The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 22, 2012

Several enjoy harvest festival, wine tasting

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Monday, October 22, 2012 — Sheldon Williams of Orangeville, Pa. didn’t need much convincing to bring his wife, Leah, to Dennis Vineyards’ Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp.

“If she ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” he said.

While the Williams do have family in Mt. Pleasant, he was serious about his wife’s longing to be at the wine festival.

They had visited Dennis Vineyards twice in the past, so it was fitting that they came for what was now the 9th annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp.

By the end of the day, more than 2,500 guests had visited the festival, sampling wine and buying from food and wine accessory vendors that added to the day’s offerings.

According to Sandon Dennis, owner of the winery along with his wife, Amy, they were offering about 30 different bottles for sampling. By the end of the day, they had emptied more than 100 bottles that had been poured into sampling cups.

“We love it from start to finish,” Sandon said.

“When you can take it from the vines, growing everything, you nurture everything and get it up to where it’s supposed to be harvested. Then we pick them, crush them, process them, ferment everything and we bottle it. Then we also drink some along the way.”

And people continued to come to drink Dennis’ best wine.

Wanda Plyler of Monroe took her first trip to the festival last Saturday, looking for a wine that fit her taste, which she described as a semi-noble wine, such as something that is not too sweet but with a bit of a fruity taste for smoothness.

Plyler brought her daughter-in-law, Jessica Furr, who sampled the Holiday wine, which is more of a sweeter taste.

“We’re just big wine drinkers,” Furr said before sipping on her peach bellini, which is a wine mixed slushy.  

Friends Lauren Hill, Stephanie Thornton and Karmen Smith waited their turn to get a few samples. After trying some samples, Hill found some varieties to her liking.

“I’m up for trying a few (wines), and I do switch sometimes. I just don’t lean toward the fruity blends.”

Thornton, who said she came for the wine tasting and to hear local band Right Turn Clyde, enjoyed the Christmas wines.

As for Smith, who said she knew very little about wine coming into the festival, said she would consider purchasing a bottle of peach wine before she left.

On what used to be land for cow pastures, the festival showed that there’s plenty of people from Stanly County and surrounding areas that have a taste for the drink rooted in Dennis Vineyards’ muscadine grapes.

“Been in the business for 15 years, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Dennis said.