Owner(s): Wright Family
Winemaker: George Butler
Open to Public
Daily 10 to 6
7005 Caratoke Hwy, Jarvisburg, NC 27947
phone: (252) 491-2387
Sanctuary Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian—Sep 11, 2019
The idea of a winery on North Carolina’s coast my conjure images of sweet Muscadine wines or products made from sourced juice, but set those preconceptions aside. Sanctuary Vineyards near Jarvisburg is easily one of the states best producers.
There’s no reason this should seem improbable. Just north, in Virginia, there are some stellar wineries working with similar conditions. Granted, Sanctuary is a little further south, but the maritime winds and good drainage help mitigate many of the viticultural challenges. At least 60% of the fruit used to make the Sanctuary wines is grown on the estate (the other 40% comes from other NC growers) and the results are nothing short of remarkable.
The coastal property has been farmed by seven generations of the Wright family. It was the two most recent generations that converted the land to grapes in 2001. Today there are 30 acres growing 16 different European varieties. This fruit is used to make between 7000 and 8000 cases of fine wine annually.
I was able to taste through a few recommended wines. Among these was a very respectable Chardonnay, but two others are worthy of even higher praise. The Albariño was one of these. It had the characteristics typical of a Spanish Albariño with enough acidity to make it a great accompaniment to seafood.
The Orange wine is another that deserves mention. Crafted from Viognier, it had just enough skin contact to impart some color and complexity. It was a wine intended for food, but can easily substitute for a cocktail.
Among the reds, I tasted a very good Bordeaux blend, but my favorite of the tasting was also the most unique. Few, if any, east-coast growers are producing Aglianco. This grape is indigenous to southern Italy, so it does well in the hot, maritime North Carolina growing season. The Sanctuary example had ripe fruit and nice tannic structure making it an excellent food wine. This is one you simply have to taste.
By any standard, Sanctuary Vineyards is a top producer and must-visit east coast winery. I don’t think you can claim to know eastern wines without getting to know this winery. So after you stop in, please let me know what you think.