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Wine Season is Underway at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery as Buds are Breaking

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery owner Steve Tatum pointing the buds breaking on the vines. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Wine season is underway as buds are breaking on the vines at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, which is located on the banks of the Watauga River in Foscoe.

Luckily, yesterday afternoon’s torrential rains and hail didn’t hit the vineyard as hard as some of the other regions in the High Country.

“We escaped that. It wasn’t so bad out here in Foscoe,” Grandfather Vineyard and Winery owner Steve Tatum said on Tuesday morning.

Generally, Mother’s Day is the rule for “being out of the woods” as far as frost damage to plants, but there is always a possibility of another cold spell lurking in the forecast before spring really hits its stride.

“Well, if they [the buds] get a little further along the way, they’ll be out of danger. I’ve seen a frost later than this. Hopefully, we are out of the woods on that anyway for now,” Tatum said.

Tatum added that he is worried about the fruit sets, which is when the flower on the grapevine is blooming, and critters.

“We don’t want a lot of rain. We would like to see sunny weather and mountain breezes,” Tatum said. “They self-pollinate. They don’t require bees or birds to pollinate, so if we catch a nice breeze and a nice sunny day, we’ll get good fruit sets [and subsequently] good grapes – unless we are killed by critters that are around. You never know about them. You just try to do the best you can.”

As for the wines, Tatum said that Grandfather Vineyard and Winery has several new wines coming out this spring, including, hopefully, a Port-style wine. Tatum said that the winery received its fortified-wine license this year, so it will be able to make some sort of Port-style or sherry-style wine, which are a little sweeter with a higher alcohol content.

“It will be interesting. People will be surprised fi they can make it out here. We are pretty excited about [these new offerings],” Tatum said.

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery is also featuring live music every Sunday through October, starting at 1 p.m. Depending on the reception, Tatum said, “We’ll probably throw in Saturdays as well.”

For more information about Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, click here or call 828-963-2400.

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery is located on the banks of the Watauga River in Foscoe.
Tatum points to a bud.