A Short Drive to Veronét Vineyards and Winery, Just Below Crowders Mountain
Vineyards across the country are popular venues for those looking to experience wine from the source. As demand and desire for these experiences grows, North Carolina is making a name for itself as a wine destination. Our state is home to nearly 200 wineries, one of which is in the back yard of Gaston County. Veronét Vineyards and Winery, located at 1549 Ike Brooks Dr, in Kings Mountain, is new to the scene, with one year under their belt as of September 2020. Veronét sits beneath Crowders Mountain and The Pinnacle, with panoramic views of the mountain ridge visible just above the organically-planted vineyard. Veronét offers a variety of food trucks and live music that pair perfectly with their stunning single varietal wines, unique blends, and sparkling bubbles.
A Tree Farm Turned Vineyard
The 72-acre estate on which Veronét sits was purchased by owner Monique Sullivan and her husband after they happened upon the former pine tree farm. With a desire for their daughter to grow up on farmland, paired with Sullivan's love for wine, they were ready to call this plot of land home to Gaston County’s first and only vineyard. And so, in 2018, they bought the land and got to work.
Sitting at an elevation of 880 feet, the placement of the vineyard allows for the ideal spring and summer grape-growing temperature (between 60 and 70 degrees) allowing Veronét to produce a harvest optimal for Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Chambourcin, and Traminette varieties. Hand planting 3,200 grape vines, Sullivan and her team filled the six-acre vineyard with rows of vines to be harvested in 2021. “It can take approximately three years for newly planted grapes to be ready for winemaking,” Sullivan said, “so we outsource grapes from California to produce our wine in these initial stages.” Veronét’s wine is made at various custom crush facilities across the U.S., by New-York-native winemaker, Gary Akrop.
Veronét’s farming practices exclude pesticides and involve minimal herbicides, a practice Sullivan says is important to their philosophy.Because of these practices, Veronét's soil has decreased levels of non-sustainable elements, producing grapes without GMOs and other potentially harmful additives."Our vineyard has weeds and lots of bugs and may not look perfect like some other vineyards, but that’s the decision we made to ensure we are producing grapes that are free from harmful elements.” said Sullivan.
Wine Education at Veronét
Sullivan, a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 certificate holder and self-described lover of wine education has extended this passion to her staff. “We encourage our staff to take the WSET course,” she says. “We pay for their education so they can learn as much as they can about wine.”
Alongside the educational piece, Sullivan and her team see the importance of a knowledgeable and customer-centric staff, well-versed in their wines from production to service. From being walked to your table, receiving an overview of their wines and being well-tended, Veronet's staff strives to uphold the vineyard's founding principles of care and passion.
A Day at the Vineyard
Recently my friend Luvena and I spent a day at Veronét. We started with white sangria wine slushies — a summer trend that has found its way to Veronét — followed by a flight of Chambourcin, Rosé and Viognier wines. With flights available, guests can enjoy an array of wines without committing to an entire bottle — unless they want to, of course.
Our flight led us to end the afternoon with a bottle of Rosé made from Grenache (a typical varietal used to make rosé wines) paired with chicken and dumplings from Momo Truck, one of Veronét's rotating options, highlighting notes of strawberry, raspberry, and pomegranate in this delicate Rosé.
Veronét is positioned as a destination for a variety of gatherings. With a reservation, patrons can bring a picnic, decorations, and other items to create a personalized experience. Larger parties are welcome, with the vineyard often hosting bridal parties, birthdays and other celebrations in a locale that is unique to the region.
No matter the number of guests, locals can visit this scenic vineyard, complete with locally produced and soon-to-be locally sourced wine with minimal travel time, creating an experience previously reserved for the mountain region or the west coast. When asked what she loves about the business, Sullivan says it’s the people. “I love working the bar, getting to know our customers, and teaching them about wine. We are able to offer not only delicious wine but a memorable experience our guests can cherish and a locale close enough to keep them coming back for more.”
Note: At the date of publication and for the safety of guests and staff, reservations are required. While the tasting room and private tastings are put on hold, Veronét is accommodating and serving guests through the aforementioned modalities. Visit their Instagram or website for the most up-to-date information, including hours and available reservations.