Before the first grape vine was planted, the owners and staff of JOLO Winery & Vineyards sought to set a new standard in wine making and hospitality in the region.
Winemaking has been a lifelong dream turned reality for entrepreneurs and wine enthusiasts JW and Kristen Ray. JW spent over 10 years in the food and beverage industry, including owning his own restaurant at 19 years of age and working for two five-star hotel properties. In 2010, upon the successful sale of Learn.com, which JW co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer, the time had come to trade in his Zegna suit and tie and Ferragamo shoes for a tractor and a good pair of work boots. Kristen was just as ready to leave 20 years of the corporate sales world behind and to store her briefcase and dress pumps in the closet. The search for the perfect place for the winery brought them to the historic Yadkin Valley AVA. The rolling hills, now home to JOLO, are perched over 900 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Piedmont region boasting majestic views of Pilot Mountain. Previously, the vineyard estate had not been used for widespread agricultural purposes due to the rocky soil and hilly nature of the property. However, what is less ideal for farming makes for perfect conditions for world class grape growing. Most of the south facing sections in the vineyard require hand farming as the terrain is too steep for tractors. Thus our goal is to not compete on price but to provide inimitable guest services alongside superior wine production in North Carolina.
Although the vines yielded a promising bounty of fruit during 2012 harvest, the fruit was cut early and put back into the land for soil nourishment. The first bottling/vintage of JOLO wine varietals took place in the fall of 2013.
Our 2015 growing season was the best in our new history. Warm, sunny, dry days marked the majority of the ripening season here at JOLO.