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Guests at North Beach Plantation don't have to travel very far to experience the fruity flavors of the Carolinas' finest wines. Duplin Winery, the largest winery in the South, has opened an outpost in North Myrtle Beach at the popular Barefoot Landing complex, which is just across Highway 17 from North Beach.
Located beside the House of Blues and Alligator Adventure, the new Duplin Winery location opened in the summer of 2015 and has been packing people into the 15,000 square foot facility for wine tastings, a cafe and bar, and wine-making tours that carry visitors through every stage of the process. Duplin Winery even played host to the inaugural Grape Stomp Festival in which contestants added new meaning to the term Barefoot Landing by competing in a grape-smashing contest in giant oak barrels using only their feet.
"We have dreamed of opening a location along the Grand Strand for a long time," said Duplin Winery president Jonathan Fussell, whose father co-founded the winery with his brother on their family farm in 1976. “We’re excited about bringing the laid-back North Carolina wine country experience to the beach.
"In the wine country of North Carolina, we’re serious about our wines but relaxed about life, and so our wine tours are just a little different than others that people might have experienced. Our focus is on fun and we try our very best to show our guests a good time. We expect our Grand Strand tasting station to become a gathering place for current Duplin customers visiting the area, and an inviting spot for folks who want to experience our wines for the first time."
Duplin Winery, which is located just over the Carolina border in Rose Hill, N.C., brings a proud family history to the Grand Strand. What started as a small family operation has bloomed into a booming business. Producing more than 1.4 million gallons of wine annually, Duplin Winery has gained international fame for its award-winning muscadine and scuppernong wines. Native to the Carolinas and throughout the South, these sweet grapes create a flavor array of dessert wines that have put Duplin Winery on the map in wine circles.
The small-town winery is branching out to a larger market with its new location at North Myrtle Beach's popular Barefoot Landing. The antique-looking barn structure holds tasting stations for regular sample sessions. Guests can purchase wine and souvenirs as well as dine at the restaurant, The Bistro. Serving unique Southern cuisine, many of the dishes include sauces made from its own brand of wines.
Offering daily tours, Duplin Winery provides guests with a little introductory background about its roots, and its bread and butter - the muscadine and scuppernong grapes that make their "sipping wines" so sweet. The tours cover the art of winemaking process, from the picking of the grapes to the fermentation process, and then guests can head to the tasting stations to put their newly refined taste buds and pallet to the test.
Duplin Winery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and tours are available anytime during their regular hours of operation. The gift shop allows visitors to take a bottle of wine or two home with them as gifts or souvenirs, or maybe even for a nightcap on your oceanfront balcony back at North Beach.
For guests who prefer a more rural wine experience, check out La Belle Amie Vineyards in nearby Little River. Built on 40 acres of Carolina woodlands and wetlands, La Belle Amie offers tours of the property and wine tastings, as well as biweekly festivals with live music, bonfires, food and, of course, wine.