Today the 84-acre Laurel Gray Estate is planted with over 10 acres of rolling vineyards, containing French Vinifera varieties: Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Gris. The soil is a sandy loam, produced from the weathered rock of one of the continent’s oldest mountain ranges, providing a well-drained foundation on which our vines prosper.
Laurel Gray Vineyards is located within the Swan Creek region of the Yadkin Valley. Elevation is 1100 feet above sea level at the southern base of a small mountain the owners have dubbed “Scarlet Mountain”. The climate of the Swan Creek area during the growing season is different than other portions of the Yadkin Valley featuring warm days, cooler nights, and often, a nice breeze. Benny Myers theorizes: “With the Brushy Mountains to the southwest and the Blue Ridge chain to the northeast, this works as a natural funnel sending cooling winds through the vineyard. This wind dries the vines of early morning dews and temperatures are consistently 3 to 5 degrees cooler than locations even 1 mile away. As a result the harvest is later, allowing the fruit more time on the vine to develop complex varietal flavors”.
The agricultural, artistic, scientific, and business backgrounds of the Myers are reflected in the vineyard. Vertical shoot positioning and balanced pruning practices are used to create the highest quality fruit. Vigorous shoot thinning and leaf positioning are other common practices to ensure high air flow and sunlight to the berries. During the pruning and growing season, each vine is visited an average of 8 to 10 times. Pruning, thinning, and harvesting are all done by hand to guarantee the highest quality vines and fruit. The philosophy at Laurel Gray is to concentrate the flavors within the berries while keeping the vines in balance for future years in order to consistently produce high quality wines.
Laurel Gray Vineyards produces handcrafted Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Scarlet Mountain (Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend), Windsor (Meritage style dry red blend), and Dry Rose’, semi-sweet pink Rose 1773, sweet white Nectar, sweet Encore. In 2010 Laurel Gray released the first in a series of holiday wines called “Carolina Christmas”. Total production varies from 1800 to 2500 cases depending on the year. The wines are crafted under the direction of our winemaker Charlie Kidd.
Charlie joined the Yadkin Valley Wine Company and Laurel Gray Vineyards in April 2013. A California native, Charlie received his degree from California Polytecnic University, while developing several award winning vineyards in his home state. In 2001 Charlie created his first wines and a career in winemaking began. After several years in both vineyard development and winemaking, Charlie decided to accept the invitation to move to Texas and assist their budding wine industry. While in Texas, Charlie met his future wife, Beth Dudley. Beth is a true southern lady from Virginia. After spending time together in Texas and then a couple more years in California, where Charlie and Beth worked together to establish a new winery, they decided to get married and return to Beth’s native region. We feel that fate has brought Charlie to Laurel Gray and the Yadkin Valley Wine Company and we couldn’t be happier. We are very excited about working together with Charlie and the growth of both Laurel Gray and the Yadkin Valley Wine Company brands.