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Visit to Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, NC

IMG_0157*This is a re-post as the original was lost due to a data corruption error.  So much to worry about.*

For some unexplained reason, Cheri has always wanted to visit Mount Airy on one of our trips to Winston-Salem.  It’s the home town of Andy Griffith, and inspired the town in the Andy Griffith Show, or Mayberry RFD.  Finally, I grudgingly gave in and we took the 30 minute drive to see what it was all about.  We’ll write that up in a different blog, but while there we also visited the Old North State Winery, located at one end of the main drag in town.  It’s also a deli, which is sort of a strange combination.  At the risk of spoiling the rest of this article the experience was a bit strange as well.

There’s a large tasting bar on one side, opposite the deli.  We sat down and chose a  wine tasting.  There seemed to be two brands of wine on the lists, one being Old North State and the other being Fish Hippie.  When we asked neither of the girls working the tasting bar could really explain what the relationship was, IMG_0160other then it was some sort of collaboration and that all the wines were made right there at the winery.  We checked later, and Fish Hippie is a new, upscale outdoors company.  Our theory is that North State makes a bunch of wine that Fish Hippie will also sell with their labels, although we could never get anyone to confirm that.

One of the girls started serving us, and took our order, pouring the first sample.  Then she started talking to a couple seated next to us, and never stopped.  We waited, and waited while she talked.  The other girl was attending to a fairly constant stream of customers cashing out, so she was busy.  Eventually the girl on the register managed to squeeze over and ask where we were in the tasting, then poured the next.  This went on for over half an hour while the other girl chatted most of the time, and ignored us the rest.  Without question this was one of the worst service experiences we’ve had in a long time.

But maybe the wines were worth the wait?  Not so much.  Here are the notes:

2012 Fish Hippie Oaked Chardonnay – this was very pale straw colored.  There was noticeable oak and some buttery notes on hyena nose.  It was very dry, with some hints of fruit and a little bitterness at the end.  While it wasn’t terrible is was sort of hollow and lacked structure.  We wouldn’t buy this.

2011 Fish Hippie Old Gentleman Cabernet Franc – light ruby in color this wine showed spice (black pepper) with some red fruit.  There were some light tannins present as well, and the wine finished with a medium length conclusion.  It was light, but fairly good.   Still don’t think we would ever buy this one either.

2008 Tannat – this was heavy handed on huge oak, and it overwhelmed pretty much everything else.  A IMG_0161little leather and spice came through on the palate.  Some up front tannins (pretty typical for Tannat, on the tip of the tongue) were present but very light.  This was just too heavy on the oak and we would not recommend it.  For some reason a lot of these small wineries to crazy on the oak, whether chips, staves or barrels.  Maybe they’re trying to get some impression of depth and power into the wine, and the grapes just don’t support it.

Prelude – this is 60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot.  It has a nice, deep ruby color and medium body.  There is oak and some darker fruits on the nose.  It’s fairly good, shows some current and blackberry flavor and has a pretty long finish.  This is the closest thing to a good wine here.

2011 Fish Hippie Old Gentleman Merlot – again, here comes the heavy oak.  There are some nice red fruit flavors hiding underneath, but it is very light and is not recommended.

Fish Hippie Red Muscadine – while not a vitis vinifera grape, we figured let’s give it a try.  As expected it was sweet and somewhat syrupy, almost like drinking jelly with a kick.  At least it was interesting, and we can’t say that about anything else we tried.

There were a lot of problems with this visit, namely really horrible service and pretty bad wine.  We would never, ever go back.  All we can say is that maybe the sandwiches on the deli side are good.

They’re not all good.

A votre sante!

2 comments to Visit to Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, NC

  • Thank you for making us aware of your experience at Old North State Winery. I am disappointed that our service was below par; however, I appreciate your perspective and letting us know what changes Old North State Winery needs to make.

    In order to accommodate the needs of our customers we have implemented the following changes:
    • An intimate Saturday wine tasting in Old North State Winery’s cellar with our winemaking staff.
    • Customer Service refresher course and ONS Winery public relations expectation protocol.

    Old North State Winery would love the opportunity for you to experience the improvements made to better service our customers.

    Highest Regards

    Joel Woodson
    General Manager, Old North State Winery
    Office (336)789-9463

    • admin

      We’re glad to hear that Old North State Winery is taking customer satisfaction to heart. We wish you good fortune in the future.

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