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Laurel Gray Vineyards
by
K.L. Sullivan

Summary: Laurel Gray Vineyards is a delightful winery to visit. Inside a renovated milking parlor built in the 1930’s, there is a welcoming feeling. In testament of the delicious wines, many of the numerous visitors at the time of our visit were leaving with bottles of wine. As Kim Myers said, “Our mission is not to be the biggest but to be the best.” They sell 100 percent of the Laurel Gray wines from the winery.

Laurel GrayLaurel Gray Vineyards is a family owned winery and vineyard located in both Yadkin Valley and the new Swan Creek AVAs. Benny and Kim Myers started planting the vineyards in 2001 after researching ways to keep the family farm property in the family. Today the vineyards and winery occupy 15 of 85 acres of a working farm. The name Laurel Gray is a combination of the middle names of their children. Kim explained that the term “milking parlor” is a southern term for a small family dairy barn. She related an anecdote about the renovation. The ceiling needed to be raised and during the process a trap door opened releasing a cascade of beer cans. They surmised that while the milking was being done a can of beer was being enjoyed and then the empty cans were tossed above.

Laurel GrayThe renovated tasting room has a large patio across the front and on the side, with gardens surrounding it. Between the back of the tasting room and a small red barn, a small idyllic garden adds ambience. Brides often ask to have their photos taken here. The garden around the tasting room represents a Charleston garden. Farther out from the patio are two circular gardens filled with roses.

A discerning view of the tasting room leaves no doubt that the layout and decorating has been accomplished by a talented individual. Kim is an artist who has created each of the labels for the wines. Displayed throughout the tasting room are her original works of art.

 

Laurel GrayLocated at an elevation of 1100 feet, vineyard grapes include Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Pinot Gris. The philosophy in the vineyard is that if you take care of your vines you will minimize your spraying. Netting applied to several rows is an attempt to protect the grapes from predatory birds.

Laurel GrayIn 2007, a large winery building was added. The winery has a capacity of 10,000 cases. Today four vineyards have their own wines “custom” crushed at the Laurel Gray winery.

Laurel GrayWe tasted several wines including the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2006 that was aged in French oak for one year. The aroma offered butter, vanilla and apples with a taste of apple. The finish was crisp and long. Sultry 2006, a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 18 months in oak barrels had an aroma of pepper and a taste of blackberries and pepper. The finish was crisp and long. Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 was aged in barrels for 18 months. The aroma was of black fruit and the taste was of black cherries. The finish was crisp with soft tannins and a long finish. The Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 was aged for two years in barrels. The aroma was of blackberries and the taste offered blackberries with a velvety taste. The finish was balanced. Scarlet Mountain 2007 was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and a splash of Chardonnay. The result was an aroma and taste of cherries and the finish had a bit of sweetness.

Laurel GrayThe local community is supportive of the winery. They see the amount of work that is involved in the vineyard and relate to an activity that is agriculturally related. Kim sees it as “master gardening on a large scale.”

When you plan your visit, set aside enough time to just sit on the patio with a glass of Laurel Gray wine and enjoy the relaxing Southern atmosphere.

 

 

 

Laurel Gray Vineyards
5726 Old Hwy 421,
Hamptonville, North Carolina

GPS N 36° 13.371' W 80° 83.917'

 


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