Like a fine wine, Barefoot Landing is also getting better with time. After celebrating its 20th year of business, the North Myrtle Beach entertainment, shopping and dining complex is getting a new neighbor from North Carolina in the form of Duplin Winery.
The 40-year-old winery, located just north of Wilmington in the tiny town of Rose Hill, is expanding its operations to the Myrtle Beach area to gain name recognition with the Grand Strand's tourism market. The 15,000 square foot facility is being built between the House of Blues and Alligator Adventure and is expected to open in the spring of 2015.
The Duplin Winery expansion project plans to give visitors a behind the scenes look at the wine-making business, from the smashing of grapes to the bottling of wines to the tasting of the final product. Guests will take tours of the facility and participate in the process until the final and most fun step – sampling the many varieties of wines.
Duplin Winery makes a wide selection of Southern wines but specializes in a pair of grapes that have helped revolutionize the art of wine making – the Muscadine and the Scuppernong. These sweet grapes are native to the South, and the Carolinas boasts the best-tasting in the world, although grapes, like wine, are really a matter of taste.
But it was those sweet little juice nuggets that gave birth to the original Duplin Winery in the beginning. Founding fathers and brothers David and Jonathan Fussell started growing the grapes when they were selling for $350 per ton in the early 1970s, but when the prices crashed they decided to salvage their business by making wine.
Duplin Winery was a true family operation, with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and grandchildren helping to stomp grapes and deliver wines on the back of a hog trailer. The once snobbish wine establishment begrudgingly accepted and embraced Duplin Winery as it grew into the largest in the South, producing 1.4 million gallons annually.
Today the vineyard is being operated by the next generation of Fussells, sons Dave Jr. and Jonathan Jr. It has been their shared dream to expand the winery to Myrtle Beach, and the dream is currently under construction. Stay tuned for updates on the next chapter of Duplin Winery and its attempt to bring another sweet attraction to the Grand Strand.
For those looking to get a sneak preview of the Duplin Winery, or to make a day trip to check out the vineyard, it's only about a two-hour drive from the Grand Strand to Rose Hill, NC. Free tours of the largest wine-production facility on the East Coast (Duplin boasts a 1.5 million gallon production capacity) and free tastings are held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Visitors also may want to consider making the journey for the annual Grape Stomping Festival or the upcoming Down Home Country Christmas Show, featuring live music, great food and, of course, wine.
Duplin Winery offers three dozen different wines, many of them named and inspired by locations in the Carolinas, such as the Bald Head Island Red, Beaufort Bay, Sweet Catawba blend and the Hattaras Red. Several popular choices include the Muscadine Rouge and the Scuppernong Blush. Visitors can purchase bottles and other souvenirs at the gift shop, or join the wine of the Heritage Club and receive regular shipments of Duplin Winery’s latest concoctions. There’s also an on-site restaurant that incorporates their wines into the menu, such as the Burgundy Chicken or the Port Filet Mignon.
(Photo Courtesy: duplinwinery.com)