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  • Delayne Martin

Euda Wine

We recently attended the grand opening of Euda Wine in Old Fort.  Owner Michael McGeary and his wife Abi moved to the area in 2022 with the intention of producing wines with minimal human intervention.  Euda is from the Greek word Eudaimonia, which is translated to the idea of happiness or living well.  Michael’s background in philosophy is evident in his wine making.  He feels wine is determined by the time (year to year) and place (soil), not by a recipe.  He began his career as a sommelier in the restaurant business and has traveled the world working in all aspects of the wine industry. His most recent adventure was as vineyard manager and winemaker at Rocklands Farm Winery.  He holds a degree in Viticulture (vineyard) and Enology (winemaking).  Abi, a social worker by day, brings a keen palette from her love of cooking. She is the quality control part of the venture.  Euda wine sources their grapes from regional vineyards.  They seek out vineyards that produce sustainable grape varieties, both non-vinifera and multi-vitis vines.  By using disease resistant vines, growers use limited amounts of pesticides or not use at all.  

Michael uses Pétillant Naturel (Pét-nat) fermentation in his wines.  Pét-nat are sparkling wines that pre-date the “traditional manner” of making champagne.  Instead of using a second fermentation in the bottle like champagne makers do; Pét-nat wines are bottled before the initial fermentation is complete.  The end result is a softer fizz, slightly sweet from the residual sugar, hazy with yeast particles and crown cap instead of a cork.  Some Pét-nat wines are disgorged. This process removes the sediment, although the yeast particles are safe to drink. There is no added sugar or preservatives making it a healthier alternative to prosecco.  It only contains a small amount of sulfites.  All wines have sulfites as a by-product of the chemical reactions in the wine making process.   I asked Michael about the increasing popularity of Pét-nat wines.  He feels that the wine drinking public is moving away from only drinking sparkling wines for special occasions, instead drinking as an everyday wine.  He also believes that Pét-nat wines are more fruity, whereas traditional method sparklings taste more “yeasty” or biscuit flavors.  

I found this quote regarding Pét-nat  wines from

“By nature Pét-nats are casual.  They’re easy going. They didn’t brush their hair when they got up and threw on yesterday’s jeans because who really cares?  Some Pét-nat 

are downright funky. On the other hand some are as clean and precise as can be.”

I asked Michael his thoughts on the quote and he felt that it was a fun and fair description.  As far as the funkiness goes he feels that yes there can be a wide range and yes there will be sediment in the bottle.  His goal is to make wine on the clean and precise end of the spectrum.  His ultimate goal is to capture more of the aromatics during fermentation than is possible with the traditional method of making sparkling. 

Some winemakers might like to work with one particular grape variety over another, Michael is open to all grape varieties.  He has produced 3 sparkling wines. The White Pét-nat is made with the Traminette grape and the Rose Pét-nat is made from Traminette, Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. His 1 Brute style sparkling is made with Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Franc.  He tends to be more specific on grape variety when making sparkling in the traditional method.  

We love to experiment with food and wine pairings, often going against the hard and fast rules.  I was curious to see if Pét-nats pair with food easily or does it require more thought.  Abi is the authority on wine and food pairing for Euda Wine.  All of his wines are food friendly.  The Pét-nat Rosé is fruity with a botanical twist that Michael suggests pairing with a summer salad.  One thing he said that surprised me.  I have a hard time pairing wine with curry dishes and Abi recently paired their highly aromatic Traminette with a sweet curry dish.  His Traminette is an orange wine (fermented on the skins for the entire fermentation process). 

An important point I learned from Michael, and there were many, was the (my) misuse of the words natural wine.  There is no legal definition, but it is used by many in the wine industry.  With no legal definition there is a wide range of how people define the term.  His goal is not to make a wine without additives, but rather to make good wine.  He is more concerned with what goes on with the grape before harvest than what is done in the cellar.  From this belief comes his desire to use non-vinifera grapes that are more disease resistant and thus require less vineyard management.  He is committed to using North Carolina vineyards.  He is transparent in his winemaking process and uses the opportunity to educate people on growing grapes with the most limited human interaction possible.  This entire conversation started with my saying that natural wines tasted more like ciders than still wines.  Which if you remove that term you could say yes they do.  Ciders (and naturally made wines) have more dissolved CO2 than still wine.  

Euda Wine offers a tasting of 3 generous pours for $14.  You have the choice of sitting at the bar and enjoying a guided tour with Michael or you can take each pour to your table.  We were joined by several friends and ended up taking up 3 tables so we elected to do our tasting at the table.  Some of our group were trying Pét-natfor the first time.  It was fun to discuss various reactions. 

When asked about the response to their grand opening, he was overwhelmed by the turnout.  His  2023 vintage will include another rosé, a Sauvignon Blanc and more reds and sparklings. Once the warm weather has settled in he will expand their operating hours and offer food trucks and events.  For now they are open 12-6 Saturday and Sunday.  Check their website for the latest details.

Isle, Ray 2023,’What Exactly is a Pét-Nat?’, Food & Wine.

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