Kefi Vineyards and Winery
As we usually do when we visit a new area we check out the wineries. When our older son moved into his apartment we discovered Kefi Vineyards and Winery in Monroe, North Carolina. Kefi specializes in Greek style wine. I have to admit I really didn’t know anything about Greek wines. Vasiliki, the owner, is a delightful lady who took the time to explain how her Greek heritage formed the foundation of the winery. Kefi is a Greek word that means the “ joy of life” or “having a zest for life” and boy does she. Her parents instilled in her a desire to work hard and a love for the outdoors. Through that hard work and dedication she became a physician and a mother of four. Still she thought about her next adventure of growing grapes. She found the perfect property that needed a makeover. After much research she decided to grow grape varietals that were familiar to her Greek heritage. Most visitors are new to her aromatic wines.
Kefi Winery is a first generation estate winery which covers fourteen acres. They have grown fourteen Greek style grape varieties. Their grape grafted stalks are shipped from California and grown on the property.
Vasiliki and her daughter, Alexa, greeted us as we walked in the beautiful tasting room. They opened their tasting room in 2018. There is a huge bar to sit with Alexa as she leads you through the tasting experience. We split a tasting of all their wines. Alexa gave us a wine tasting scorecard to keep track of our notes. European wines tend to be on the dry side and these followed suit. Both ladies were extremely knowledgeable of wines and winemaking. As we tasted each wine she explained the story behind the wine. Several people came in and joined us. Alexa did a great job keeping up with where everyone was in their own tasting. We discovered that Alexa and for that matter her mother are older than anyone guessed. I guessed Greek genes are great to have.
When we finished our tasting we moved the spacious sitting area off the tasting room to make room for a new group that stopped by. We split a bottle of the Red Odyssey. It was a blend of two grapes: 50% Aglianico and 50% Negro Amaro. It is aged in oak with dark cherries, pepper and juniper on the nose. You first enjoy this wine by its aroma. It is unlike any other aroma and taste I have experienced before. I brought home a bottle of Malvasia Bianca. When they described this wine the word they used was “unique”. It is this and more. It has peach and apricot on the palate with a light citrus lingering on the tongue.
One entire wall is family pictures that tell the story behind this winery. Vasiliki came over and explained how each person influenced her life and her dream of growing grapes and making Greek wine. It was an incredible display of family history.
Vasiliki was busy making amazing charcuterie boards.
The seating inside is cozy and there is covered patio seating outside. There are also grassy areas for larger groups to gather. I would bring blankets for those areas. We sat outside for a bit and watched one of their sons work in the vines. People often forget vineyards are working farms where there are no weekends.
As we talked with Vasiliki we ended up discussing grappa and had explained to her how we just tasted it for the first time in London over Easter. Grappa is made from the promace (grape seeds, stalks, and steam that are leftover from the winemaking). It contains up to 60% alcohol. Italians drink grappa as an after dinner drink to aid in digestion. We told her we were not big fans. She graciously brought out grappa that a friend had made. It was definitely better than what we had previously tasted. I encourage you to try it when you have the chance.