Sanctuary Vineyards Receives NC Wine Grower of Excellence Award

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Sanctuary Vineyards claims NC Wine Grower of Excellence Award at 2015 North Carolina Winegrowers Association Annual Conference

By Christine McMaster

Jarvisburg, NC

Sanctuary Vineyards was presented with the 2015 Wine Grower of Excellence Award, in recognition of its leadership and dedication to the production of quality North Carolina wine grapes by the North Carolina Winegrower’s Association. The award was presented to John Wright, General Manager and Vineyard Manager of Sanctuary Vineyards, during the NCWGA Annual Conference, on January 23rd, awarded by Dr. Sara Spayd of NC State University.

About Sanctuary Vineyards

Sanctuary Vineyards is located in Jarvisburg, NC, minutes away from the popular coastal region of the Outer Banks. For seven generations the Wright Family has called coastal Currituck County home. Sanctuary Vineyards is the product of centuries of farming experience and a dedication to a dream – producing world-class wines in Currituck County.

Established in 2001, the vineyard has 24 acres planted with 16 grape varietals. Varietals planted include Viognier, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Albariño, Traminette, Chardonel, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tannat and Aglianico. While Eastern North Carolina is known for Muscadine grapes, Sanctuary Vineyards has been able to successfully grow European- style vinifera grapes, due to the marine climate and well-drained sandy soil, producing 20 different wines and winning over 100 accolades. The most recent award was the Gold Medal for its 2014 Pearl Albariño, a white wine made exclusively from estate grown Albariño, at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2015.

Winemaker Casey Matthews, formerly of Raffaldini Winery in the Yadkin Valley, joined Sanctuary Vineyards in March 2015 and has proven to be an excellent addition to the Sanctuary family, bringing his expertise and passion to the mix.

Aside from being a top quality producing vineyard and winery, Sanctuary Vineyards is also a popular event site, holding numerous events throughout the year, including the annual Currishuck Oyster festival, attracting over 1000 visitors last year. Sanctuary Vineyards is also a wedding venue and reception site, offering the vineyard, winery and tasting rooms for special events and the winery is open 7 days a week for free tastings and tours.

The North Carolina Wine Industry

North Carolina is home to about 160 wineries, producing mostly native Muscadine and European-style vinifera grapes. Scuppernong was the first grape cultivated in the United States and is the official fruit of North Carolina. The Mother Vine in Manteo on Roanoke Island, a 400-year-old scuppernong vine, is the oldest known cultivated grapevine in the nation, and is just a short trip from Sanctuary Vineyards. Although North Carolina was one of the largest wine producing states at the turn of the 20th century, it now ranks 10th in U.S. wine production.

From John Wright, GM and Vineyard Manager: “We are so excited to bring this award back to Currituck County, an area that we believe holds potential to grow world-class wines. We have heard more than our fair share of skepticism along the way, but with 15 years of grape growing under our belt, we are learning from the past, enjoying the present and optimistic about the future of fine wines in Currituck and North Carolina!”

From Casey Matthews, Winemaker: “We have learned through trial and tribulation that the key to making top quality wines in North Carolina is learning to work with the uniqueness of the site. Our hard work is really starting to pay off and is showing in the quality of our wines.”

To learn more about Sanctuary Vineyards, please contact