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Horizon Cellars
K.L. Sullivan

Summary: Guy and Nicole Loeffler, owners of Horizon Cellars, have put a tremendous amount of energy and time into creating Horizon Cellars. The modern wine tasting building and deck make pleasant areas to taste wines. The tasting room is bright and cheerful with gifts to browse, small tables to sit at and a view to enjoy while drinking a glass of wine.

Horizon CellarsTravel across a wooden bridge over a train track and follow a gravel road up a hill and at the top you will find a modern winery. Nearby are several acres of grapes and the surrounding area is picturesque with trees surrounding the vineyards in the distance. Upon entering the tasting room, one will see numerous specially chosen gifts and artists creations. The tasting bar is rectangular and our tasting consultant, Tami Akins, was friendly and enthusiastic about wine and Horizon Cellars.

Before beginning the winery, Guy worked in technology for the corporate world. After many years, he decided he wanted a different kind of lifestyle. After researching the world of wine, he and his wife decided he should start a winery. When he first began looking into the idea of a winery, there were only 22 wineries in North Carolina and today there are about 68 wineries. As he searched for information about winemaking, he wrote to many wineries and asked for information. Guy was surprised and pleased that so many wineries responded to his questions. After working in the competitive corporate world, these responses influenced him even more to begin winemaking.

tasting room at Horizon Cellarstasting room at Horizon CellarsGuy purchased the property in 2003 and planted Chambourcin, Viognier and Cabernet Franc.  The tasting room opened in January 2005 with wine he made at Pearmund Cellars. In 2007 case production is about 1000 cases. Today he purchases grapes mainly from other North Carolina growers. He emphasizes to his growers to work towards "sustainability in the vineyards." His portfolio of wines tends to be the more traditional but he is introducing fruit wines including apple, blackberry, raspberry, plum and an elderberry port style.has plans to introduce two fruit wines including an apple wine. Currently he is working with a college student making a Mead, or honey wine.

Guy believes in using new technology knowledge to produce better wines. As he writes, "'new world technology' is to use all of the modern knowledge that education and science have given to us... along with the newer tools to help us make better wines... like cultured yeast - from various areas of the world - for specific types of wines that we produce here at Horizon... and also like the knowledge of how grapes ripen and decay... the all important enzymes that have been identified that help break the skins down - releasing color - that knowledge helps us make better wines."

North Carolina wines

At one end of the tasting bar, is a section set aside to showcase the wines made from North Carolina. This illustrates the immense growth that North Carolina has made towards establishing the state as a great place to grow wine grapes and establish wineries. At one time North Carolina led the nation in wine production.

We enjoyed tasting several wines, while Tami answered our questions. The Chardonnay 2005 has grass on the nose with a green apple taste. It is crisp with a bit of butter and oak on the finish. Viognier 2006 is a light yellow with a floral and pineapple nose. The taste is of pineapple. The Late Harvest Viognier 2005 is light yellow, sweet with a citrus and melon taste. You may like this wine for dessert. The Cabernet Franc 2005 is dark red with a red fruit taste and cherry aftertaste with tannins on the aftertaste. Cabernet Sauvignon has black fruit berries on the nose and a fruit taste with an aftertaste of fruit, there is a balance of fruit, acid and tannins. Petit Verdot 2005 is dark purple. It is grassy on the first nose with a black fruit on the second nose. It has a black fruit taste. The aftertaste is of fruit and there is a balance between the fruit, acid and tannins.

wine at Horizon Cellars

The original wine label for Horizon has been under discussion. Guy decided to change the design to a more traditional label. However, visitors can purchase the Chardonnay with one of five different wine labels designed from paintings by a local artist. Guy prints his labels at the winery.

Events are available at Horizon Cellars including Open Houses and receptions for artists who display their art. Different artists display their art each month. Browse the tasting room and you will find artists items for sale including painted wine glasses and paintings. Other gifts are also available. Perhaps this is where you will find that special gift.


GPS N 35° 40.839'  W 079° 26.683'


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