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1861 Farmhouse uncorks success

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Sep. 19, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 19, 2013
1861 Farmhouse uncorks success

The 1861 Farmhouse has added seven more medals to its collection, having won big in the 2013 Southeast Mid-Atlantic Wine Competition.

Photo submitted

The 1861 Farmhouse in Valle Crucis is building quite a reputation for winemaking, in addition to its established culinary prowess that delights High Country taste buds with home-style cooking.

The antiquated farmhouse-turned-restaurant recently captured seven medals for its cast of entries into the 2013 Southeast Mid-Atlantic Wine Competition.

“Of course, we were thrilled, and I say this in all humility, but this happened for us last year, too,” 1861 Farmhouse co-owner Alison Garrett said. “Last year, we entered five wines in this competition, and each one medaled either silver or gold. This year, we entered seven wines, and we received three golds, two silvers and two bronze medals.”

Despite prior success, Garrett said she was cautiously optimistic about this year’s competition.

“You never know how these competitions are going to go,” she said. “You make a wine, and you think it’s good, and the feedback from our customers is good. Then you send it to a competition, and you hope that the judges, who have tasted thousands of wines and who are experts in the structures, nuances and the detection of faults in wines, will like it, too. It is very gratifying when they do.”

The sudden rush of awards for the budding winery is impressive, considering this is only the winery’s second year in operation.

What makes this competition significant, in our eyes, is that it covers such a large region,” Garrett said. “It is my understanding that some 600 wines are entered in different categories, in blind taste tests. We are humbled to be in the company of so many great winemakers, who are bringing recognition and credibility to the industry and, in particular, to the state of North Carolina.”

Even more gratifying to the winery’s quick success was how it captured the gold.

“When you come out with one medal, it is a great accomplishment,” Garrett said. “But to have a ‘sweep,’ well, let me just say that I am very proud of our efforts here at The 1861 Farmhouse.”

Like many wineries, 1861 does not grow its own grapes for the wines the owners submit.

While we initially wanted to, the realization that our Valle Crucis property is north-facing prohibited us from being able to grow here,” said Garrett’s husband and 1861 co-owner, Steve Garrett. “So that led us down another path (of) buying grapes from other area growers.”

Almost immediately, the Garretts knew they made the right choice.

“What seemed initially a disadvantage for us has proven a great advantage,” Steve Garrett said. “Alison and I are able to visit different vineyards and taste the grapes before we buy them. We only buy great harvests. When you start with a good grape, you have a much better chance of making a good wine.”

About The 1861 Farmhouse

The 1861 Farmhouse is located at a 153-year-old, restored, Civil War-era farmhouse, and Alison Garrett said it is the only restaurant in the High Country with both its own organic garden and winery.

“Visitors come and enjoy the history, atmosphere, food and wine so much that they go back home and send their friends here,” she said. “I also want to say that the locals have been so incredibly supportive of what we are doing. We are incredibly grateful for their support.”

The 1861 Farmhouse is located at 3608 N.C. 194 in Valle Crucis. For more information, call (828) 963-6301 or visit

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