Watauga Lake Winery receives ‘most coveted’ state award
Published 8:22 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
The Watauga Lake Winery was recently recognized for producing the best Tennessee wine made entirely with locally grown fruit.
Owners Linda and Wayne Gay’s “Cracker’s Neck Red,” made from grapes grown in Butler, Tennessee, received the William O. Beach Award for 2015. Gay said the competition is open to all Tennessee wineries and is presented at the Tennessee Farm Wine Grower’s Alliance Convention in Knoxville.
“It’s the most coveted award in the state among wine makers,” she said. “It’s the first time a little winery like us has won it, it’s usually the big guys.”
U.S. Congressman Phil Roe made a visit to Butler Friday to congratulate the vintners and to recognize the pride this brings to the northeast Tennessee region.
“Visiting small businesses across our region provides me with the opportunity to learn about the challenges and successes of job creators in East Tennessee,” said Roe. “Tourism is one of the top drivers of our local economy, and I was pleased to be at Watauga Lake Winery, a place locals and tourists alike can enjoy. I thank the owners, Wayne and Linda Gay, and staff for their hospitality and congratulate them on building a successful small business.”
The award was part of the 2015 Wines of the South Competition, in which three of their wines were awarded. In addition to the Beach award, the Cracker’s Neck Red received the Concordance Gold Award, their Duncan Hollow received the Gold Award and Villa Nove received Silver. Also in 2015, at the Asheville Food and Wine Festival, their Fox Hollow received a Double Gold medal, and Duncan Hollow received a Gold.
In another competition, the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition, four of their wines received Silver medals: Copperhead Hollow, Roan Creek, Black Bear Ridge, and Forge Mountain Mist.