Now that the shades of the vineyards have passed from green to brown to yellow, we focus our attention on the cellar racking the young wines off their lees (spent yeast cells from fermentation long since finished). Throw in a bit of topping off the 2018 AllIn and the quiet time of pruning and replacing old vines is just around the corner. One topic came up at a recent tasting and the question was posed thusly: What’s a winemaker like you doing in a state like this? Well, the trip here ended up being the great surprise of a year spent abroad and in Texas working with a bunch of impassioned strangers looking for some new creative directions for their wines, when I received a letter from Jonathan and Vickie expressing those same feelings. Vickie and Jonathan were guests at the winery in Northern Virginia where my family called home for five years, they were contacted by the owner of the said winery and referred to me in the event they needed some help getting the Mountain Brook program off the ground. A couple of visits later and after a few drives in the beautiful countryside, we decided to partner up and take Mountain Brook as far as it is capable of going. The winery “family” now includes several newcomers in the cellar and on the hospitality staff that are pushing this project in direction of super-premium and producing hordes of loyal followers along the way.
And that is how I landed in North Carolina.
Thinking back, that story would normally encompass many years of travel and work, but we have accomplished much in the way of facility and wine program improvement in the space of a mere six months. Six months! The pace has not slowed for the Redgrave’s or me, which is why they are currently on vacation tucked away for a week with the much loved Cooper (the winery dog). Upon their return, we get right into the holiday season with our Nov. 22, food and wine pairing that will showcase the new red and white releases along with a couple wines from the 2019 vintage. After that a festival on December 8, to christen the new winery building where attendees can enjoy the luxury of shopping, eating, and drinking wine all in one space. As well, all will be welcomed to stroll in the newly pruned vineyard for a look-see and ask any questions that might arise.
So that is what a winemaker like me is doing in a place like this. Just enjoying every Carolina day, I wake up to and all the critters that continue to cross my path. Happy holiday season to ya’ll and make sure to come by for a bottle of wine and some memories in the coming weeks.