In celebration of our 11th wedding anniversary, we knew we had to spend part of the day at a North Carolina Winery in honor of NC Wine Month. After visiting with Lilly from WoodMill Winery at the Toast of Kannapolis and getting hooked by the winery’s story, we decided to visit the winery itself in Vale, NC. We were impressed when we heard that they use all local fruit in their wines within a five-mile radius of the vineyard and no juice concentrate. Talk about supporting local agriculture!
Before reaching the property, we were greeted by deer, meandering through the treeline by the roadside. There was an instant peaceful feeling as we neared the vineyard. Approaching the gravel drive, we paused to let a truck out and the driver waved a friendly “thank you.” The driveway was flanked on both sides by rows upon rows of beautiful grapevines. On some of the farthest rows, people were carefully harvesting grapes in the cool, autumn-like temperature. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the harvest season, which typically reaches its peak at WoodMill from mid-to-late September.
Gorgeous views surround the winery, adding to the sense of peace and calm. Not only do the vineyards cover the front of the grounds, but they extend far behind the winery as well, with picnic tables and a quaint, little pond.
Everything about the tasting room was inviting, from the large porches to the walls lined with jellies, jams, and work by local artisans. We had a special surprise as staff had created beautiful place settings in preparation for a wedding. They graciously offered to provide us with a tasting of our choosing. We opted for the dry/semi-dry experience because we had already tried the sweet/semi-sweet at the Toast of Kannapolis. Boy were we in for a treat!
Typically, when we think Muscadine, we think sweet, sometimes syrupy when other fruits are involved. WoodMill’s dry and semi-dry wines, however, played with the grapes in a different way. They had a beautiful, sweet nose, but the palate was a much different experience with subtle, lingering flavors, which weren’t overtly sweet.
- Dry Golden Scuppernong – dry at the top, but easy on the palate
- Carolina Jubilee (dry) – notes of blueberry, oaky
- Semi-Sweet Golden Scuppernong – clean, easy sipping
Holiday Must Try:
- Mon Amor (semi-sweet and sweet)
- American Jubilee (semi-sweet and sweet)
Exploring the vineyard is always a must for us when visiting a winery with vines on the grounds. We picnicked after our tasting, enjoying the scenery, and walked the grounds to take in all that we possibly could. According to WoodMill’s website:
WoodMill Winery is approximately 1,100 feet above sea level and located on a plateau about 300 feet above and to the west of the Piedmont region in North Carolina. The vineyard has a gradual northeastern slope, constant air movement, and good soil drainage. WoodMill Vineyard started as a ½ acre planting of approximately 100 vines in the spring of 2001 and has constantly grown year-by-year to now consist of 14 acres and approximately 3,500 vines.
We were fortunate to meet and spend time with Larry Cagle Jr., owner of WoodMill. The story behind the creation of WoodMill is incredible. Larry’s father, Larry Cagle Sr., was suffering from deteriorating heart health in addition to debilitating arthritis, which qualified him for disability at the young age of 35. Being a former research engineer in the nuclear power industry, Larry Jr. dove into research to try to find relief for his father. After receiving advice from a doctor and reading similar research, Larry Jr. and Larry Sr. decided to try wine. One study explained that a key ingredient found in wine—Resveratrol—helps to block the unstable molecules or free radicals in the body, which can lead to “heart disease, stroke, signs of aging, certain types of cancers and macular degeneration of the eye.” Larry Sr. went from being unable to complete simple, everyday tasks without pain to pruning rows of vineyards and fishing from the family pond.
Please take the time to read more about the health benefits of Resveratrol on WoodMill Winery’s website. Muscadines are known to produce high levels of the antioxidant and are referred to as nature’s healthiest grape.
Larry didn’t just stop at sharing his story with us. He invited us to taste grapes directly from his vines as well. And try them we did, from several vines. Being near the peak of harvest season, the grapes were ripe with bold colors. While tasting Ison and Scuppernongs, we learned more about the grapes, their skins, their seeds, and their health benefits.
Our experience at WoodMill was relaxing, informative, and incredibly enjoyable. It’s obvious that Larry has a caring heart, which was evident in everything he shared with us and how involved he is with the winery and passing along the health information he’s found with the public. Getting to preview a wedding setup while celebrating our 11th anniversary was a lovely treat as well.
Aside from an NC winery that has retail locations in both NC and SC, WoodMill Winery is one of the top sellers of Muscadine wine in North Carolina. We were thrilled to find a winery that runs the gamut of Muscadine wines with varietals from sweet to dry, meeting the whims of all types of wine drinkers.
- Tuesday–Friday: 12:00 pm–6:00 pm
- Saturday: 10:00 am–6:00 pm
- Sunday: 1:00 pm–6:00 pm
- Christmas Show – December 2, 2017
- Wine and Chocolate Month – February
WoodMill Winery is a winery that you won’t want to miss. If you see Larry Jr., please tell him we sent you.
Until our next glass….
Go local. Drink Carolinas! 🍷