Westbend Vineyards

Westbend Vineyards
5394 Williams Road
Lewisville, NC 27023
(336) 945-5032

Jack Kroustalis, who had a career in the food equipment business, and his wife, Lillian, became interested in growing grapes after traveling to other vineyards around the country and the world. In 1972 they acquired some land near the west bend of the Yadkin River and planted a handful of European varietals: Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Kroustalises were the first to plant vinifera grapes in the Yadkin Valley. While they were confident in their new venture, others were not. But Jack’s persistence paid off, and in 1976 they harvested seventy tons of grapes. Initially, they sold their fruit; in 1988 they opened as a bonded winery. Today, Westbend Vineyards is part of the Yadkin Valley appellation, North Carolina’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA), which is now home to more than twenty wineries.  And as the industry grew, so did the vineyard. Westbend currently grows a dozen different varietals and produces twenty distinctive wines. One of those wines is a commemorative port, Jack’s Legacy, named in honor of the vineyard’s founder, who passed away in 2006. Lillian remains at the helm of Westbend Vineyards, overseeing the business she and her husband started together almost four decades ago.

Date of interview:

August 12, 2008

Interviewer:

Amy C. Evans

Photographer:

Amy C. Evans

Westbend Vineyards - Lillian Kroustalis - Wine in the South
In order to find out what does and doesn’t do well, [in the 1970s], there was no advice. Agricultural authorities didn’t know what worked for Chardonnay and Cabernet in this area because it hadn't been done, so we did do it by trial and error. And to hedge our bets because there was so much negativity, we planted three French-American hybrid varieties, which are wonderful to deal with and not quite as sensitive to weather changes as the vinifera.
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