Wine tourism brings changes to Davidson County

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — A booming industry is already changing the landscape of Davidson County.

The wine business is growing and attracting new visitors.

There’s a little piece of France located in Northern Davidson County.

The Junius Lindsay Winery, now 15 years old, and getting better with age.

“We’ve seen about a 25 percent growth last year in traffic, so it’s been really nice for us,” said Michael Zimmerman, the owner.

The little farmhouse is benefiting from a growing interest in the cluster of wineries in the area.

“All of us are within a five-mile radius of each other,” Zimmerman said. “We get people from all over the country. Lots of people from Europe, and a lot of people from Asia.

But when the fun is over, people head back out of town.

“Most of the people who stay, wind up staying in Lexington or Winston-Salem,” Zimmerman said. “So it would be extremely helpful to have more bed and breakfasts. That would be wonderful.”

It’s a problem Weathervane Winery is already tackling less than two miles down the road.

“We had a lot of customers who live out of town and did not want to drive after an event. They’ve been after us for several years to come up with some type of cabin or a place they could say,” said Miranda Proctor, who owns the Weathervane Winery with her husband.

They just finished building two cabins on property adjacent to the vineyard.

The cabins are already booking up for future weekends.

“By having the accommodations now in this area, it gives visitors an opportunity to stay perhaps an extra day or two,” Proctor said. “To visit other wineries and other things the area has to offer.”

That’s part of the plan.

“Growing up in Davidson County, it was known for three things: barbecue, tobacco and furniture. That’s changed,” said Betty Vanhoy, with the North Davidson Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a completely different environment now, so we’ve had to move and grow and find ways to develop new businesses.”

The Lexington Tourism Authority and the North Davidson Chamber of Commerce are working to make the county a destination.

“We want to have a lot of different things for visitors to go to, a lot of different places to make us a well-rounded community,” said Robin Bivens, the Executive Director of the Lexington Tourism Authority.

They’re focusing on promoting and building up the growing industry and what could be the future of Davidson County.

“We don’t mind being called the Napa Valley of the South,” Bivens said.

Bivens says that the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Authority and local wineries are working on trying to get some hotels or accommodations in the future, but that it’ll take some time and more growth in the local industry to attract some serious interest.

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