By opening the doors to Childress Vineyards in 2004, NASCAR team owner Richard Childress fulfilled a longtime dream that grew from the days when he first began racing in California and visited wineries with friends. What began as camaraderie and good times soon became an engaging passion for world-class wines and then the vision to build a world-class winery.
After looking at options in California and New York, Richard chose farmland in Lexington, NC located less than five miles from his RCR Racing operations. The location situated Childress Vineyards as the gateway to the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), North Carolina’s first federally designated region for grape growing.
Childress Vineyards is one of the most prominent wineries in the state’s re-emerging wine industry that has grown from 21 to more than 100 wineries since the year 2000. Winemaking thrived in North Carolina at the turn of the century; in fact, the Sixth Federal Census showed North Carolina leading all states in wine production until the onset of Prohibition in 1920.
Just as quality is a hallmark at RCR Racing, so it is at Childress Vineyards. Richard’s reputation to field championship NASCAR racing teams with top personnel and the best equipment has also been employed here at Childress Vineyards. With support from his friend and business partner Greensboro, NC businessman Greg Johns, Richard sought the expertise and advice of an East Coast expert: award-winning winemaker Mark Friszolowski.
Mark has worked in many of the world’s wine regions since 1975. He came to Childress Vineyards from the largest premium winery on Long Island, NY, where he won more than 350 awards for his wines, including twice named to the 50 Best Wines of the World.
Childress Vineyards features 72 acres of vineyards and 11 varieties of European Vitis vinifera cultivars at two vineyards sites: Richard’s Hampton Road Estate in Davidson County and Vineyard Crossing at the winery site. The terroir, with its combination of humid climate, long growing season and gravely, red clay soil are the key natural features of Childress Vineyards.
White varieties include Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. The red varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Syrah.
Childress Vineyards produces a broad range of wines to appeal to both the introductory palate and the seasoned taster. More than 30 wines are produced including Classic house blends, premium varietals, a sparkling wine, dessert wines, Reserves, Signature Reserves and Muscadine wines.
From the selection of the grapes to the care in winemaking, Childress Vineyards takes meticulous steps to bring world-class wines to the market. Those efforts have paid off in competitions from New York to California in which Childress Vineyards wines have won numerous gold medals since opening in 2004, including Double Gold, Concordance Gold and Best of Show honors for wines produced in every category. Total medal count in the years of operation has exceeded 750, including NC Governor's Cup awards, acknowledging Childress Vineyards as the premier vintner in the state.
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