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Burntshirt Vineyards honored in wine competition

Kathleen Watson displays a bottle of 2011 Grüner Veltliner. Kathleen Watson displays a bottle of 2011 Grüner Veltliner.

Burntshirt Vineyards took top honors in an international wine competition run by the wine industry trade publication Vineyard & Winery Management.

Burntshirt Vineyard's 2011 Grüner Veltliner and Merlot wines received the awards in the 2012 International Women's Wine Competition (IWWC) recently held in California. The Grüner Veltliner wine was awarded the highest honors with a Double Gold medal and Best of Class designation in the Other White Varietal category against producers from France, California, Greece and Virginia.

The Merlot wine was awarded a bronze medal in a category that included name brand wine producers such as Francis Ford Coppola and Rodney Strong from California's highly touted Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Burntshirt Vineyards, the 114th winery to open in the state and second to open in Henderson County this year, was the only North Carolina winery that medaled in both the White Varietal and Merlot categories.

The International Women's Wine Competition was judged entirely by leading women in the wine industry. It recognizes not only the best wines submitted, but also the wines they most feel would appeal to women wine buyers and consumers. IWWC is committed to the highest standards of competition. Wines were judged from a field of over 860 entries. Judges awarded a total of 27 Double Gold, 73 Gold and 268 Silver medals. Results are now posted on or at

To celebrate the opening and the recent success of their awards in the International Women's Wine Competition, owners Lemuel and Sandra Oates and their family are holding a VIP Grand Opening tonight that will pay homage to the legend of Burntshirt Mountain for which their winery is named.
Besides Grüner Veltliner, a grape most commonly grown in Austria, and Merlot, Burntshirt Vineyards also offers a Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, Vidal Blanc and a red wine blend called "Altitude 3400," which is named for the altitude of Burntshirt Mountain upon which 6 acres of grapes are planted. The remaining 19 acres of land under vines are across from the Tasting Room on Sugarloaf Road.

Burntshirt Vineyards officially opened its Tasting Room on Sept. 15. The vineyards were planted in 2009. The harvest of 2011 is the winery's first vintage.


The Tasting Room hours of operation are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 12-6 p.m. and from 12-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tours will be conducted during operating hours at 2 p.m. or by appointment. Group tours may be scheduled in advance.