NC Wine Month
Like many other celebrations this year, North Carolina Wine Month was celebrated in September in a very limited way. However, many of our North Carolina vineyards are beginning to open up once again on a limited basis, and would sure like to see some visitors. For North Carolina vineyards and wineries, September generally brings sipping, stomping, and celebrating our bountiful wine and grape harvest. For the entire month there are festivals, special wine pairing dinners, vineyard tours, and much more. We hope they will all return next season, but for now here are a few facts about North Carolina Wine.
According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there are around 200 wineries in the state and 6 American Viticultural Areas. An American Viticultural Area is the United States’ official designation of wine-growing regions, located in growing regions with same or similar climate, soil, elevation, and physical features. The AVA is used on wine labels to indicate the region of origin. To be eligible for the distinction, 85% of the grapes used in the wine must be grown in the designated AVA wine region. The last economic impact study revealed nearly $2 billion impact on the North Carolina economy, a newer study is currently being conducted and is expected to exceed that number.
North Carolina’s early winemaking success owes it’s beginnings to the muscadine or scuppernong grape. It was the first cultivated grape in the United States. The Mothervine in Manteo, a nearly 500 year old suppernong vine, is the oldest known cultivated grapevine in the country.
Other fun facts are that prior to prohibition North Carolina was one of the productive wine states in the U.S., operating 25 wineries. Medoc Vineyard in Halifax County was the first commercial winery established in North Carolina.
Check out the wineries in your area and as they begin to reopen, take some time for a visit. Meanwhile here are some recipes shared by North Carolina Wineries.
From the Duplin Winery Family Favorites
Muscadine Marinated Pork Chops
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon Queen Anne’s Revenge or substitute with Duplin Burgundy
- 2 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 pork chops, trimmed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, wine, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup.
- Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, and spread with ½ the sauce.
- Bake pork chops 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn chops over and spread with remaining sauce. Continue baking 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chops has reached 165°F.
Southwest Seafood Chowder
- ¼ cup Canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 largo ancho chilis, seeded and cut into large pieces
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cup Carlos wine
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 dozen cherrystone clams. Scrubbed
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 1 package frozen corn kernels, thawed (or fresh)
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 pound skinless halibut fillet, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- 1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
- Oyster crackers or crusty bread, for serving
- In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the yellow onion, garlic, ancho chilis and fennel seeds, and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the Carlos wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are anchos are very tender and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minute. Stir in the milk.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Strain the soup into a heatproof bowl and rinse out the pot.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pot along with the clams. Cover and cook over high heat until the clams open, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the clams to a bowl and remove them from their shells, rinse to remove any grit. Chop the clams.
- Pour the clam cooking broth into a bowl and let the grit settle, then add the broth to the soup, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom. Season the soup lightly with salt and pepper. Rinse out the pot and wipe dry. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and heat until simmering. Add the potatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red onion, celery, chopped fennel and corn. Add the paprika and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the celery is crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add the soup and bring to a boil.
- Add the halibut, shrimp, and chopped clams to the soup and simmer until the halibut is white and the shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in shallow bowls with oyster crackers or crusty bread.
From Thistle Meadow Winery
Famous Garlic Soy Marinade
- ¼ cup Dracula’s Demise garlic-infused (garlic-infused wine)
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Mix all ingredients together. Pour marinade over two chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag.
- Refrigerate the breasts for 4-24 hours before cooking or grilling, the longer it is refrigerated the more flavor you will have. This can also be done with turkey, or pork.
From Laurel Gray Vineyards
Best Collard Greens
- 3 tablespoons Laurel Gray Artisan Vinaigrette
- 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/8 teaspoon red chili flake (or to taste)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 6 medium bunches collard greens, cleaned and trimmed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot combine the extra virgin olive oil, red chili flake, and garlic. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Gradually add the collard greens to the pot. You may have to add the greens in stages to allow time for them to boil down. Once all your greens have been added, lower the flame to a soft boil, add the vinegar and vinaigrette, and allow them to cook until tender, about 55 minutes. Serve with additional apple cider vinegar.
Roast Pork with Fig Wine Sauce
For the sauce
- 2 ½ cups Laurel Gray Scarlet Mountain wine
- 1 ¼ cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 8 dried figs, coarsely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pork
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus additional for seasoning
- 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1 (4-41/ pound) boneless pork loin
For the Sauce
- In a medium saucepan, combine the first 6 ingredients. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs and cinnamon sticks, some of the leaves will remain. Transfer the wine mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in butter. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
For the Pork
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Stir in the oil, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a small bowl to blend. Place the pork loin in a heavy roasting pan. Spread the oil mixture over the pork to cover completely. Roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 160°F, turning the pork every 15 minutes to ensure even browning, about 45 minutes total.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with the foil to keep warm. Let the pork rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the chicken broth into the roasting pan. Place the pan over medium heat, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits. Bring the pan juices to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a large sharp knife, cut the pork lengthwise into ¼ inch thinks slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates. Spoon the jus over. Drizzle with the warm fig sauce and serve immediately.
- Serve with a bottle of Scarlet Mountain wine and invite your friends.