DOBSON — After nearly a month in business Herrera Vineyards Manager Manny Perez is saying the vineyard is off to a good start. Perez said since opening on May 28, he has seen sales steadily rise at Surry County’s newest addition to the winery landscape.
Perez said that one thing that sets Herrera apart from other vineyards in the area is its restaurant. Perez said that Herrera’s menu fills a niche similar to that of the former Trio restaurant in Mount Airy. According to Perez the average meal at the vineyard’s restaurant ranges from $7 to $10. However, the vineyard also offers some larger entrees that range in cost from $12 to $16.
Perez said the lunch crowd at Herrera has been steadily growing since the vineyard’s opening. HE said many folks who live or work near Dobson have been taking advantage of the vineyard’s lunch menu on Tuesday through Sunday. The winery is closed on Mondays, and dinner is served at the vineyard on Friday and Saturday nights.
The food at Herrera comes highly recommended by at least one local official — Surry County Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer said she has made the vineyard a regular lunch stop. As Comer ate recently at the business, she said, “The food here is just great. You’ve got to try it.” Perez said he hopes that other county employees who work in Dobson will make the vineyard a regular lunch stop during their workday.
According to Perez, Herrera’s wine selection also sets it apart from other area vineyards. Perez said that Herrera is one of the few area vineyards which offers Malbec and Tannat wines. Overall, Perez said Herrera offers a dryer taste of wines than many area vineyards.
Perez said that Herrera, with its two 75-foot terraces, offers a unique outdoor dining experience. Additionally, he said the landscape includes a fountain and a fire-pit, making for an exceptionally laid-back atmosphere.
According to Perez the vineyardemploysabout 25 people. However, he said that number will grow. “We started with a smaller staff than we expect to need,” commented Perez.
Perez said that Herrera Vineyards is the brain-child of Carolina Carports owner Javier Herrera. According to Perez, Herrera started growing grapes around 2005. Perez said that Herrera worked with Old North State owner Ben Webb in the initial phases of Herrera’s grape-growing career.
Perez said that half of Herrera’s grapes were sold to Old North State and the other half were made into wine with a Herrera label. In 2010, according to Perez, Herrera took his grape-growing venture to another level.
When the former Black Wolf property on NC 601 just outside of Dobson became available, Herrera purchased it with the intent of starting a winery and vineyard operation. Herrera then turned the operation over to daughters Monica and Carolina.
Perez said that since opening Monica Herrera-Rangel has been working at the vineyard every day. Perez said it’s impressive to him that an owner is at the winery pouring tastings and serving food on an almost daily basis.
Herrera-Rangel said that’s what she plans to do throughout the future of the winery, saying that she enjoys being hands-on in the winery’s daily operations.
“I want it to continue to grow,” said Herrera-Rangel, “I want it to be well-known everywhere.” Herrera-Rangel also pointed to the wine selection, saying “I don’t want to offer the normal menu.”
Herrera-Rangel said that atmosphere is very important to the vineyard, adding that the landscaping provides an especially laid-back scene. “I want people to feel comfortable and relaxed here at Herrera,” said Herrera-Rangel.
According to Perez, Herrera Vineyards is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. The winery is also open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. Andy may be reached at 336-415-4698 or [email protected]