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Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery
by
Kathy Sullivan

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and WinerySummary: Sanders Ridge Vineyard & Winery is a family owned and operated winery. The winery is set in a wooded area with a nearby pond. In addition to its traditional wines, the winery has a restaurant, hiking trails and a Zip Line. It is important for the Sanders family that visitors experience a warm and friendly atmosphere.

In the tasting room at Sanders Ridge we met Jennifer Hiatt whose great, great, great grandfather, Sanders Shore purchased the property in 1867. Neil Shore, Jennifer’s father, is the owner. Today Jennifer is the 6th generation living on the land.
Neil Shore built the facility for the winery, tasting room and restaurant. The interior wood is from the farm. Neil wanted the winery to have a rustic log cabin feel and a new building that showcased the old wood. Outside he added a pond so visitors could enjoy the water, woods and vineyard. The winery opened in 2009.

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and WineryOver the years the property has had several uses including dairy, beef cattle, corn and soybeans. Twelve years ago, they began planting a vineyard. Today the land has 15 acres of grapes. Varieties include Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat Canelli, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Chambourcin, Carlos and Noble. During a late November visit, some grape leaves fell while other still clung to the vines.

Jennifer noted that Wake Forest research showed that the Carlos variety of Muscadine grapes has the highest amount of health attributes of the Muscadine family. Jennifer said, “It’s fun to pour the wine and see what memories it brings.”

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and WineryWines

The winery logo and bottle labels use a tractor theme, as tractors are central to the farm. Over the years Neil Shore has participated in numerous tractor pulls.

Viognier 2011 was aged in stainless steel for one year. The light yellow wine had an aroma of tropical fruits. The taste was of yellow stone fruit and pineapple. The fruity finish had an aftertaste of pineapple.

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 was a dark ruby color. The aroma was of dark fruit and the taste had blackberry notes. The finish was crisp with tannins and a hint of oak. Big Woods 2010 was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chambourcin. The wine was a light ruby color. The aroma was of tobacco and dark fruit. The taste had blackberry notes. The wine finish had tannins with fruit, tobacco and leather hints. Merlot Barrel Select 2009 was a ruby color. The aroma offered notes of dark fruit like currants and the forest floor. The taste had fruit notes including raspberries. Tannins and dark fruit with hints of coffee were on the finish. Round Hill 2010 produced with Chambourcin was a purple-red color. The aroma was of blackberries and the taste was smooth and fruity. Fruit notes lingered on the finish. Sweet Kate was named after Jennifer’s grandmother. This wine had 5 percent residual sugar. The taste was sweet and fruity.

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and WineryThe Restaurant

The onsite restaurant is an important part of the winery tasting room. The cuisine is New Southern cooking. Chef Starr Johnson uses locally grown organic foods and in season products. As we talked with Jennifer she noted that the chef does everything from ordering and preparing dishes as well as working to pair the wines with the food. Many of the visitors who enjoy the restaurant are from out of town;

however, Thursday is local night with Family style dinners.

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and WineryActivities at Sanders Ridge

A wide variety of activities are available to visitors. Call ahead for times and more information. For the young at heart consider signing up for the Big Woods Zip Line. Each month nature and birding walks are available.
Planned events to look for include:
     • Cooking classes
     • Thursday Family Style Supper and Music
     • Farm Workshops
     • Vine Pruning and Sculpture
     • Wine and Food Pairings
     • Holiday Special Events

A visit to Sanders Ridge involves much more than tasting wine. With a restaurant, hiking trails, pond and zip line it provides a wonderful opportunity to spend a day in the country.

Sanders Ridge Vineyards and Winery
3200 Round Hill Rd

Boonville, North Carolina 27011

GPS: N36º 11.942’ W80º 40.317’

Article written in December 2012


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