Hinnant Family Vineyard and Winery


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    hinnant_ winery

    Just like good wines, Hinnant Family Vineyards and Winery is well aged. Daphne Evans, Hinnant's Wine Club Director, offered us a tasting while she told us the history of the vineyard and winery.

    server pouring wine at Hinnant Winery

    Its story began in 1971 when Hinnant siblings, Jacqueline, Freddie, Douglas, and Willard decided to plant a vineyard in Johnston County. Tobacco had been the main crop in the area and it was fast becoming unprofitable. Those first batches of grapes were sold to markets, the public and later other wineries.

    Things took a different turn in 2003. Williard and his son, Bob, decided to start producing their own wine and the vineyard now became Hinnant Family Vineyards & Winery. They bought out their siblings eventually. After Williard passed away in 2013, Bob expanded farther. Today, he has about 100 acres of grapes and sells some to other local wineries. The Hinnant Family Vineyards & Winery is the oldest and largest commercial Muscadine vineyard in the state of North Carolina.  Some vines are 45 to 46 years old.

    botteling section at Hinnant Winery

    Bob is totally involved in both the growing and the wine processing. Everything is done onsite from picking to crushing, juicing, and bottling on to actual wine making. Everything is either grown on site or locally.

    scuppernong at Hinnant Winery

    The interesting thing about Muscadine grapes is that they only grow in the southeastern states. The Muscadine grape produces a wine that taste like you went out and picked a grape and popped it in your mouth. Muscadine family consists of over 350 varieties. Scuppernong is a bronze variety of Muscadine that was discovered along the Scuppernong River in North Carolina. The original mother vine is still alive on Roanoke Island, where it has been growing and producing for about four hundred years. Noble is the most common type of Muscadine used for wine. Norton is a Virginia native grape grown at Hinnant. It takes up approximately 2 acres in their vineyard.  

    One variety, American hybrid Blanc du Bois needs to be harvested by hand so they only grow a few acres of it. Even so it takes about a month. The rest of the 100 acres takes only about 6 to 8 weeks to harvest. Their best selling white wine is a Carlos Sweet Muscadine. I sampled it and found it very tasty.

    Aside from traditional wine, Hinnant produces fruit wines with no grape content. My favorite is a blackberry wine which is made from blackberries from Johnson County. Their other fruit wines include strawberry and blueberry.

    awards at Hinnant Winery

    Their Carolina Wildflower, made from Carlos Grape and sweetened with wildflower honey, won Best of Show and Best of Muscadine Cup at North Carolina State Fair in 2014. This was the first time a Muscadine wine ever won Best of Show. They beat out 437 entries

    woman picking grapes at Hinnant Winery

    Another tradition at Hinnant is to open the Vineyard to the public during the harvest season. When we visited I spotted a large white tent where you could buy pre-picked grapes or take a bucket into the vineyard and pick your own.

    Hinnant Family Vineyards & Winery are popular for weddings. They do murder mystery dinner shows and other entertainment events throughout the year. If you want to do a tour during season they are Fri-Sun or by appointment. Winter is appointment only.

    There is a nice gift shop where you can purchase wine or many other items.

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    I recently learned of a FTC law requiring web sites to let their readers know if any of the stories are "sponsored" or compensated.  American Roads and Global Highways' feature writers are professional travel writers. As such we are frequently invited on press trips, also called fam trips. Most of the articles here are results of these trips. On these trips most of our lodging, dining, admissions fees and often plane fare are covered by the city or firm hosting the trip. It is an opportunity to visit places we might not otherwise be able to visit and bring you a great story. However, no one tells us what to write about those places. All opinions are 100% those of the author of that feature column.  

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