Hinnant Family Vineyards

Hinnant Family Vineyards
826 Pine Level-Micro Road
Pine Level, NC 27568
(919) 965-3350

Willard Hinnant, a dentist by trade, grew up on a farm in Pine Level, North Carolina. When he inherited the family land, the price for tobacco was low, and he needed another way for the farm to maintain an income. Willard remembered one of his history professors at the University of North Carolina mentioning that he couldn’t understand why the state didn’t have a wine industry, so in 1970 Willard decided to grow some grapes: Muscadines. Unfortunately, though, the price for grapes wasn’t good when they made their first harvest. So instead of selling to other wineries, they simply maintained their small vineyard, selling fresh Muscadines to produce markets, for the next twenty years. But in 1990 things changed. The price for grapes and the growing interest in wine inspired Willard to start making some wine of his own. Hinnant Family Vineyards opened as a bonded winery in 2002, with Willard’s son, Bob, part of the new venture. Together, they maintain the largest Muscadine vineyard in the state.

Date of interview:

August 15, 2008

Interviewer:

Amy C. Evans

Photographer:

Amy C. Evans

Hinnant Family Vineyards - Willard Hinnant and Bob Hinnant - Wine in the South
My family were farmers…The big thing on farming is that everybody is turning them into housing developments because that’s the better way to get money out of it, but we’re trying to build a business that this land will support a business and couple families.

Before Prohibition, North Carolina was the largest wine producing state in the country, and it was Muscadine and it was not anything else. So it’s a good grape. It’s a Southern grape.
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