April 23, 2015 by Susan Murray
It’s a sign that winter is truly over when James and I get in the car and head out of Asheville on an excursion into the countryside. As we turned off Patton Avenue onto Old Leicester Highway I thought that it had been too long since I had enjoyed a drive through the rolling hills and past the deep green pastures and fields of the farms around us. One of the great pleasures of living in Asheville is how close the countryside is to our Bed and Breakfast and how easily one can access them.
This time James and I were driving out to visit Addison Farms Vineyard in Leicester near Big Sandy Mush Valley. The Valley is unique since residents have joined together to save more than 6,000 acres from developers, leaving the farms and fields suspended in time as richly beautiful as ever.
We had been invited by the owners to a tour of the vineyard and a wine tasting. Although spring was just beginning it was easy to see how beautiful the vineyard would be in summer and autumn. The farm is situated on top of a hill with 360 degree views of mountains, farms, fields and, of course, grape vines. There is a brand new tasting room and events space which has a large terrace overlooking the vines and the mountains in the distance. With three daughters I quickly pegged it as a stunning site for a wedding. (Not that that is happening any time soon so far as I know).
We were met by Jeff, one of the owners, and Terri, who is his Events and Community Outreach Coordinator. As we strolled past the vines which were just beginning to show signs of life, Jeff explained that they planned to add another 500 plants this spring and were waiting for a window of good weather to do so. After a warm start, this has been a relatively cold and wet spring. When you live
where the grapes are being grown you can remember the weather from past years and get a sense of how each year’s wine will be affected. We learned this first hand when we lived in France and it was fun to be reminded of how the summers we enjoy affect the wines.
We entered the “cave” where the grapes are pressed and the wine is aged in oak barrels. Here we learned that oak trees from different countries impart different flavors to the wines. Aged French Barrels are the best but very expensive. So for the most part, Addison Farms is using European Oak barrels which are new. American Oak is good once it is aged but adds too much resin to the wine when new. The vineyard covers about ten acres and they produce both red and white wines. Like many vineyards, when they don’t have a big enough harvest they may buy grapes from another vineyard. Addison Farms tries to purchase exclusively North Carolina grapes when they can.
Moving on to the Tasting Room, we tried a range of wines. Now I have to be honest with you, I have had some terrible North Carolina wines! But these, I am happy to say, were pretty good. They are young and and are pleasant drinking wines now but there is a lot of potential for future wines to be truly great.
Addison Farms is open Friday and Saturday from Noon-5PM and Sundays from 1-5PM. They have a number of special events; you can get details on their website. It takes about half an hour to drive there and the drive is half the fun. Overall, we recommend it as a great way to see some of the beauty that is Western North Carolina!
Posted in Carolina Bed and Breakfast, Outside Asheville, Things to Do, Wine and Food | Tagged Addison Farms Vineyard, Big Sandy Mush, North Carolina Wines | Leave a comment