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Duplin Winery 35th North Carolina Grape Stomp .m4v

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Uploaded on Sep 14, 2011

A full-capacity crowd--in numbers and enthusiasm--came to Duplin Winery for its 35th annual Grape Stomp at Rose Hill, NC, Saturday, Sept. 10. The event featured tours, wine tastings, vineyard visits and an old-fashioned competitive grape stomp, Saturday, Sept. 10. Led by Jonathan Fussell, vice president--retail operations,
the finalists in the stomp-off began late the afternoon, followed by an evening of beach music by the Castaways. A Southern BBQ dinner was served by Duplin Winery after various wine tastings of "Cool, Sweet and Easy" offerings, including several new frozen wine products, which were dispensed under a big white tent on the winery's newest location at Interstate 40 and the Rose Hill exit. Concert-only tickets were offered and 200 free tickets were available for military personnel and families. Duplin's roots trace back to the 1970's when Muscadine grapes were considered a "wonder crop" and a large winery out of New York was paying $350 per ton for North Carolina's native grapes. David Fussell, Sr. and his two sons decided to grow grapes . Within three years, the price fell to $150 per ton and the Fussell's were looking for a way to salvage their livelihoods. In the early 1970's, the family decided to create a market for their grapes and started making wine. In-laws, grandchildren, aunts, and uncles all pitched in stomping grapes and bottling wine. While larger wineries flew their sales executives across the country in corporate jets, the Fussell's traveled with their wines in a converted hog trailer. "We pulled up to this sophisticated wine distributor in Raleigh...It was the first time they had seen anyone bring them wine loaded in a hog trailer." said the Senior Fussell.

Duplin Winery grew rapidly. By 1983, production levels reached 200,000 gallons per year. However, the rest of the decade would prove disastrous for the winery. Changes in tax laws and new legislation resulted in plummeting sales and the banks took everything but the winery itself. In order to meet payrolls, equipment was sold off and David Sr. took a full-time job teaching. He lost his house and admits that during these years he often thought about quitting. His wife, Ann, kept saying, "We make the best Muscadine wines in America. Let's give it one more day and see what happens." The Fussell's resilience and commitment sustained Duplin Winery until its customers discovered its Muscadine wines and spread the word. David Fussell Jr. is president/CEO, and Bill Hatcher is vice president of sales. Today, this North Carolina winery has a tank capacity of more than three million gallons, is the largest winery in the South, and produces the best selling wine in North Carolina. More than 100,000 visitors experience the Rose Hill winery and production facility each year. Duplin's award winning North Carolina wines include Magnolia, featured in Martha Stewart Living as a favorite summertime wine, and Hatteras Red, a North Carolina favorite enjoyed with southern barbecue, and Scuppernong, the oldest wine in America. In 2009, Duplin Winery received honors normally reserved for the traditional west coast wine belt.  It received Impact's Hot Brand Award and Beverage Information Group's Fast Track Award. Both awards are given to a short list of wines/wineries who have seen double-digit brand growth for the past five years.  Duplin Winery's success returned in 2010 and 2011 as they received both awards for a second year in a row. Offices are at 505 N. Sycamore St., Rose Hill, NC 28458

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