you’ve just turned 40. Tired of the 9 to 5, you spend your days dreaming of a simpler life - one strangely reminiscent of A Walk in the Clouds. Unlike the characters in your fantasy, your family does not in-fact own a vineyard in Napa. But you live in North Carolina where land is cheap and plentiful, so you’ve set your sights on the Yadkin Valley. You’ve decided to plant your vineyard next spring, so you take a trip along the Swan Creek Wine Trail to seek advice from your future colleagues.
Drive out to Shadow Springs Vineyard early in the morning - you need to catch Chuck and Jamey before they get too busy helping customers. Marvel at the natural beauty around you: the wide open spaces, roaming farm animals, and faint smell of manure. You can feel the energy radiating from the vineyard. Little do you know, your romantic vision is about to be shattered!
After spending some quality time with the Johnsons, tasting wine and sharing stories, you’ve convinced Chuck to pull back the curtain. He takes you over to Windsor Run to show you the realities of running a winery. It’s a mess! Hoses everywhere, pallets of glass bottles in the middle of the floor, countless wine samples in the lab waiting to be analyzed. This seems like more work than you expected…
Say goodbye to Chuck and head over to the Shiloh General Store for a sandwich. The Amish people running the store seem to lead pretty simple lives, but after your winery experience you can’t help but think there may be more than meets the eye. You ponder these thoughts in a nice rocking chair out on the porch.
Motor down the road to Laurel Grey Vineyards where you meet Kim and Benny, longtime Hamptonville residents who know a thing or two about farming in the Yadkin Valley. You wouldn’t think it from their easy drinking reds, but growing grapes is tough business. After planting, there’s shoot positioning, leaf pulling, fruit dropping, hedging, bird netting, spraying, harvesting, pruning, and more.
And you thought mother nature did everything…
Wind down your day with the hilltop views of Dobbins Creek Vineyards. You’re excited to taste Charles’ wines and have convinced yourself that if you work really hard, you can overcome the hurdles of growing and producing premium wines. But then Charles lets you in on the big secret - making wine is the easy part, it’s getting people to visit your tasting room that’s the real challenge. You realize that he’s probably right, a few months ago even YOU didn’t know about the North Carolina wine industry.
Maybe you should just buy a Porsche instead.