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Enoree River Vineyards

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For several years Richard, owner of the Enoree River Vineyards served as a regional director of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and his duties required him to travel throughout the Southeast. As he was traveling from his home in Columbia, he never failed to stop at vineyard/wineries along the highway. He was impressed with the warm hospitality of the people who owned vineyards, many of whom encouraged him when he began to think of opening a vineyard himself. "They offered help and advice in any way they could." Richard did his homework. He studied the business, researched maps, and discovered that Newberry is at the bottom of the weather map for ideal grape cultivation. He also discovered that Camden or Charlotte were good areas, well traveled by tourists.... But he had no desire to move in that direction.

Richard had visited friends in Newberry often, he had fallen in love with a leggy Dominick girl from Prosperity, and of course, his first choice of location was the Center of the Universe. Newberry. "This was the perfect location in every way. Laura was here, and this is a beautiful area," he said. As soon as Richard's baby girl Claudia graduated from high school-instead of her moving out, her Dad did. In 2004, Richard found the right property, only half a mile from I-26, and things fell into place. "I thought this would be a good place to settle in for the rest of my life. I found the right property at the right time. I married a hard-working, local farm- girl who teaches at Mid-Carolina High School--and I moved here lock, stock, and barrel." He has no regrets, only rejoicing.

With the help of his brother Tom, his son Mac, and his lady- love Laura, Richard converted a cow pasture into a vineyard and started planting muscadine grapes. He realized then that he had much to learn about farming beyond books and the internet. Number One, he lacked many of the necessary tools to begin farming, such as a posthole pounder. Not to worry. He borrowed tools and down-home knowledge from friends and neighbors, such as Larry Cromer--and his soon-to-be relations, of course. "We've planted 800 muscadine vines here, Noble (red) and Carlos (white). After only three years growth, the Enoree grapes were not yet ready to harvest, but Richard and Laura were more than ready to start producing wine.

Through the years, they had come to know Tim Walker, who once owned a winery in Chester. He had moved his operation to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, and his Carolina Vineyards provided the juices and fermentation tanks. The LaBarres, however, directed the process: they determined the wine's level of sweetness, and they did the bottling and labeling. Richard and Laura have worked as a team at the vineyard. Richard had first been drawn to the business side of operating a winery. "I took several Saturday classes in viticulture at Surry Community College in North Carolina, but I was a business person first, and I saw possibilities in agritourism. North Carolina is really promoting this business, and there are now around 70 wineries and vineyards there. A good example of this is the North Carolina Agricultural Tourism Signage Program. Hope-fully, South Carolina will begin to see the potential, but there are still few winery/vineyards in the State.

To me, the vineyard provides the beauty but the winery is where you make the profit. I saw both as an integral part of each other." The lovely Laura enjoys the cultivating side of the business. "I always enjoyed being outside, working hard and being worn out at the end of the day. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, working with my hands in the vineyard." As the dream continues, they look forward to greeting old friends and meeting new friends at the vineyard. Yes, Laura and Richard maintain the highest standards of Newberry as the "County of Friendly Folks." "We want folks to come out and see what we've done here. Bring a picnic basket, if you like. Tour the grounds and the walking trail, visit our South Carolina gift shop.

Above all, taste the wines. We think you'll like them," Richard said. The rural setting offers a beautiful venue for picnics, weddings and parties, and the tasting room/cellar was designed around the bar from the original Lucy & Earl's in historic downtown. "As we can afford it, we plan to build a tasting room on top of our cellar, with a deck around it and a patio out front overlooking the vineyard. At that time, we will turn the cellar into our fermentation and bottling room."

The Enoree gift shop features South Carolina products, including Carolina Plantation rice, wind chimes by David Mosier of Prosperity, raspberry hand lotion, muscadine soaps and candles, and hand-made cards by Buffy Summer. "In time, we hope to include the work of more local artists and craftsmen," LaBarre said. Laura LaBarre, daughter of Dale and Sylvia Dominick of Prosperity, invites everyone to come out and see what they've accomplished. "Fine wine with good friends is a grand tradition here in Newberry County, and we look forward to seeing old friends, and meeting new friends, at the vineyard," she said.

Enoree River Vineyard fruit wines are truly wines for all courses. The cabernet holds its own with grilled steaks, and the riesling is amazing with any fish (with catfish in particular, believe it or not). The fruit wines are good over ice cream, served with a sprig of mint. Richard suggests serving chocolate with the raspberry wine, and Laura fell in love at first bite with the wine cake presented here. As for the best use of wine? Serve with good friends and good food. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Wed11:00 AM6:00 PM
Thr11:00 AM6:00 PM
Fri11:00 AM6:00 PM
Sat11:00 AM6:00 PM
Notes: None Listed


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