You can handle the truth!
Burntshirt had humble beginnings as a gently sloping hillside of vines first planted alongside Sugarloaf Rd. in April, 2009, intended as product to sell to area wineries, generating income needed after the market crash of 2008.
Income for who? Family owners of Manual Woodworkers and Weavers. The same family that owns MWW’s Hendersonville outlet, A Day in the Country store and cafe. That’s right. The same folks that own MMW and A Day in the Country own Burntshirt Vineyards. It’s no accident they’ve been in business since 1932.
“Mountain lore has it that back in the day farmers would burn their fields to clear the land on Burntshirt Mountain for planting. They tossed their shirts in the fire for good luck and the fields yielded a bountiful crop!”
Another smart business decision followed with the hiring of long-time (20 years) vegetable farmer, Eric Case. Under his stewardship, their vines produced excellent juice.. So excellent, they decided to try their hand at winemaking. Their first bottling last year was a success. Available only at the winery, they sold out.
Fast forward one year. Lemuel Oates and family now own 40.5 acres straddling Sugarloaf Road. They’ve remodeled a house that came with the property, adding a beautiful patio which overlooks the vineyard across the street.
A symbiotic relationship between MWW and the winery is visible in multiple rooms showcasing products for sale.
For some reason, I missed getting a picture of the main tasting room. Right inside the front door, you’ll find yourself bellying up to a lovely tiled tasting counter serviced by knowledgeable staff. I recognized Maria (pronounced Mariah) from A Day in the Country. She surprised me with her wine knowledge. Either she’s a fast learner, or she already knew her wine! Friendly as could be, too.
There are also two tasting rooms put into use mostly on weekends when they are usually “slammed”. If I were doing a tasting with a group, it would be fun to see if we could use one of these rooms.
On the verge of completion is the new Summit building right next to the house. It’ll be used for private events and overflow. Kudos to the architect for designing a building so complimentary to the original, you don’t think of it as having never been there.
Burntshirt’s patio has been used for tastings, especially during busy weekends. It also sports a fire pit for cooler evenings. No roasting marshmallows or hot dogs, please.
Musicians set up every Saturday from 3-5pm in the gazebo or on the lawn for your listening pleasure while enjoying your favorite wine. See the schedule here.
Couldn’t resist another view of that delicious patio.
Acreage around the house has been “parked out” beautifully, while honoring the previous owners of the property by keeping their horse barn (no horses now) and small family pet cemetery intact.
Smart business decision number three, although I’m sure there were many more in-between, picnic box lunches can be ordered ahead for pick-up or delivery to the winery from Cafe on the Veranda (part of A Day in the Country). You can also bring your own picnic, as long as you’re also enjoying purchased Burntshirt wine.
This property borders a working apple orchard. We had a great time exploring the edge of the orchard, spotting various apple varieties and, surprisingly, a few cherry trees scattered throughout.
When they first started making wine last year, Burntshirt leased a processing facility in Shelby. This year, a 10,000 square foot winery is nearing compleating on property! We couldn’t get inside (safety), but I can tell you, I’ll be pestering them regularly until they’ll allow a closer look.
Truth is, everything about Burntshirt Winery looks like it’s being done right – thoughtful quality in planning and execution with a serious eye to future success.
We’ll be regulars. You can count on that.
- Tastings consist of one ounce pours of 7 wines for $7
- Join the Summit Wine Club for special discounts and other perks.
- The property also includes The Shed, an “outdoor garden haven with collections of unique and useful decorative accessories for living lovely outside”