My namesake, The RagApple Lassie Vineyard, happily grows in the small Yadkin County town of Boonville, North Carolina, located about 25 miles northwest of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and just under the western gaze of Pilot Mountain (to you Andy Griffith fans, this is Mount Pilot). Vineyards are not new to North Carolina, in fact, 150 years ago, North Carolina produced more grapes than all other states combined. However, the grapes grown at the time were Concords and they did not survive the interruptions caused by World War I and Prohibition. Once again vineyards are flourishing in North Carolina, particularly in Yadkin and surrounding counties. This is no surprise because elevations of approximately 1,200 feet, soil composition and microclimates of the protected river basin make this area one of the best for producing quality wine grapes.
Many hundreds of years ago, the Yadkin River Valley, located in the fertile foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was home to thousands of Indians including the Saura, Cheraw, Catawba and Cherokee Tribes. Water from the Yadkin River and its many tributaries was plentiful, game was abundant, crop land was rich, and the weather was mild compared to the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountain chain. To this day, following a heavy rain, the bottom lands of the river valley are filled with people looking for arrowheads and other artifacts left by the first Yadkin Valley dwellers.
It is in this beautiful river basin that in addition to Indian treasures, the land offers some of the finest, full-bodied, appealing wine grapes grown on the eastern seaboard. And, it is in this fertile area that the RagApple Lassie Vineyard is located.
And, how did my humans come to call their vineyard "RagApple Lassie?"
Well, fifty or so years ago, when the farmer/owner of this vineyard was just a little tyke, he, like most young boys who grew up on farms, was given his own calf to love, groom and teach how to stand "just so" so he could participate in the calf shows. For boys raised on farms this was de rigueur and very competitive. The calf he came to own, a pretty little black and white Holstein, was me - RagApple Lassie! Immediately, my human and I forged a very special bond. I loved to be washed and brushed and paraded in shows and I won the title of Grand Champion at the North Carolina State Calf Show. But even more special to me was the whistle of my human, Frank, Jr. When I heard his whistle, I came trotting from any location because it meant there would be alfalfa pellets in his pocket for me to nuzzle out. Later, when Frank was courting his wife, Lenna, he told her so much about me and all the things we did that she instinctively knew the affection we shared. So, when the search began for a special name for their new vineyard, my name, RagApple Lassie, was the obvious choice.
Because I was used to wearing Grand Champion Ribbons and such, I now get to wear the treasured arrowhead pendant that my human, Frank Jr., designed and gave to his wife, Lenna. This now famous pendant was Lenna's Valentine present several years ago and showcases a very rare Clovis point arrowhead found on the Hobson farm. The arrowhead, chiseled from jasper over 12,000 years ago, is held by a 14K-gold bezel surrounded by diamonds. Everywhere Lenna wears this pendant, people comment on its unique beauty so I am excited to get to wear it when I get all dressed up for the photo shoots advertising the vineyard!
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