A North Carolina Century Farm Family growing Americas first grape

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Quincy Adams

Over four centuries ago Sir Walter Raleigh described the muscadine as being, “On the sand and on the green soil, on the hills as on the plains, as well as on every little shrub … also climbing towards the tops of tall cedars … in all the world the like abundance is not to be found.”Step onto the land at Adams Vineyards and talk with Quincy Adams about his family farm and winery and you will learn his passion for this distinctly North Carolina grape runs just as deep.”The muscadine is what grows best here, this is the perfect climate for this wonderful grape. The vinifera — those are your merlots, cabernets, chardonnays, they don’t like our part of the climate down here. It gets too hot and gets too dry,” said eighth generation farmer, Quincy Adams.In the decade since his father made the decision to transition the family farm to growing muscadine grapes, the family has buried their patriarch and learned to grow and harvest this crop and turn it into wine without a map. “There were no recipes.” said Quincy when he talks about his learning curve into the world of winemaking. “Dad left behind a few notes, but it was the fastest, most intense on the job training you can imagine.”What began as a trial by fire without recipes quickly blossomed into an award winning vineyard and winery. “We’ve won over 60 medals, a best in show a couple of times, and multiple gold medals.” Joyce Adams pipes up clearly proud of the hard work they’ve all put in, especially her son.If you don’t drink wine you can choose one of the Adams’ other products for sale in the tasting room. Joyce makes a variety of jams and jellies available for purchase. In order to sell them here in the store she had to become certified through a course in food preservation and canning at NC State, “It was a difficult course … it had been a long time since I’d been in school” said Joyce.The Adams’ farm has been a working farm since the 1700’s, and during the N.C. State Fair, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services will honor the legacy of the Adams’ along with families from across the state at a reunion. “I am proud that the Century Farm program has continued to grow,” said Commissioner Troxler. “It isn’t easy to keep a farm in the same family for 100 years or more, particularly when our state’s growing population puts greater development pressure on open land. Every time I sign a certificate for a new Century Farm, I am reminded of the dedication and perseverance of these families in the face of many challenges.”As for the Adams and their place on the land they’ve held onto for over two centuries in Wake County, “we’ve been here for over 250 years,” said Quincy Adams. “The plan is to keep it going as long as we can.”