Chatham Hill Winery
3800 Gateway Centre Blvd. Suite 310,
Cary/Morrisville, NC 27560
We went on a really interesting winery tour taught by the owner and winemaker, Marek Wojciechowski, a biochemist who took up winemaking as a retirement project. Yes, taught by is the right phrasing, he gave a really interesting lecture on the history of local wine, beginning with North Carolina’s thriving winemaking industry before Prohibition. Sometimes I forget that this area has a history beyond the car-convenient shopping and cul-de-sac houses, and it was good to be reminded of distinct North Carolina culture.
North Carolina is considering adding a “sin tax” on certain luxuries, and our tour included some really interesting politics of how alcohol is taxed, whether it should be based on bottle price or alcohol content per volume or type. Although I think a tax on luxury items seems like a fair way to raise state revenue, the winemaker was concerned that fine wines would be taxed like, say, Mad Dog 20/20. (Growing up with my father, my mental narration is listing all the ways I can work sin tax error into this paragraph. But I won’t. )
Although the outside of the winery is pretty typically Cary, in yet another nondescript industrial complex, it’s worth making the trip through the maze of identical roads, to an unpretentiously informative tour and tasting.
At the post-tour tasting, we tried an assortment of Chatham Hill wines, including a chardonnay that was extra-good because of bad weather that year, a late frost that produced smaller, sweeter grapes. We had a great time sipping blackberry wine and picturing Dr. Wojciechowski mixing it up in his lab.