Skip to main content

Sip and Savor Local Flavor

Oct 01, 2014 02:42PM, Published by Jason Huddle, Categories: In Print, Community



By: Kimberly Cassell

 

When Cabarrus County voters passed liquor-by-the-drink in 1994, they opened the door for local restaurants to add quality wines to their menu and nightspot patrons to enjoy a glass of wine while out.

 

Alan Bishop, vice-president of operations at Union Street Bistro in historic downtown Concord, says that wine accounts for about 70 percent of the restaurant’s total alcohol sales. Most of this is in-house since its catering customers often supply their own alcohol.

The Tuscan Bistro Bar was added in 2007 in the space adjacent to the restaurant where the wines requested by patrons are 60 to 65 percent white varieties and 30 to 35 percent reds.

“With the exception of a few local wines from Dennis Vineyards – we carry six to eight bins of Dennis Vineyards wines – our entire wine list is ‘non-retail,’ so you won’t find them in stores,” Bishop says. “Our house wine is Sycamore Lane and we carry a wide range of brands.”

Aiding Bishop and Executive Chef Skyler Bailes (front cover) in their selection of wines is Kelsey Brown, a local wine rep that has been providing Union Street Bistro with wine since July 2013. In that time, she has seen a rise in domestic products. While she views Napa Valley as the largest wine source in the U.S., it’s followed by Washington and Oregon, which are continuing to experience growth.

Still, North Carolina continues to make its mark. “In the past five years, we have seen an increase of small, locally-owned vineyards,” Brown says. “The most desired wine locally is Muscadine. Due to our climate, the Muscadine varietal is the most successfully produced.

“North Carolinians are very devoted to supporting local business. We are fortunate to have the environment to produce great wines in North Carolina. The most desired North Carolina brands would be Ray Len, Duplin and Dennis Vineyards.”

Dennis Vineyards, a true success story and located in Albemarle, is riding the tide of local customer loyalty and the popularity of Muscadine wines. Producing 100,000 bottles just a couple of years ago, Dennis bottled 270,000 in its most current vintage…at capacity for their winery.

Now in various supermarkets and shops all over the state, their harvests have expanded from Carlos, Noble and Ison Muscadines to purchasing Vinifera for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. They also produce various fruit and berry wines, and blends.

Rocky River Vineyards, located in Midland, also grows Muscadines and, like Dennis, produces dry varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot blend. A recent coup is their becoming an approved wine vendor for Harris Teeter – their wines can be found in those stores regionally. And if you’d like a wine tasting combined with art and music, Rocky River Vineyards’ Fall Festival is being held November 1.

Cougar Run Winery is the new kid on the block, approaching winemaking a little differently than Rocky River or Dennis. For one, Tom and Deb Filkins started out nearly two years ago predominantly selling winemaking supplies from their location on Church Street in Concord. A couple of months later, they introduced handcrafted wines to customers.

Another difference? “Sweet wines will keep us in business,” Deb Filkins says, “but we use no Muscadines.”

Instead, Tom Filkins – who serves as vintner – sweetens wines like Cianti or Muscato. He also creates three- and ten-blend red wines. “You choose your wines to make a meritage, but you have to pick the best wines before you blend them,” Filkins says. “Tom makes some impressive reds. He doesn’t make as much (as whites), but what he does make are things people don’t get. It’s odd to get a Barbera. They go out the door because they’re unusual.”

Besides Merlot, Vieux Chateau du Roi, Gewurztraminer and Riesling – with names like Predator, Blue Ridge Road Trip, Full Moon and Birch Bark – Cougar Run offers hard lemonade and limeade, and fruit wines – like a raspberry Zinfandel called The Cat’s Meow.

Small wineries like Cougar Run are categorized as boutique wineries. They produce smaller batches of wine, which, in turn, creates more intimate relationships with customers.

“The people working at a boutique winery tend to have a great deal of passion and pride concerning their wines and are intensely knowledgeable about them,” bountyhunterwine.com says. “They often view making wine as an art more than as a business.”

