The wine festival returns for winegrowers

DOBSON, North Carolina – During the coronavirus pandemic, Shelton Vineyards in Dobson has doubled its online sales, but now that things are picking up, winemakers face many more challenges, including supply chain issues and staff shortages.

What do you want to know

The Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is back for the first time since the pandemic and will be held this weekend in Elkin

Shelton Vineyards is the largest winery in North Carolina

Ethan Brown has been in the wine business since he was just 10 years old and worked for over 4 years at Shelton Vineyards as a winemaker.

“Here, just the vineyard and the winery are about 400 acres,” said Ethan Brown, winemaker at Shelton Vineyards.

Brown knows a thing or two about wine making.

“So I grew up in the wine industry. My parents planted a small wine grape vineyard in 2000. I was 10 years old and grew up working in the vineyard. My family actually had a little winery and a tasting room,” Brown said.

Brown has been a winemaker at Shelton Vineyards for four years, and the pandemic hasn’t slowed business at the vineyard.

“Online sales have been great over the last two years, really,” Brown said. “We tried new things. We started the wine flights in the tasting room and it’s not going away, it’s been very popular. I think a lot of it just forced us into new habits, which is a good thing.

Now that things are starting to get back to normal, winegrowers face new challenges.

“Honestly, staffing since the COVID restrictions eased but has been a little more challenging,” Brown said.

As the saying goes, the show must go on. One of the biggest shows that Triad Wineries and Vineyards are about to attend is the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival in Elkin, North Carolina

“Yadkin Valley is held in Elkin every year, and I think this is the first festival they’ve had post-COVID,” Brown said.

Already 1,300 tickets have been sold in advance. Usually, the festival sells 2,500 tickets in total. Luckily for Shelton Vineyards, they can attend the festival without a problem. Not all winegrowers are so lucky.

“I think it’s continuous exposure,” Brown said.

This continued exposure will not come for some. According to the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council, at least three wineries are not attending this year due to staff shortages.

Hopefully things don’t sit in the bottle too long and people get to taste the fine wines our state has to offer.

“The quality of North Carolina wines is better than it has ever been and is constantly improving,” Brown said.

People can sample some of these Carolina wines this weekend at the festival.

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