Never Judge a Book by its Cover: Lazy Elm Winery & Vineyard
OUR ROAD TO 100 NORTH CAROLINA WINERIES ...
Never judge a book by its cover. Our initial impression as we drove up on Lazy Elm Winery, located on a quiet road in Mocksville – on yet another dreary March afternoon, was that this small winery did not hold much character. We found ourselves reluctantly admitting that we were wrong – a fault of judging too soon.
Weather played a big role in our first impression and even the time of year. No longer the gray skies of Winter, but not yet the sunny skies of Spring. However, by the time we left this now quaint winery, our minds were changed. We could see us visiting on a nice Spring or Summer day, with the Carolina blue sky overhead and the sun shining brightly down, perhaps sitting under the lazy Elm for which this winery is named after, sipping on a glass of wine.
The winery resides on a 43-acre farm located just three miles north of I-40 and one mile east of Highway 601, a part of the Yadkin Valley AVA. You don't realize just how close you are to the interstates as this location is quiet even on this day, with the rain coming down ever so lightly.
We arrived shortly after they opened. We grabbed the umbrellas from out of the car and made our way into tasting room. The tasting room was straightforward with a plethora of Lazy Elm wines displayed with medals of their award-winning wines. As we looked around to get our bearings, we were offered a tasting. We went through the wines one by one – 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Merlot and the 2015 estate bottle Mourvèdre. At which time we commented that this wine reminded us of something we would have at Hanover Park Vineyards in Yadkinville.
Sitting across the tasting room a gentleman was quietly working. He overheard us and introduced himself as Chris, the owner/operator/wine maker and "jack of all trades." Chris informed us that he used to work alongside Michael Helton at Hanover Park – and then it all made sense.
Our tasting continued with a 2014 estate bottled Petit Verdot, 2015 estate bottled Montepulciano and onto the 2013 Damn Yankee. Each wine impressed us more and more and as we continued our tasting, we continued our conversation with Chris.
This environment was more to our liking this day. To be in a smaller setting with little, or in our case on this dreary afternoon, no crowds, where we can actually learn more about the wines, the history and the future behind the winery. We discussed the recent Fine Wines competition after noticing some bling around the necks of a couple of bottles on display. Chris informed us which wines he entered, which ones won and how the competition worked. From the pros to the cons, and how he found himself at the Fine Wine gala with no more than a couple hours notice.
Our tasting continued with at least four more wines with our favorite being the 2013 Pinot Grigio Arancione – the latest craze of "orange wine," which is most commonly found in Italy. Following our tasting, Chris showed us inside the new wine making and bottling facility he built as part of the expansion.
We did walk away with one of the award-winning wines that day but not the Pinot Grigio Arancione, which can only mean one thing. We'll be back!
So, lesson learned. Never judge a book by its cover! And this winery is certainly one to watch.