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Cabarrus Magazine

Delicious Handcrafted Wine at Cougar Run Winery

May 27, 2016 03:48PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Cougar Run Winery Interior. Photo courtesy of their Facebook Page.

Cougar Run Winery is a local spot dedicated to a "dream of a less hectic way of life" that has been open since 2012. They offer delicious handcrafted wine made in small batches. 

We were lucky enough to get a chance to hear owner Deb's story and mission for the winery. 

Tell us a little about the winery, when and how and by whom was it started?

D: Our winery was started in our heads way before it became a reality. We'd gone to a wine festival in Blowing Rock and absolutely loved the wines from Thistle Meadow Winery. We were building a cabin in Leatherwood at the time and realized that the winery wasn't that far from there, so we went. 

The owner, Tom Burgess, was so engaging and gracious and told us how he got started as a winery. I think that kind of sparked something in us and pretty soon we were making wine too. Just for us, of course. And then we were sharing it with friends. And then there were about 1,200 bottles in the basement. We would joke about opening our own winery and then, gradually, it didn't seem like such a crazy idea. We knew we could make wine, and we thought it was pretty good, but friends won't always give you brutal honesty, especially when they are getting free wine! So we did a little "beta testing" as they say and the results were favorable. We looked into what it would truly take to open a winery and decided to go for it. (We both believe that life is an adventure and you should LIVE it.) We leaned heavily on our friend, Tom Burgess, for advice and guidance, and he readily gave it. 

After a LOT of hard work and planning, we opened Cougar Run Winery at the very end of 2012.

What are your goals for the winery and where do you see it heading?

D: Our goals for the winery are to make some great wines and to have a place where people can come, feel welcomed, relax, and enjoy our wines with us. We continue to move forward in both goals. 

We currently have 2 restaurants serving our wines, and we have also just expanded our physical space in order to provide event space for meetings, parties, and winery events.

What's something people usually assume about the winery? What do people usually assume that's incorrect?

D: Most people assume that we have a vineyard, but we don't. We let other people grow the grapes and we just make the wine.

What is your personal favorite aspect of the group and your mission?

D: Personally, my favorite part of our group is that we are all friends. We all work hard together and sometimes we even play together. We all strive to make the winery the kind of place that people want to come to, again and again. My favorite part of owning a winery is meeting some really great people. We've made a lot of new friends!

What's the funniest, strangest, most unusual thing people have asked you?

D: I think the funniest question I've had was "did I carry Dennis Vineyards wines?" I am sure they didn't understand that we were a winery, not a wine store, but it struck me as funny at the time.

Are there any recent or upcoming changes that people should know about?

D: The biggest change we've made is that we have just completed our expansion to include an event space complete with a catering kitchen (for the caterers to use to prep the food for the events. There is no cooking going on, just prepping). 

We have also revitalized the courtyard with a multitude of new plantings, including stacked planters and Japanese maples. The courtyard is now re-opened for events such as parties and wedding receptions. We are hoping to have it staged soon for photography and advertising.

Anything else we should know about you, the winery & activities, etc.?

D: With the addition of the new space and the courtyard, we will be having our own events, too. Look for things like "Mystery Dinner Theater" nights and winery dinners to introduce new wines or just celebrate a particular type of wine. 

We have a few other surprises in the works as well, just follow us on Facebook or on our website to see what we are up to. We continue to enjoy sponsoring the Cabarrus County Food Truck Friday nights, too. It's like a neighborhood block party every Friday night! We love that it is so family friendly and always enjoy seeing people playing cornhole, or coming in with their dogs (yes, we are dog friendly as long as the owners are well behaved!).

For more information about Cougar Run Winery, head to their website.

363 Church St. N
Concord , NC 28025

(704) 788-2746

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