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Windsor Run Cellars Vineyards
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Windsor Run CellarsSummary: Windsor Run Cellars, in the Swan Creek AVA, is located a short distance off Interstate 77 and a half hour from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The winery has the largest capacity for wine production in the Swan Creek American Viticultural Area.

Windsor Run Cellars, owned by Chuck and Jamey Johnson, is only five minutes from their first vineyard and winery, Shadow Springs. Upon learning that a nearby winery was available, they purchased the established winery in December 2011. The owners renamed the original winery. The Windsor name is from the road name and Run brings to mind the “moonshine” era of running moonshine. The logo with a black pickup loaded with a still is in keeping with the name. Occasionally labels will feature the truck with a different load including a Christmas tree.

Chuck and Jamey immediately set to work to renovating and enlarging the tasting room. They wanted to rebrand their newest acquisition. They also felt that it was important to have the two wineries offer visitors different atmospheres, experiences and different wines. Now they have successfully created two distinct wineries and visitors visit both wineries while in the area.

Windsor Run CellarsVineyards and Winery

Current vineyards consist of 5.5 acres that include Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Traminette, and Pinot Gris. The owners have plans to plant more grapes including additional plantings of Traminette.

Windsor Run CellarsWhen they bought the winery and vineyard, Chuck and Jamey also had a still. They have put the still to good use crafting several wines fortified with brandy. The brandy is made from the grapes on the property. On the day of our visit the still was in operation. The still is in a gated area of the winery. The winery includes a production area and large tank and barrel room. A section of another room can be set up for large group tastings.

The Judge

The Judge is known throughout the community. He is retired now but lives in Texas and North Carolina. He owns Ferguson Vineyard, the oldest vineyard in the Swan Creek AVA.  The Ferguson Vineyard was established about 15 years ago and now has Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, Melody, Viognier and Chardonel. As friends of Chuck and Jamey, the Judge has his grapes go to Windsor Run for wine production and then the wine is sold to Chuck and Jamey and sold in the tasting room.

Windsor Run CellarsWines

The new tasting room is flooded with light from the windows that provide views of the vineyards and winery facility a short distance away. Several of the Judge's wines were tasted in the tasting room. Ferguson Vineyards 2011 Justice was a blend of Melody and Chardonel. The wine was a light straw color. The aroma offered notes of apple and flower blossoms. The taste had notes of apple and citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity. Ferguson Vineyards 2010 Viognier was a light straw color. The aroma had floral notes of roses. The taste was smooth with hints of roses and citrus. Ferguson Vineyards 2010 Judges’ Verdict was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine was a light ruby color with an aroma of cherry. The taste had cherry with a touch of pepper. The finish was crisp and spicy. 

Windsor Run CellarsWe also tasted several Windsor Run Cellars' wines. WRC Windsor Run Apple Mead was a honey apple wine fermented with spices. It reminded one of an autumn kitchen with apples, cloves and cinnamon slow cooking on the stove. The fruit yields to spices on the finish and long aftertaste of honey appeared after a few minutes. WRC Cherry Smash was a Merlot with a touch of Viognier and cherry juice added after fermentation. The aroma had cherry with a taste of tart cherry. The finish was very fruity.

WRC Ratafia was a Petite Manseng grape juice (non-fermented) blended with Traminette Brandy. The light yellow wine had 18 percent alcohol. The aroma had floral notes and reminds one of tequila. The taste had honey and honeysuckle. Honey notes were on the finish. WRC Hillbilly Holiday was a blend of apple mead and brandy. The wine was a dark yellow with a floral aroma. The taste was very smooth with apple, honey and spices with a kick. The finish was fruity with honey. There was no alcohol heat. WRC Midnight Run was a blend of Petite Verdot and Chambourcin.  It was fortified with brandy. The wine was a dark ruby with an aroma of dried fruit with a cherry taste. The finish offered some tannins with a cherry finish.

Windsor Run Cellars offers a cozy and warm experience in addition to a variety of wines to taste. When you are near Winston-Salem, North Carolina be sure to stop in and say “hi.”

Windsor Run Cellars
6531 Windsor Road
Hamptonville, North Carolina 27020

GPS: N36º 06.099’ W80º 51.749’

Article written in December 2012


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