Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday was a beautiful, warm, but not too warm day here in Wayne County. Henry graciously offered to chauffeur me and four of our good friends to A Secret Garden Winery, located off of Highway 117. We had a blast. The winery is completely organic and does not use any sulfites to its wines. We sampled several varieties including a Golden Harvest; Hush, Hush Blush and Mary Rose Red (these two have won awards), Southern Breeze (red) and a Blueberry Wine. All wines except the fruit wines are made from native Muscadine grapes. The Muscadine grape actually produces a wine with forty times the amount of antioxidants as any other wine produced. The wines were extremely fresh and the hospitality from our hostess was wonderful. We were made to feel welcome as soon as we entered the wine shop and were also greeted by Molly Muscadine, the owners' Basset Hound when given the tour of the grounds. The orchards get local help controlling the insect population from the hundreds of purple martins who have taken up residence in the martin condos. These birds are well-known in the South as a farmer's friend because of their habit of living in large groups, thereby increasing their worth as free bug control. They love the gourd-style houses hung high from a pole.We were taken on a tour of the fermentation room where the wines are taken after being crushed. They are kept in temperature controlled vats until ready to be bottled, usually around two years later. This keeps the bottles fresh. The wine is sold only at the winery due to the nature of the wine. It is not made to be mass produced. Each bottle is hand-filled, labeled and tested for alcohol content. Nothing is done by machine at this winery. It shows in the quality of the product.