The sign at the driveway says Midnight Magdalena, but once visitors turn in, it’s not uncommon that they feel they are pulling into the driveway of a home. That feeling is by design, said owner Jim Zimmer.
“What we were looking for was to have people come and visit us and when they come it is like coming to visit someone you know,” Zimmer said.
Midnight Magdalena, the newest winery in the Yadkin Valley, opened its tasting house in October of 2016. Located at 5109 Howell School Road in Jonesville, in the Swan Creek Appellation Viticulture Area, the winery features six wines with more unique varietals planned for the future.
Jim and his wife Tauny bought the vineyard property in 2010. In 2013, the couple began planting the vineyard and making plans to open their winery.
By their sides as they began planning for the vineyard were two very special family members, both of whom sadly passed away in 2013. The name of the winery is in memory of those beloved members of the family.
“Midnight was the name of our dog, a black lab mix, that had been in our family for 13 years and with us all summer long working in the vineyard planting the vines,” Zimmer said. “We called her our quality control dog because she watched all the vines go in.”
Tauny’s mother, who went by the nickname of Magdalena, also passed away in 2013.
“The name is intended as a way of celebrating their lives and their involvement with us as we were getting everything started,” Zimmer said. “In some ways it’s a little bit of a sad story, but it’s not intended to be. We’re celebrating that they were in our lives.”
The bar top in the tasting house is of a poured material that incorporates recycled materials and Zimmer said they were able to contribute some of their own items to be included in the mix.
“We took Tauny’s mom’s favorite wine glass and put it in the bar so that way she’s always here with us and our customers having a glass of wine,” Zimmer said.
There are six acres of vines at Midnight Magdalena including the varietals of Merlot, Traminette, Reisling and Corot Noir.
“We do all of our wines in a dry style and one wine is off dry,” Zimmer explained. Midnight Magdalena features two whites, two red wines and two rosé wines.
“So far the response we’ve had has been excellent,” Zimmer said. “People are enjoying the wines. They like the fact that we have all dry wines. Most of the people who come in like the dry wines, that’s the style they are looking for.”
As expected, the red wines, Merlot and a blend called Tapestry No. 1029, were popular selections in the winter months. With a warmer late winter and early spring, Zimmer said the two rosés had been favorites for guests.
Midnight Magdalena’s Traminette wine has been the most popular overall so far and a good crossover wine for sweet wine drinks as well as red wine drinkers.
“Our best seller has been our Traminette. We do the Traminette in a dry style. We don’t blend anything into or add anything to it, it’s just a straight dry wine,” Zimmer said. “The floral notes on the aromas, the fruit fowardness of it, it has a very good appeal for people who do like the sweeter wines. It has a nice dry finish, a little bit of a spice on the back end so it actually appeals very nicely to red wine drinkers.”
This summer the Zimmers will be planting an additional four acres of vines directly in front of the tasting house. They have chosen some unique varietals, several of which will be new to the area — a Spanish grape called Tempranillo, an Austrian red grape called Zweigelt, a French white grape Madeleine Angevine and a Greek grape Moschofilero.
“We chose these grapes because we think they’ll do well in the climate,” Zimmer said. “We like the characteristic of the wine that these make. It’s something very new, very unique. We don’t have anyone to compare it to to see how well the grapes will grow so we’re taking a bit of risk, but we wanted something that was going to be different. That’s part of what we’re trying to do is to be different so it’s not commercial.”
Offering unique wines and a lovely place for guests to visit is the goal at Midnight Magdalena, Zimmer said. The cozy inside seating areas and wide front porch offering views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty and bounty of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.
For more information on Midnight Magdalena, visit their Facebook page or website www.midnightmagdalena.com.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Instagram @onthevinemag.