Official Review: Vineyards on the Scuppernong – Columbia, NC

by The Traveling Winers

The Scuppernong River

Along U.S. Highway 64 traveling through North Carolina toward our final destination in the Outer Banks, we stumbled upon a little winery alongside the road, in a very picturesque setting beside this winding river called the Scuppernong. It wasn’t difficult to catch our eye as you really can’t miss the big red letters on the top of the quaint little building, announcing that a winery resides within the walls. Feeling the need to explore this little stumbled-upon treasure, we decided to take a short break from our travels and visit our first North Carolina winery.

Grape History Along the Scuppernong

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As it turns out, although North Carolina isn’t the first state that comes to mind when thinking of the history of wines in the United States, it does have its place in grape history. Way back in the 1500’s, when the European settlers were sent to explore the eastern coast, they found awaiting them an abundant growth of grapes that appeared to be native to the land. The grape was called the Muscadine and was found all along the wide winding river called the Scuppernong. With over 300 cultivars of this varietal, the Scuppernong Muscadine was the very first named.

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Vineyard and winery owner, Jack Bishop, owns 300 acres of land along this beautiful river and discovered that his land was also the host of many Muscadine vines. Around the year 2000, Jack began his vineyard planting Muscadine vines as well as another native grape varietal, the Catawba. In 2008, in order to bring his wine closer to the ever-flowing traffic along U.S. Highway 64, Jack opened a tasting room in a restored building in nearby Columbia that used to serve as the town hall and fire station. It is a quaint little set-up with plenty of room for tasters of wine and shoppers of fun, unique and gourmet food items. And lovers of coffee and those in need of early morning or afternoon sustenance are sure to also find something to their liking as there is a small coffee shop/café also available.

Their Wines

Most of their wines are on the sweet side. In addition to using their estate grown Muscadine and Catawba grapes, they also source some Chardonnay and Merlot from outside the state and utilize other fruits such as peach, blackberries, red raspberries, etc. Here are just a few of what they offered during our visit:

Catawba Belle – A semi-sweet white wine with a hint of crispness on the finish

Somerset – Sweet tangerine blended with a touch of lemon

Peach – A light peach wine, nice a fresh for a summer day

Apple Jack – A blend of the Riesling grape and green apple

Tyrrell – 100% Merlot with sweet, smooth berry flavors and a hint of spice

Black “Berry” – Blackberries blended with Muscadine grapes

Jack Ass Red – A sweet red Muscadine wine





Tom Joe
“Hops ‘r Better” Winer

Sorry, no fan of the wines here, though I am interested in expanding my tasting into more non-traditional (i.e. non-vinifera) grapes. What this place DOES have is a “gourmet” food section – and I always like food to accompany my wines (well, most times) so this is a nice little sojourn on anyone’s trip in South Carolina.

“Hippie” Winer

How marvelous it sounds, to have a glass of the Somerset and enjoy the flow of the Scuppernong on a lazy afternoon.  Or perhaps the Peach and nosh of meat and cheese.  Or, just sit and enjoy the world going by at its own pace.  I’m ready.

“This Is The Life” Winer

This was a fun little stop along our journey. Although the wine was a bit sweet for my palate, I know there are many folks that enjoy the sweetness and would love the wine. I really liked the fun shopping atmosphere. They have some pretty cool foodstuffs!

“Timeless” Winer

Like Miki, I’m not really a sweet wine guy.  But, I have to say that I AM a blackberry and peach guy.  Both of those wines caught my eye, particularly the blackberry and muscadine blend.  Sounds like a beautiful dessert wine to go with the nuts and biscuits.



The Winer’s Experience

Quaint, warm and welcoming The outdoor patio looked like a lot of fun to be had on a nice warm day. And the Scuppernong River is just so idyllic with all its winding curves and scenery. Very pretty.  Nice and spacious with a warm, welcoming feel. There is plenty of room for multiple tasters and definitely plenty of room for shoppers! And don’t forget to enjoy the cafe area….very yummy!
The wine tasting experience was relaxed and laid back and left for you to enjoy at your own pace and with your group of friends. Not an educational experience, but one of just relaxing, enjoying and discovering new wines.  They were very friendly and welcoming. It was nice that they didn’t’ rush you along through the tasting. Basic knowledge of the winery and its history. Not so much on winemaking processes and vineyard management as this would be found more on a tour of the vineyard.

Vineyard & Winery Information

 Vineyards on the Scuppernong 117 South Elm Street, Columbia, North Carolina 27925
Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm (Winter hours)
Wednesdays, June – Sept 3pm-7pm (check calendar) Yes Free
Yes, tours of the vineyards available at no charge. Reserve 2 days in advance. Yes, snacks and small food items. Coffee shop inside tasting room.


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