Raleigh News & Observer
October 10, 2007

New winery takes the grape award

By Amber Nimocks, Staff Writer

The best wine in North Carolina this year comes from a new winery with roots that run deep in the state's wine culture.

McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks of Thurmond won the N.C. Winegrowers Cup and Best of Show honors with its 2006 Chardonnay last week, besting 248 other wines submitted by 32 wineries. The winery opened this summer but had been growing grapes before then.

Newcomer wines have taken the state's top prize before, said Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the N.C. Wine & Grape Council, and McRitchie's success this year is not surprising given the experience of owners Sean and Patricia McRitchie. Sean is a grape grower and winemaker who has had a hand in the success of some of the state's better-known winemakers, including Round Peak and Shelton, Metzger said. Patricia is a lawyer who specializes in laws pertaining to wineries and vineyards.

Other top awards went to more familiar winemakers, including Duplin Winery, which won the N.C. Muscadine Cup for the third year in a row. The award for top amateur winemaker went to Scott Pearson of Durham. It is his second win in two years.

The awards were announced Sunday at Celebrate N.C. Wines, a fundraising event at JC Raulston Arboretum. The wines will not be available at the N.C. State Fair, which begins Friday, because alcohol is not allowed at the fair.