HistoryFUN FACT: Did you know? Before prohibition, North Carolina was the largest wine producing state in the United States.
Hello, my name is Phil Nordan. That fact has intrigued me for a long time. If North Carolina was so good then, why not now? We have had grape vines on our Monroe, N.C. farm for over 50 years and have been making wine for personal use for many years.
As a kid growing up on a farm in eastern North Carolina, I built many treehouses. In the spring of 1999, I decided it was time to build a treehouse for adults – for my wife, Dianne, and myself. This treehouse we now call “Date Nite”, sits 30 feet in the air and overlooks the vineyard. The lower level was a treehouse for our daughter when she was little. Since building Date Nite, we have received a lot of attention from newspapers and national magazines about our treehouse. It is equipped with a ceiling fan, couch, an outdoor fireplace, phone (we don’t always answer it), rocking chairs, and much more. The porch allows a breathtaking view of the vineyard, our pond, and our horses which roam the pasture.
This treehouse wasn’t built for overnight stays so, before we opened for business, we built Papa’s Dream. You can learn more about booking reservations on our “Treehouse Rentals” page.
In 2004, we decided that it was time to plant a vineyard in Monroe, NC. This was the beginning of Treehouse Vineyards. We planted our first vines in the spring of 2005. Since that time, we have planted eight varieties of Muscadines. Muscadines are native to this area; therefore, they can be grown organically. We have been students of nutrition for over 25 years and are really excited about the potential for organically fertilized grapes. There is a very distinct taste difference in wines that have been organically fertilized.
In the 1920’s, Dr. Charles Northern, a retired Alabama physician living in Orlando, Florida, did a tremendous research project to determine the importance of colloidal in our diet. Plants do not manufacture minerals – minerals must be in the soil to be absorbed by the roots of the plants. Unfortunately, there is not an even layer of minerals spread over the entire earth.
When plants are taken out of their original environment, they lack the necessary colloidal minerals to keep them healthy. Dr. Northern, grew plants that were both healthy and unhealthy simply by controlling the application of minerals. The healthy and unhealthy plants intertwined. The bugs ate the unhealthy plants but did not touch the healthy ones. He grew rosebushes between rows that were riddled by insects. He states, “A healthy plant, however grown in soil properly balanced, can and will resist most insects”.
This information, Senate Document No. 264, was read before the U.S. Senate on June 5, 1936 and is available today. Most people buy wine because it tastes good, not because it is healthy. We know from experience that healthy grapes will make an excellent tasting wine. Among our different varieties at Treehouse Vineyards, one came directly from “The Mother Vine” in Manteo, NC. This vine is historically documented to have existed in 1584 and is the oldest cultivated vine in America. In 1584, the first expedition led by Amadas and Barlowe explored the Carolina Outer Banks. In their report to Sir Walter Raleigh, they noted that the land was full of grapes.
Before planting in the spring of 2005, we had to prepare the vineyard. The first task was to get soil samples and prepare the soil. A good muscadine vineyard should have a PH of about 6.5 – 6.8. Next, we installed the vine trellis system that holds the vines. The vines are 15 feet apart and the rows are 11 feet apart. This gives each vine plenty of sunshine, which is very important for the growth and quality of the grapes. The quantity of grapes is not the most important factor – it’s the quality that is most important. Too many grapes can affect the acid and sugar content which is very, very important.
In the Spring of 2005, we planted 50 vines of two varieties, Carlos and Noble. These two varieties of muscadines are the most common in the muscadine wine industry in North Carolina. Both varieties were developed at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. These plants were about two feet tall when planted. After five years of hard work, we opened for business on November 20, 2010.
Come join us and enjoy the fruits of our labor. “You will be glad you did!”
Phil & Dianne
Ashley, Phillip & Ellis