Century Farm Winery
By definition, a Century Farm is a farm that has been officially recognized by a regional program documenting that the farm has been continuously owned by a single family for over 100 years. All four of the following requirements must be met to be considered for certification of a century farm.
10 acres or more of the original farm owned by the founder(s);
must produce at least $1000 in revenue annually and specifically during the past 12 months (though documentation does not have to be submitted);
has been in the family continuously for 100 years or more, and provides proof of the founding date and owner, and can provide chain showing all family owners from founder to the present owner;
one owner must be a Tennessee resident.
Century Farm Winery, owned by Carl and Jo O’Cain, is named just so because the land upon which the vineyards and winery lay is the family farm that has been in Jo’s family for over 150 years. Jo grew up in, and still resides in, the house her grandfather built in 1910. The land is quiet and serene, with the true stillness of the country; complete with two dozing ‘guard dogs’ and Tippy the cat to greet customers.
Winemaking became a hobby of Carl’s around 40 years ago when he spotted a grocer preparing to throw out a large amount of overripe fruit. “Well, let’s make wine!” At first, the wine was terrible, but Carl’s engineering spirit motivated him to figure out why. He began to read and study and experiment, and in 2003 they planted their first grapes and had their first harvest in 2006. In 2007, 1500 gallons of wine, the winery officially opened. Carl remembers thinking this would last him 2-3 years, but it only lasted 6 months, and he had to double it to 3,000 gallons. However yet again, he was out of wine in under a year. So, he doubled it again to 6,000 and quickly realized he needed to expand the building if he was going to keep up with demand. From then on his focus has been on making the best wine.
Bart Horton, ‘Mama’ Jo’s son, explained At 13 acres, the vineyard is one of the largest in the area. They produce 20 different wines from the grapes in their vineyard, including a special red blend called Poverty Point. According to her son, Bart, ‘Mama Jo’ lovingly referred to the farm as ‘Poverty Point’ when she was a child. Another of their staple wines, the Red Muscadine, comes from the muscadine grape. This wine is said to have seven times the antioxidants of other wines. Century Farm’s Red Muscadine has been decorated with the 2014 Indy International Gold Medal and Best of Class Awards, and it’s not their only award-winning wine. Their Blackberry wine also holds an Indy International Gold Medal along with the Chambourcin, and the Traminette holds 2 Silver Medals and the William O. Beach Award, which is the highest award given for a Tennessee grown fruit.
If the awards aren’t enough to convince you that Century Farm is all about great wine, just take it from their customers. Bart explains, “We’re supported so well from our local community, folks that stop by on their way home from work or every weekend. But a lot of our business comes from out of state, and we see these people from all over that keep coming back.” Just in the short time that I was visiting, people stopped in from upstate New York, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and South Carolina. The couple from New York had been traveling to various wineries and made a point to let Bart and Jo know how highly they thought of their wine. The family from South Carolina enjoyed it so much, they left with two full boxes! Bart reiterates, “That’s really what it’s all about for us, just focusing on making the absolute best wine we can.”
There are nine different varieties of wine produced at Century Farm, and their most popular fall in the sweet and fruit varieties. The Sugar Plum is a wine-based fruit wine made with Cayuga wine and sweetened with red plum concentrate. The Blackberry wine is made from 100% Marion blackberry concentrate. They also sell a Port-style wine called La Fin, with the help of the Samuel T. Bryant distillery down the road. Along with their wines they offer homemade jams and jellies, mulled wine kits, wine making supplies, and they even teach winemaking classes. They do events such as weddings, birthdays and exclusive tours and tastings, but you can always stop in and try any wine you like free of charge. In the summertime, they draw large crowds every other Saturday when they host a local band for Music in the Vineyard. They also offer discounts on Appreciation days for people like first responders and farmers, as well as a Wine of the Month.
So come on by and grab a glass of Salainte, it’s good for your health! (Literally, Salainte is Gaelic for “Drink to your Health”). Or try whatever suits your fancy, trust us, it’s all good. If you’re looking for great wine and southern hospitality in a laid-back, friendly atmosphere, look no further than Century Farm Winery. *For more information, visit centuryfarmwinery.com, or find them on Facebook at Century Farm Winery.