Business is definitely good because, in response to North Carolina’s love of the grape – whatever variety it might be – Visit N.C. says, “In celebration of the state’s growing wine and grape industry, Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed September as North Carolina Wine and Grape Month.

“ ‘The state’s wine and grape industry has grown significantly in recent years. It now employs more than 7,600 workers and has an economic impact of nearly $1.3 billion,’ N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says. ‘We look forward to seeing it grow even more in the coming years.’ ”

“In my field, I am learning every day. Every day there is a new brand, blend and trend,” Brown adds. That’s good news for the wine lovers of Cabarrus County.


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cabarrus Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline



Cabarrus Pat McCrory Dennis Vineyards Harris Teeter Cougar Run Winery Rocky River Vineyards Alan Bishop Cianti Deb Filkins Duplin Gewurztraminer Merlot Muscadine Wines Muscato NC Agriculture North Carolina Wine Ray Len Riesling Steve Troxler Tom Filkins Union Street Bistro Vieux Chateau du Roi


  • A VET TOGETHER

    09/19/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    • Join Cabarrus Veterans Coalition the first Tuesday of each month at Carm’s for free coffee and ...


  • A Vet Together

    09/19/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Join Cabarrus Veterans Coalition at Carm's Cafe every Tuesday morning for A Vet Together! Fre...


  • Breathe Easy: Sinus Seminar

    09/19/2017
    05:30PM — 07:00PM

    Dr. Edward Dickerson, Double Board Certified Facial Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon, will ...


  • Thriller Dance Lessons

    09/19/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Ever wanted to learn the King of Pop’s famous Thriller dance? Now’s your chance! Head over to the...


  • MEMORY CAFE´

    09/20/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    • Free event open to anyone experiencing dementia, their loved ones and/or their care partners. S...


  • CBC Trivia Night

    09/20/2017
    07:00PM

    Cabarrus Brewing Co’s weekly Trivia Night hosted by KanePunch Comedy’s Patrick & Joel is held eve...


  • Namaste and have a Beer

    09/20/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us at Twenty-Six Acres every Wednesday for Yoga with Jill Falconer Yoga! Classes are $10 and...


  • Car lovers rejoice! The world’s largest automotive extravaganza, the Pennzoil AutoFair presented ...


  • TODDLER STORY TIME

    09/21/2017
    10:30AM

    • Children from walking age to three years old with caregiver. Songs, stories, finger plays follo...


  • Kannapolis Farmers Market

    09/21/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Kannapolis Farmers Market will be held every Thursday, 4-7pm May through September, at the co...


  • Music on Means

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Music on Means is a free outdoor concert series in Downtown Concord featuring a variety of region...


  • Small Business Saturday

    09/23/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00PM

    Make a purchase in any of the participating businesses in Downtown Concord and enter a drawing to...


  • Car lovers rejoice! The world’s largest automotive extravaganza, the Pennzoil AutoFair presented ...


  • Piedmont Farmers Market 2017

    09/23/2017
    08:00AM

    • Open year-round. Fresh local produce, honey, free-range eggs, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef...


  • Beth Moore Simulcast

    09/23/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    <Fayetteville, NC>– <September 23, 2017>– LifeWay Christian Resources and Living Proof ministries...


  • Duke Dash 5K & Healthfest

    09/23/2017
    09:00AM

    This event at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis will be hosted by the Duke Clinica...


  • CON2

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    All ages - The worlds of Sci-Fi and Fantasy collide at the library! Come meet special guest of ho...


  • Cold-blooded fun Repticon

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This premiere reptile show shares these incredible creatures with the world. Enjoy exhibitions, e...


  • 11th Annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour

    09/23/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Weaver Street Market, the 2017 Eastern...


  • Town Theatre's The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    09/23/2017
    08:00PM — 10:15PM

    Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

Get Cabarrus Magazine Delivered to Your Door!

Subscribe today!

Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors