By definition, agrotourism is the combination of both tourism and agriculture. For those longing for peace and quiet, scenic mountain views and an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, a trip to an area that offers that serenity may be just what you are seeking. Johnson County, Tennessee, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, not only offers abundant activities such as fishing and outdoor adventures on Doe Mountain, but it can now boast its first winery.
Watauga Lake Winery opened its doors on Thursday, November 1st at the old Dry Run Elementary School. The winery currently offers two red wines, along with three whites that range from dry to sweet. Owners Linda and Wayne Gay are planning on producing eight wines by the time summer rolls around. According to Wayne, most of their wines are a blend of various grapes. All of their licensing and business regulations fall under the realm of agriculture.
The different varieties of grapes are grown on the Guys property in the Dry Hill region of the county. It typically takes three to four years before the grapes are mature enough to use in the winemaking process. When the Guys moved to Johnson County, they built an Italian-style home and decided a grape arbor would make for nice landscaping. Several years and approximately 3,500 grapevines later, the Guys decided to open Watauga Lake Winery in an effort to help encourage tourism in Johnson County.
Watauga Lake Winery offers red and white wines with names that come from this region of the state and our neighboring counties of Watauga and Avery in North Carolina. Their wines are processed on-site. The Big Dry Run Red is named for the stream across from the winery. It is a dry, bold and fruity wine. Copperhead Hollow Red is a blend of three different grapes. Doe Mountain Red is a full-bodied red wine named after our own Doe Mountain. Elk River White is a dry yet crispy white wine with an essence of fruit and offers a touch of sweetness. The Watauga River White is a fruity, semi-sweet wine and delicious. The Villa Nove White is named after the Guys own vineyard and is a sweet white wine. Forge Mountain Mist is a fruity wine with hints of peach and grapefruit. Iron Mountain Sunset is a blush wine, a combination of two different grapes. Laurel Creek Surprise offers tastes of both raspberry and chocolate.
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