By my hand, from Harvest to Bottle

This is the first in a series about our wineries.

Vineyards At Southpoint recently opened in Durham, in Chatham County, another corner of our vast 707 square mile area. A day in the life of a winery owner might sound dreamy—pouring wine, walking along the acres of vines, meeting fascinating people, and talking about the qualities of wine. Owning a boutique winery is actually a great deal of hard work. Ask any of the three winery owners in our area. A small business owner has many stories to tell about the variety of ongoing tasks before and after opening for business, from financing to building to application of permits to hiring staff and every detail in between.

“By my hand, from Harvest to Bottle,” the award-winning winery’s motto, is exemplified in all the details. Owner, Guy Loeffler, knows firsthand about the work necessary to run a winery and he manages to do the bottling, harvesting, and all the other tasks that essentially add farmer to his list of titles. Guests look forward to the conversations with him about wines and the vineyards, a more personal experience when you’re in an intimate setting such as the ones you’ll find in many North Carolina wineries. You’re experience is enhanced when you have the opportunity to speak with the winery owner who is also the wine maker. Learn about how the business began, the inspiration behind the winery and the wines, and about other endeavors. Vineyards At Southpoint offers a variety of wines that include Viognier, Vidal Mellow, Chambourcin, Prestige, and more.

Sister winery Horizon Cellars in Siler City has been open for almost a decade; it also offers a place to get away, relax, and enjoy good wines. The wraparound porch overlooks acres of wines. Guy Loeffler’s wines now include a new line, Good Riddance!, a fine sparkling celebratory wine (alcohol-free), with a twist. These parody/satire labeled bottles of expression are meant to be opened in celebration of the demise of your least favorite. So, wait patiently for your parody to go away in the manner you wish, and then drink in celebration with friends, family, or co-workers. Composed entirely of French Colombard, a relative of the noble Chenin Blanc grape, each bottle of Good Riddance! is crafted by gently crushing the grapes to allow the free-run juice pool into stainless steel tanks where it is slightly sweetened and naturally carbonated.

Winter is for winery guests who love the white landscape after a good snow or simply staying warm indoors with a good bottle of wine. It’s also a place to pick up holiday gifts and a wine tasting makes a great break in between the shopping chaos. Spring and summer are seasons to bring a picnic basket to accompany a wine tasting and check out the pond, deck, tasting room and vineyards. Fall colors and crisp air are a draw for guests who enjoy watching the leaves gently falling off the trees. Year-round, the winery will be a place for tasting good wine, celebrating occasions with private dinners in the barrel room, sitting on the deck overlooking the water, and simply getting away from the daily routine.

Doyle and Kathryn’s Vineyards sit on either side of the winery, named for the landowner’s children. And, if you like wine and vineyards, offer to volunteer; winery owners love help with all aspects of working on their grape farms. You’ll see the vines, the first views as you turn off NC Hwy 751 onto the drive leading to the tasting room, just around the bend.

Note: Visit December 16, 17, 18, 22, or 23 for a wine special three-pack savings, buy three and receive a 20% discount. Meet Guy, the vintner/vigneron, on either December 24 or 25 from noon to 4pm, and maybe have a glass or two with him.