronia berry has the highest antioxidant level of any known fruit. It is about the size of a large blueberry and comes in clusters of about 10 to 20, making them relatively easy to pick. For years the plant and its berry has been well known in Eastern Europe even though the plant is native to North America. But in the last five years more and more aronia orchards have been planted in the Mid Atlantic area, and they are producing ever more fruit each year as more and more health magazine and blog followers are promoting the health benefits of the aronia berry.

The Godfreys also create Sulfite free wines. Their Sulfite free wines are now available at the Chestertown Natural Foods store in Chestertown, Maryland who suggested to Gerry that a Sulfite-free wine would be appealing to their customers. Chestertown Natural Foods offers Non-GMO wines, Certified Organic wines, wines made from Certified Organic grapes, No Sulfite-Added wines, and Biodynamic wines. According to Charie Holt, Director of Accounting and Marketing at the store, “We are very selective about finding wines that meet these standards because they are the characteristics our customers are looking for when they shop with us. We love that the Aronia Wine has such a great unique taste because it expands the variety we are able to offer and makes for a fun alternative to the standard wine varietals that you can find at any wine shop. We are very happy to have Gerry's Aronia wine as our first local wine brand.”

Mt. Zion Orchard wines can be tasted and bought as well at area Farmers Markets and a few select retailers. To visit the Godfrey winery and orchard please call or email for an appointment: 410-924-6991, Gerry@MountZionOrchard.com. For more information visit:

University of MD extension info
Mid-Atlantic Aronia Growers Ass.
Chestertown Natural Foods