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Local vineyard pulling out all stops

Mountain Brook Vineyards – Virtual Farm Tour

Larry McDermott

 

(Editor’s note: The annual Rutherford and Polk counties’ farm tour is being staged online this year. Farms can be visited weekly at facebook.com/ncfoothillsfarmtour/)

Mountain Brook Vineyards in Tryon is a farm with a crystal clear mission of proving that the Carolinas have the soil, weather and expertise to produce world-class wine.

Victoria and Jonathan Redgrave bought the farm in 2002 when it was still a toddler in vineyard years and launched what is clearly one of the most ambitious agricultural undertakings in Western North Carolina, transforming it from a yawner to a magnet for those wanting to relax with a glass of local wine and enjoy the natural beauty only the mountains and sunsets can create.

Despite a remarkable transition that turned an unremarkable mountaintop into a setting worthy of movie scenes, their work is far from done.

“If you visit us this fall, you will see that we have recently resculpted 20 acres of the property to accommodate new grape vines that will be planted in the spring, as well as a new retention pond,” Jonathan said. “We have also started work on plans for additional indoor tasting room space.”

With a vision to set it apart from other vineyards in Western North Carolina, Vickie Redgrave has developed a comfortable and relaxing setting outdoors that exudes a meditational ambiance as well as a memorable wedding venue. She recently finished an outdoor event celebration lawn and arbor, dubbed Victoria Meadows.

To make the wine, the Redgraves lured winemaker Tim Crowe last year. Crowe has 20 years of experience working in the vineyards and wineries in America’s wine Mecca—Napa Valley and Sonoma in California. He also has a splash of experience in Virginia, Germany, New Zealand and Texas.

Winemaking today is much more than grape vines on a hillside. It has become a wine-based experience. People who live here, as well as visitors to the area, want to see and hear how it’s made. They want to sit around a large fire pit with friends and family, sipping recent wine releases such as Mountain Brook’s Cabernet Sauvignon red blend named “All In.” Or, relaxing with a glass of wine while soaking up the Blue Ridge Mountains and listening to live music.

Like most farms, this one involves an enormous amount of labor behind the scenes. It’s not all easy, romance-filled work.

“Putting this together, like anything that is worthwhile, takes hard work, grit and determination,” said Jonathan, who notes a 40 percent increase in guests so far this year.

Blend with that an incredible amount of time, insight and dedication to excellence, not to mention capital investment, and you have yet another reason for the thousands who have already visited to return with their family and friends to see, feel and taste a farm experience that rivals Napa Valley.