Country Squire Winery
On a recent visit to Southport we decided to venture a little off our path and visit Country Squire Restaurant and Winery. This intimate establishment packs a big punch. They are a vineyard, winery, restaurant and inn. Our plan was to do a tasting and then have lunch. We were greeted by Iris, the owner, with her beautiful Scottish accent. Being a little early the tasting room wasn’t open yet, but she allowed us to look around until Rod, the tasting room host, arrived. They offer many unique gifts for the wine lover, but it doesn’t stop there. They have lots of items with a Scottish feel and locally made food items.
Every winery has its own personality and the Country Squire is no different. From the time Rod arrived he greeted us like old friends. Pretty soon we were exchanging life stories. Country Squire produces all the muscadine grapes they use and purchase grapes outside the area for the non sweet wines they offer. This is not the case with many of the other coastal wineries. Most only offer sweet muscadine wines. Their tastings are complementary and include all the wines they make. Be prepared to learn the story behind each wine. Just as each winery has a story, so does each wine.
I typically am not a sweet wine fan, but these wines are not overly sweet. They were more fruit forward with a smooth finish. We purchased two of their specialty wines, Bonnie Berry and Knickerdropper, with the intention of making sangria this summer. The Knickerdropper, their 2nd best seller, guarantees someone will drop their knickers after 2 bottles. We can't testifly to that, but that is the store. Their reds as a whole were lighter and we both liked them. Their best seller is Grandaddy's Smokehouse Red. It tasted much like a watermelon jolly rancher.
Once we finished our tasting and purchased a few things to bring home we headed to eat lunch. We didn’t know it when we planned our trip, but the day we stopped by the local high schools all held their graduations and the restaurant is a go to for the locals. The staff worked with us in getting us a table. The food was fantastic. I paired Jester’s Folly with my grilled chicken salad. The atmosphere is rustic and cozy, just like a Scottish pub.
After lunch we took a stroll around the vineyards. Robby stopped what he was doing and gave us a tour of their bottling facilities. Not all winery owners give tours and some of those that do charge a fee for it. He took time to answer all our questions and gave us the history. Country Squire is the total package. It has a winery, vineyard, restaurant and inn. If you are headed to the beach this is a definite place to stop for lunch. The staff are knowledgeable and extremely welcoming.