Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.
Julian Wilson, 33, is co-owner of Elk Run Vineyards in Mount Airy. In 42 years of business, Elk Run Vineyards has grown to cultivate 30 acres of vines consisting of 10 grape varieties to produce 18 wines for their tasting room. Julian owns and operates the vineyard with his father, Fred. In the midst of harvest last year, an accident left his father, the primary winemaker, injured and hospitalized for months. Without guidance, Julian stepped up to lead the Elk Run Vineyards team to harvest the entire crop, crush the grapes and make the wine. Fred described this as an “extraordinary feat” and said, “As we of the older generation get older, he is a bright spot in the ever-challenging market. He will carry the winery through the tough times we now face.”
Julian has worked on the operation for 17 years and participates in all tasks at the vineyard. He is the primary vineyard manager, assistant winemaker, and works with sales and marketing. In the 2021 Maryland Governor’s Cup, Julian was extremely proud to receive gold for the winery’s 2019 Cabernet Franc. Elk Run’s greatest business accomplishment in Julian’s eyes is being open for so long and still making good wine. He says, “We strive for quality in our products and work toward that goal every day.” Julian is active in the Maryland Wineries Association and is president of the Frederick Wine Trail. Elk Run has also partnered with a number of charity organizations to help give back to the community. Most recently they partnered with The Foxie G Foundation, a horse rescue farm where a portion of the proceeds from specifically labeled bottles went directly to the foundation.
When asked who influences Julian most in his work, he replied, “My late mother, Carol Wilson is the biggest influence in my life. She put so much of herself and her love into our family vineyard. I’m honored to carry on her legacy.” Julian is excited to grow the family business and wants to keep it thriving. He credits his parents’ work ethic in creating their dream as his reasoning behind wanting to follow in their footsteps. Julian is responsible for helping Elk Run operate a successful business due to the work ethic that has been passed along to him. “To run a successful vineyard, you need to wear a lot of different hats and be up for any challenge,” he said.
We are proud to honor Julian as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like him at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Julian on this well-deserved accolade!
As Julian wraps up our Top Young Ag Professional blogs, we encourage you to check out the others to learn a little bit about the heart and soul of young professionals within Frederick County’s agricultural community. The full list and links to their individual blogs can be found here.