JOLO Winery & Vineyards, located in the Yadkin Valley town of Pilot Mountain, enters the new year on a roll after capturing five gold medals in various competitions in 2018.
The most recent accolades came in November when the winery’s Crimson Creek earned the three highest honors at the 2018 Harvest Challenge in Sonoma. The red wine won a gold medal, was named Best of North Carolina AVA and also Best of Class. Fewer than one percent of wines submitted at Sonoma won Best of Class.
“Crimson Creek has that beautiful balance wine critics look for,” says JOLO owner and winemaker JW Ray. “It has fruit, acidity and polished tannins. We style ours similar to a Pinot Noir.”
Earlier last year, Crimson Creek brought home gold medals from the International Sommelier Wine Challenge in San Diego and the Western Carolina Wine Competition. Crimson Creek is made from the chambourcin grape, a French-American hybrid from the Loire Valley of France. The loosely formed grape clusters do well in Yadkin Valley because they allow air to flow around the grapes, reducing the risk of disease.
JOLO’s Golden Hallows, a white wine, also had a fantastic year in 2018 with a gold medal at the International Sommelier Wine Challenge in San Diego and a double gold at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition.
Golden Hallows is a blend of vidal blanc and traminette grapes. Ray considers it a crowd pleaser because it combines fruit-forward flavor with a nice, crisp finish.
Since opening the winery, tasting room and restaurant in 2014, the Ray family has made an effort to produce high-quality wines and create a welcoming experience. A year full of medals from wine competition judges, along with a record number of wine club members, proves JOLO is doing something — or perhaps many things — right.
“We’ve always believed our wines can compete with international offerings that cost up three times our retail price and these awards go a long way to confirming our assertions,” Ray says.
JOLO is one of 15 wineries on the Surry County Wine Trail. To receive a free trail map by mail, go to:www.YadkinValleyNC.com.