TRYON, N.C. (WSPA) – Nestled off of Phillips Dairy Road, north of the Green Creek community in Polk County, North Carolina, you’ll find Mountain Brook Vineyards.
Vineyard co-owner Jonathan Redgrave noted that while driving by the entry, the signage only hints at what you’ll see.
“People don’t really expect to come up a little driveway through some woods and suddenly boom, you’re in a different space,” he said.
The first vines were planted at Mountain Brook in 2002, but the current facility was set in motion by Jonathan and his wife Vickie, who bought the property in 2018.
It’s now a North Carolina winery that brings a taste of California to the area.
“People come, maybe for the first time, and they’re a little bit afraid,” he explained. “It’s like…chill. This is not a stuffy place. We want to be very accessible for everyone. We try to bring in different ways to engage people in the community with the winery, with the vineyard experience.”
A winery is more than just the ambience and the grounds, it’s also about the product. That’s something Mountain Brook is very proud of.
You may find seven or eight wine varieties available in the tasting room, with perhaps a few others available in bottles. The vineyard produces 17 different wines.
A couple of their signature products, “All In” and “BDX”, are red blends.
“Everything we’re doing here…we’re trying to bend the curve to really give ourselves a platform to have a world class operation where people can come and experience our wines and quite frankly be able to compare them with wines from around the world,” he said.
Vineyards are farms. Carolina weather is different than California wine country’s. Mountain Brook is working on adjusting for that gap.
“What we’re working on is how to do experimental things in our vines. How we can take advantage of the fact that we’ve got the great soil, shorter growing season, but how can we cheat Mother Nature…or actually collaborate with Mother Nature…in a different way to give ourselves the opportunity to grow the grapes in ways that will really produce the excellent fruit that we need,” Redgrave said.
What’s learned here will help others down the road.
“On the agricultural and the academic side, we’ve had folks in from North Carolina State University, so we really want to help…what we’re learning, what we’re doing…gain that knowledge here but also share that knowledge with others in the state,” he explained.
That’s just one way Mountain Brook gives back.
Their “Cooper’s” branded wine, which was named after their dog who was named after the craft of wine barrel-making, makes a local difference. A portion of the proceeds goes to local no-kill animal shelters: PAWS of Rutherford County and the Foothills Humane Society in Polk County.
All of this goes to into making Mountain Brook an inviting place for the community: employees and customers alike.
“That really has been the thing that has been the most rewarding about this, being able to make an impact in the community, a positive impact on lives, and quite frankly, have a little bit of fun with it,” he said.