Waldensian heritage flows with wine (certainly not the worst historic trait to have). Centuries ago, in the Cottian Alps, west of Torino, Italy and the Western Piedmont of Italy, the Waldensians learned the craft of creating great wines. One reason that Historic Valdese was favored by Waldensian settlers is the terrain, climate and soil composition here was similar to their homes in Italy. And today, these wine-making skills are preserved by Waldensian Heritage Wines, located a couple of miles north of downtown Valdese.
Visitors can witness processes that reflect a combined 250 years experience in winemaking. Built of local field rock and timbers, the Waldensian Heritage Winery opened in 1930. The grape-wine process is mostly manual – a year-round cycle that includes crushing the grapes, fermenting, filtering, blending, bottling, and labeling. No wine is bottled from bulk storage until there is a need or sold until it has at least one year of aging because, to quote an old adage, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Manual operation of producing quality wines by using old world technologies, coupled with some modern equipment and innovations, creates wines that have a “true taste of the grape.”
Specialty wines available at the Waldensian Heritage Winery include Concord, Niagara, Seyval, Vudal, Cayguga, Delware, and Catawba. Three of the winery’s bottles are original, and five wines are blends from dry to sweet. The Winery has a presentation vineyard and an outside covered “boccia” (lawn bowling) court with an adjacent covered seating area. There are no salaried or paid workers at the Winery.
All production, distribution, marketing, and tours are with volunteers. Of course, there are some side benefits to working in a small winery. Besides the free wine-tasting held after production runs, there is the camaraderie and fellowship found only through a cooperative effort such as this. Visitors are welcome to join a conducted tour along with tasting various wines and an opportunity for purchasing. The Waldensian Heritage Winery is available for parties, meetings, reunions, wedding events or any scheduled gathering of friends.
Waldensian Heritage Winery
4950 Villar Lane, NE Valdese,
North Carolina 28690
Open Thursday through Sunday