The first vines for RayLen Vineyards & Winery were planted in 1999 when Joe and Joyce Neely purchased the property. Until then, the property had functioned as a dairy farm for nearly a century. Today, the rolling hills and winding drive romance our guests as they drive through 35,000 European varietal grape vines. The distinctive cupola roof top of RayLen Vineyards & Winery is a beacon for the southern portion of the Yadkin Valley Appellation. Travelers from the highway and wanderers from the surrounding country roads are drawn to the Tasting Room to discover a new experience. Loyal customers return for the lush vista and a reliable favorite of RayLen's award-winning wines.
Vintner Steve Shepard has a long history in winemaking. His education and career began in Pennsylvania; since 1980, Shepard has been making wine commercially. Drawn south, Shepard’s North Carolina career began in 1989 at the first Yadkin Valley winery. The Yadkin Valley's unique microclimate and soils have proven to be optimal for growing European varietals. From the date of RayLen's purchase, Shepard helped design the vineyard for optimum growth for the 10 different European varietals grown. In its first three vintages, RayLen Vineyards & Winery won over 200 medals at various statewide, regional, and international competitions. Shepard has been recognized by Robert Parker for his 1991 vintage wines, while RayLen has been lauded by the Wine Spectator as one of the premier wineries in the Southeast.
An easy drive from downtown Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and the Research Triangle, RayLen Vineyards & Winery is close enough to be your neighborhood winery. See why Phil Lambert announced on the Today Show in March 2008, "Napa is out, North Carolina is in."
Swirl, sip, and savor at RayLen Vineyards & Winery.