Sunday, May 6, 2012

Winery Tour: Hinnant Family Vineyards - Pine Level, NC

Way back over Spring Break, I took a day and drove about an hour up the road and visited Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level, NC.  My favorite wines are made from Muscadine grapes.  Drinking muscadine wine takes me back to summers at my Grandma's house eating grapes right off the vine.  I always look forward to muscadine season!

I'm not sure when I first learned about Hinnant Vineayards.  I think that it was by chance one day in the grocery store.  I remember the first wine of their's that I had was their Muscadine Blush.  It is so good!  Every year, Greenville has a Holiday Show with various vendors set up, and for the past 3 years, my favorite booth has been Hinnant's!  I go and stock up on my wine for the year.  When I made my 27 Before 27 list, and included visiting a vineyard, I knew that Hinnant would be my first choice.

I arrived around 2pm, and there a few people in the tasting room.  I asked to take a tour (which is free, by the way) and Wes gave me my own personal tour.  He is so knowledgeable about the grapes, the wines, and  the whole wine making process.  I learned a lot on the tour!  There are other vineyards, especially NC Vineyards that focus on muscadine and scuppernong grapes, but I've always preferred Hinnant wines.  I think (and I learned this on the tour) that it is because of the way that they sweeten the wine.  Hinnant uses regular sugar, and some other vineyards use a syrup.

After my own personal tour, I went back to the tasting room, where I sampled some of the wines.  They have 2 options.  You can taste 3 for free, or 8 for $5, and with the second option, you get to keep the tasting glass. Of course, I went with #2! Some of the wines that I tried were made with other grapes, and some with fruits.  I ended up purchasing a blackberry wine (made with local blackberries) and a Sweet Blanc du Bois.  I had plenty of muscadine wines left at home. McCall did the pouring, and she was super sweet.  I told her that I would be writing about my visit, and asked if I could take pictures and she told me to take all I wanted.  I will definitely be going back to the vineyard... hopefully sometime in the summer, when the vines are full! 

Entrance to the Tasting Room

Vines as far as you can see... This was in march, so they were bare. Hinnant Family Vineyards is the oldest and largest muscadine vineyard in North Carolina.  They have close to 80 acres of grapes.  Not only do they grow muscadines, but they have other varieties that they use in other wines. 

The machine that juices the grapes, separates out the seeds and hulls, which are used in other muscadine products.  Turns out that they grapes have a lot of antioxidants that people take in pill form. It was also interesting that no part of the vine goes unused.  After pruning, the vines are used for grapevine wreaths.  The seeds and hulls that aren't used in other products are used for composting and fertilizing the vines. 

The tank room.  Hinnant has the capacity to bottle up to 40,000 cases of wine.  As of 2010, they were producing 25,000 cases.  You can't see it in this picture, well, but they have a tank that is 12,000 gallons! 

Since the vineyard has been growing, the original tank room, was converted into an event space.  It is beautiful in there.  They host tons of weddings and other special events, and are quickly becoming one of the  premier wedding locations in NC.  How beautiful would a wedding at the vineyard be! 

Look at all of those awards! Their wines are awesome... and I'm not the only one that thinks so! 

A few more pictures from the tasting room. 

They sell these cute "Hinnant to Win It Guide to Success" t-shirts for their wines.  I have a couple of them.  My favorite is the purple one that says sometimes you  just gotta stop and chug the wildflowers... its for their Carolina Wildflower wine that is sweetened with honey. 

I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of information about Hinnant Vineyards.  If you're ever traveling through NC on I-95, they are right off the interstate, and it will be well worth the stop.  You can purchase their wines online or in North Carolina stores, and some surrounding states as well.  

Now that I'm finally getting around to blogging about my visit (while drinking a glass of Tarheel Red) I'm thinking that it might be time to go back soon!  You can also like them on Facbeook to learn about events that are coming up!

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