JOLO Winery & Vineyards wins 2016 ‘North Carolina Winegrower of the Year’ Award

Staff Report

PILOT MOUNTAIN — JOLO Winery & Vineyards is proud to accept the prestigious and uniquely awarded 2016 “North Carolina Winegrower of the Year” Award, in recognition of its passion, leadership and desire to excel in the grape growing and wine production crafts.

The award of distinction was issued by the North Carolina Winegrower’s Association (NCWA) and presented to J.W. and Kristen Ray, owners of JOLO Winery & Vineyards during the NCWA Annual Conference, on Jan. 20.

“It is an absolute honor to receive this award,” said J.W. Ray, winemaker and vineyard manager of JOLO Winery & Vineyards. “There are so many fantastic winegrowers here in North Carolina, especially in the Yadkin Valley. Being recognized amongst all these phenomenal growers may be the highlight of my career.”

Joseph Geller, viticulturist instructor at Surry Community College and Education Chair of NCWA, explains the criteria for the annual accolade.

“Each year we are looking for a grape grower that is truly embracing innovation in the vineyards,” said Geller. “The Board of Directors of NCWA reviews many nominations, assessing both fruit quality production and vineyard sustainability. JOLO’s dedication to the use of local, ‘hybrid’ grapes for wine production as well as the redesign of their trellis system (Quadrilateral VSP) greatly contributed to our decision to present the relative newcomer to Yadkin Valley our coveted award.”

“We’ve always said that great wine is made in the vineyards,” said Ray. “We have worked diligently from day one, with our root and varietal selection, to the site selection, to our green farming practices, to make the very best wine possible that is deserving to adorn the names of our two children, Joey and Logan (JOLO).”

The North Carolina Winegrower’s Association was formed in 1993, primarily through the efforts of people like Steve Shepard, then at Westbend Vineyards and Earl Mitchell, Professor of Physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The focus of the group was then, and remains today, the open interchange of information among both professional and amateur winemakers, with a focus on education, research, and professional development. To learn more please visit

JOLO Winery & Vineyards is an award-winning, family-owned, boutique winery in the Yadkin Valley AVA in Pilot Mountain. It is open for wine tastings most Thursdays through Sundays and pours at many local wine tasting events throughout the year. Wines are available for purchase at the winery, on the website, and at selected retail locations. Visit the website,, call 336-614-0030 or email for more information.

Staff Report

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