For Colleen Bannerman of Bannerman Vineyard, grape growing is a family affair. Along with husband Scot and the rest of the Bannerman family, she grows Scuppernongs and the dark purple Muscadines on 18 acres near the town of Burgaw in Pender County, North Carolina. Founded in 1973 by Marilyn and Cliff Bannerman, Bannerman Vineyard is one of the oldest commercial Muscadine vineyards in the state and highly recognized in the grape growing community.
Bannerman Vineyard produces high quality Muscadine grapes and sells them both wholesale and retail, offering u-pick grapes during season. After years of selling their grapes to the fresh market and to other wine makers, they decided to add their own small winery in 2004. Since then, their wine list has grown from two wines to ten, ranging from White Oak Sweet, a sweet fruity white wine made from the Carlos grape, to the Red Oak Semi-Sweet, a slightly dry red wine made from dark red Muscadines. They also offer a very popular blueberry wine that sells out quickly each year and A Merry Berry Fine Spice Mulled Wine that is served warm and is perfect for cold weather.
Colleen says that several years ago, western North Carolina wineries started asking for Bannerman Vineyard grapes and began making Muscadine wines in addition to their European-style wines. “I think it’s because of the health benefits,” says Colleen. “They are getting a lot of requests for Muscadine wines.”
As past president of the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Growers Association, Colleen is always on the lookout for ways to promote her grapes and her wines, as well as other North Carolina products. One marketing outlet for the winery has been the Poplar Grove Farmers’ Market at 10200 US Highway 17 N. in Wilmington, North Carolina. Open Wednesdays from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, the market offers all North Carolina hand-made products and Muscadine wines.
She also sells her wines at the NC Riverfront Farmers Market on Water Street in downtown Wilmington. The market is open every Saturday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM from March until December.
Another outlet is the North Carolina Blueberry Festival in Burgaw, which takes place the third Saturday in June and draws more than 30,000 people. The event features all things blueberry, a great place to showcase Bannerman blueberry wine.
The Winery Tasting Room is open Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM and at other times by appointment. Private events such as weddings, graduations, reunions and birthday parties can be scheduled.
Bannerman Vineyard is located at 2624 Stag Park Road, Burgaw, North Carolina 28425. The phone number is 910-233-0103.