Monday, 3 March 2008

The First Native American Winery

North Carolina can now boast to having the first Native American Winery. When Darlene Gabbard started bottling wine, it was a hobby, something she gave away as gifts. Ten years later, her winery has become the first Native American-owned winery in the country. Native Vines Winery doesn't have expensive bottling equipment; instead they rely on simple manual machines to fill each bottle of wine individually.

Most of the wine names honour Gabbard's Indian heritage. She designed each bottle's labels with a turquoise arrowhead and traditional Indian design. You can choose between Warhorse Red Pinot Noir, Red Hawk Merlot and White Buffalo Chenin Blanc.

Gabbard says she hopes to be able to produce 10,000 gallons of wine a year, just enough to support their farm and their family. The farm also makes wine jellies, fruit wines, soaps and traditional home made preserves and pickles. The family hopes to have the renovations and an expansion of the winery completed by mid-April. That's when they plan to celebrate the grand opening with a Pow-Wow, a ceremony and a meeting among Native Americans.

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