MOCKSVILLE — The award winning wines are only a taste of the interesting at Misty Creek Vineyards where guests can sit on family history and enjoy both tales and tails.
Visitors can enjoy expanses of rolling farm lands dotted by forests as they travel to the tasting room located at 710 Wyo Road in Mocksville where Bear and his friends greet guests.
Rescuers of large friendly dogs, the Nichols family loves dogs and welcomes them to join the family in the comfortable tasting room.
“Bring him on in,” welcomed mom Marge upon seeing a potential four-legged friend waiting patiently outside.
The 91-year-old artist can be found bustling amid bottles of two-time gold medalist Traminette and Syrah and other favored flavors.
Displayed throughout the tasting room is evidence of Marge’s love for life as the subjects of her paintings exhibit the skills and experience of a life on the go.
Rarely seen seated, Marge, who is also a licensed pilot who has lived in Japan as well as Europe, happily shares stories of her adventures even as she attends duties of hostess.
“And why shouldn’t I — can I get you anything?” asked Marge as she seamlessly cared for clients while relating tales of such feats as ridding in a dragster doing more than 150 mph in 7 seconds for her 83rd birthday and plans new exciting escapades.
According to the website at www.mistycreekwines.com, “She runs full speed at 100 miles an hour with her hair on fire and is an inspiration to meet.”
It’s no wonder her son and fellow owner Barry found a career working with NASA.
After retiring from a 33-year career which ended as a chief information officer at the Kennedy Space Center, Barry decided to try his hand at wine making explaining he had received a kit as a gift in 1969.
“It was terrible,” said Barry, “but I knew I could do it.”
Barry’s wines have come a long way since that first try in 1969, winning multiple awards at the North Carolina State Fair since purchasing the vineyard in 2001.
“I make my wine according my own palate,” said Barry as he poured out tastes of silver medalist Chambourcin, which is described as “Rich and earthy … [with] hints of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, raspberries, dark chocolate and black pepper.”
That doesn’t mean that Barry doesn’t consider the opinions of others. “I realized that the sweeter wines are favored around here,” said Barry, “so now we have the Misty Rose, and other sweeter wines.”
Having managed to bottle three flavors of Christmas with the Chamberry, Rhapsody in Blueberry, and the Blackberry Cobbler, Misty Creek wines can help set the mood for preparing for the holidays as well as complementing them.
Some of the berries for these wines come from the historical property as well as the grapes. “We have a natural spring that comes right through here,” said Barry, pointing out that the water also impacts the flavor of the Misty Creek wines.
This spring is likely the reason the property is saturated with history which is important to the Nichols family.
“Make sure you have a seat by the fireplace on my great-grandmother’s rockers,” called Barry as he turned to entertain other guests with intricate details of the wines interspersed with stories of the dogs, the land and the people around him.
A particular point of pride is Barry’s wife of 40 years. A native of Florida, Kathy’s family was the last of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse keepers, but that’s not what Barry brags of most.
“My wife is a teacher,” said Barry, “she works harder than any of the rest of us.”
Known to bring her work to the tasting room where she can be on hand if needed, the special needs specialist keeps Barry on track as he shares his stories.
The family atmosphere of the tasting room is enhanced by friends and neighbors who also drop by to help or just socialize. A puzzle is always laid out on one of the tables and comfortable couches complement the antique rockers that are put into daily use in front of the large fireplace that begs visitors to sit down and take a few minutes to enjoy their experience.
“I really enjoy it here,” said Sandra Dasher of Huntersville. “We’ve been here a few times. I like the view and everyone is so friendly. The wine too. I really like the wine.”
The tasting room is edged by patio seating where visitors can view the historical land. From Native Americans making use of the stream and grounds, to the passing of General Nathaniel Green’s Green Mountain Boys during the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War’s closing acts, the surrounding property has had a prominent role in local history.
The Nichols family invites guests to bring their picnics and pets Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. where $11 will purchase a 12-wine tasting from a souvenir wine glass.
For more information about Misty Creek Vineyards or its weekend events, call 336-998-3303 or email Info@MistyCreekWines.com.
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for On The Vine and The Tribune. She can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.