Golden Road Vineyards is divided into five blocks totaling
about five acres. We have carefully selected one variety for each
block based on factors we believe will contribute to successful vintages.
The evaluation included consideration of the varieties we felt best
suited to the North Carolina climate and the topography and soils of
our site, and took into account the elevation, slope, aspect and other
features of each block.
Each of the five varieties is described below.
Photos of the respective varieties, showing
leaf shape, taken May 11, 2011.
Petit manseng is best known in southwest France, but is becoming
more and more popular in the New World. The petit manseng vine
produces small, thick-skinned berries naturally high in acidity that
yield very high quality white wines. We planted about one-
half acre of petit manseng in our smallest vineyard block, which is
located closest to our house. This block has very gently rolling
slopes, and receives more shade than any other area of the
vineyard. The rows run northwest to southeast.
Widely grown in southwest France and Uruguay, tannat is still a
relative newcomer and little known variety in the United States.
Distinguished for their generous tannins, tannat grapes contribute
color and backbone to robust red blends. We feel that tannat
grown in the warm North Carolina climate will also make a fine
varietal wine. Our 500 plus tannat vines grow on the highest
and steepest block in the vineyard in rows that run east to west.
Traminette is a hybrid variety developed in the United States that
produces white wines with varietal characteristics similar to its
parent grape Gewürztraminer. Traminette grapes produce high
quality, fragrant wines with distinctively spicy flavors. We planted
1.75 acres of traminette in our largest vineyard block. The
block is characterized by slopes starting from a central crest and
running to the northeast and southwest.
Merlot is generally thought to be native to Bordeaux, France, and
the right (north) bank of the Gironde. The vines produce loose
bunches of large, blue-violet berries. Merlot is often blended with
cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and/or petit verdot, especially
in France, but can also stand on its own. Our merlot block is
approximately 1.3 acres and is located in the center of the vineyard
and closest to the river. This block is naturally crowned with slopes
that drain to the north, south and west.
Petit verdot is usually thought of as a blending grape due to its intense
color, acidity, and “spice box” flavoring elements. It has also been used
to produce very high quality varietal wines in warmer climates, and we
are hoping to see our petit verdot in both roles here in North Carolina.
Petit verdot is thought to be native to western Bordeaux (the “left bank”),
and may have even predated cabernet sauvignon there. Today, less petit
verdot is being grown in France, but it is gaining popularity in the New World.
We planted just under one acre of petit verdot in a block with a
generally southwest aspect in rows that run northeast to southwest.
In addition to the five blocks and varieties described here,
we have one future block. Cleared of its native trees in Spring, 2010,
this land is resting until its pH and nutrient content can be modified
to make it better suited for vines.
We will be selling our grapes to winemakers.
If you are interested in buying grapes, please contact us here.