Junius Lindsay Vineyard
We made a quick stop to visit Junius Lindsay in January while enjoying the day with UNCORKED Touring Company. We knew immediately that we would need to return to spend more time with Michael, Sarah and Terri. There are just some people that make you feel a part of the family. Michael talked wine with us and was genuinely happy we were there. Visiting a winery should be an experience to savor and enjoy. Junius Lindsay provides such an experience.
The vineyard is named for owner & grower Michael Zimmerman’s grandfather, Junius Lindsay Zimmerman, who with his bride, Beatrice Estelle Evans, started the Zimmerman farm in 1896. Junius Lindsay Zimmerman was the proprietor of the Arcadia Mill and farmed while Beatrice raised five children and taught school. The property was passed down through the generations of the Zimmerman family until landing with Michael.
After living abroad for many years while working in the foreign service, Michael Zimmerman returned home to the family homestead with a dream of turning the century-old Zimmerman farm into a vineyard that would produce fine, old world style French wines. Traveling extensively in France and the Rhone Valley, in particular, Michael developed a love for French wines. Many people believed that growing quality grapes from tobacco farm land wasn’t possible. Vineyard after Yadkin Valley vineyard has proven this notion inaccurate. What Michael Zimmerman has accomplished is produce extraordinary wines within the framework of the soil and climate conditions and using farming methods that work with the environment. Zimmerman’s grapes are grown and his wine is produced in the French old world style right here in the Yadkin Valley. French style wines are typically lower in alcohol content than California wines.
Upon moving back to the farm in the late 1990s, Zimmerman's goal had been to preserve the farm for future generations. The first two acres of grapes were planted in 2004 and eventually grew to 11 acres. The initial grape planted was Viognier, a rare white variety that originated in Condrieu, located on France's Northern Rhône river. This variety traces its heritage back over 2000 years! Later varieties that were added include: Syrah, Petite Sirah, Roussanne, and Grenache; all common grape varieties of Southern France.
Junius Lindsay began solely as a vineyard with Michael selling his grapes to Childress Winery. After a time Micheal soon embraced the fact that selling wine was more profitable than selling grapes. As seems to be the case within the North Carolina wine industry there is a great deal of cooperation between wineries. Once Zimmerman decided to move into wine production he and Childress winemaker, Mark Friszolowski, collaborated on producing Junius Lindsay wines under their own label. This partnership has lasted almost 20 years. One would think that the more established wineries would limit the competition of smaller vineyards who don’t have the wine production facilities, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Entering the property you wander through the vines lining the driveway. The first sight that grabs your attention is the tasting room. The open air tasting room, designed by Don Ruth is beautifully decorated with stained glass windows. If weather permits the panels are raised and you feel as though you are sitting in the French countryside. In cooler weather the panels are lowered and heaters provide a pleasant temperature. They are open on weekends 1-5. Special group tastings can be arranged on Fridays. Premium tastings are $20 and include 5 dry wines and a port style wine. The estate tasting is $14 and includes 3 off dry wines and 1 port style. Picnics are encouraged and pets are welcome that are leashed and well behaved. The staff ask you to make a reservation for groups 6 or more. We always suggest checking out their website here (this will be a link to your website) to get complete details on upcoming food, music and events.
Tastings are done tableside at your leisure. The first wine in our tasting was the Special Delivery Rose. It is a totally dry rose with perfect acid balance and finish. Our next tasting was the Second Leaf, a blend of Viognier and Rousssanne varieties. This was my first experience with the Roussanne grape varietal. Next came a red blend, Triomphe. Perhaps my most pleasant surprise was the Syrah Reserve. Not typically a peppery finish fan of a Syrah; this Syrah didn’t have that finish, but still remained bold. This is a red I could drink often. To round out our tasting we enjoyed the Rhapsody, a port style wine with 18% Petit Syrah. I didn’t find this dessert wine as heavy as some can be and was a plus in my book.
Junius Lindsay provides a small boutique winery experience. Rather than having an extensive wine list that tries to cover every palate, they have a select wine list that is focused on staying true to the original dream of French style wines. There is no pretentious vibe that you might encounter at bigger wineries. I have always said the smaller, family owned and operated wineries are our favorite. Micheal, Terri and Sarah could not have been more open and friendly. I am glad they were on our tour and we had the opportunity to visit for a longer stay.