The Tourism Council of Frederick County revealed that in 2017, visitors surpassed the amount of spending in a single year to more than $400 million.

“[Spending was] $410.1 million spent by visitors who traveled at least 50 miles this past year to visit Frederick county,” explained executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, John Fieseler.

The Council says that a main attraction to the area is Frederick’s deep roots in history including the Civil War.

But the food and beverage industry is leading in revenue with over $100 million in sales.

“Increasingly in recent years, it’s been our wineries, breweries, and distilleries. We have a greater concentration of them here than really anywhere else in the state,” Fieseler said.

Eric Aellen, the manager of the county’s oldest wineries, Linganore Winecellars, was recognized as the Tourism Ambassador of the Year at the council’s annual meeting Tuesday.

He has seen first-hand how the industry has grown to include more than 10 wineries.

“We’re a long way away from being considered Napa Valley but it’s a start. A lot of people are flocking to this county because our soils are so great for growing grapes and we make really high quality wines,” explained vineyard manager, Eric Aellen.

The 230-acre vineyard devotes about 70 of those acres to growing grape vines. Back in the early years, the winery produced about 6,000 bottles of wine a year. Now, they’re up to 500,000 bottles.

“What wineries do in Frederick County, they bring a lot of tourism into the county. We see that with the demographics that keeps on coming into the winery and how far they travel to come is amazing,” Aellen said.

Officials says tourism spending grew by four percent, the largest rate in the past four years.