When JW and Kristen Ray moved to Pilot Mountain from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2010, they knew this area was once a leader in wine production.
“The climate here is ideal,” JW said. “In fact, we are second only to Vietnam in the world for bio-technical diversity in the state of North Carolina. So, I tease people, you throw enough fertilizer in the soil here, and you can grow a pressure-treated 2×4.”
The Rays stuck with wine and have begun producing a product that is helping get the growing Yadkin Valley wine industry some real notice, not just for the quality of the wines but for the entire atmosphere of estates like the one the Rays runcalled JOLO Vineyards.
“We have a world-class restaurant on the facility. We’re open Thursdays through Sundays,” JW said. “We have a gorgeous tasting room with rustic elegance, as we call it, with chandeliers and stonework and woodwork, a bucolic setting, beautiful vistas of Pilot Mountain, a six-acre lake, vineyards, rolling hills of green grass.”
That’s what attracts people to see their vineyard on a regular basis. Of course, not during the statewide shutdown of businesses.
The Rays want to do their part and are following all of the regulations. But it can be hard for any small business like theirs to survive a prolonged period without cash flow.
“You notice, it’s only the small businesses that have shut down,” JW said. “It’s only the small businesses that go crushed – the hair salons, the bartenders…you name it. If you’re a small business, you’re most affected.”
See the innovative idea the Rays came up with to get their wines to their fans in this Small Business Spotlight.