“Sun, sand, surf and Chardonnay?” said Lisa. “You heard right, North Carolina’s wine industry is heading to the coast.”
In this episode Lisa visits with John Wright to learn a little about how this seventh-generation farm added wine grapes to their tradition soybean and corn crops in 2002. Sanctuary Vineyards grows nine varieties of grapes on 12 acres.
From May to September, the vineyard hosts Acoustic Wine-down every Thursday, featuring barbecue, music and wine samples.
John shows Lisa around the vineyard and bottling operation. He also shares a few ways to tell how grapes are ready for harvesting. First, John checks the seeds to see if they are brown, not green. Brown seeds in a grape are a sign of maturity. Then John measures the sugar content of the grape with a refractometer. Grapes with a sugar contest of 20 percent will produce a wine with about 11 percent alcohol.
After a visit to the vineyard, Lisa takes a turn using wine in cooking with Benjamin Beasley from BJ’s Carolina Cafe. Below is his recipe for Crab Cakes with Lemon Butter White Wine Sauce.
Combine the bread crumbs, Old Bay, garlic and parsley flakes. Slowly mix in crab meat, be careful not to break apart the lumps. Gently stir in the mayonnaise, again being careful not to break apart the lump crab meat. Form the crab meat mixture in patties of approximately 6 to 8 ounces each. Heat butter or oil in a skillet or frying pan and cook crab cakes on low- to medium-heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.
Lemon Butter Wine Sauce
Melt butter in sauce pan on low heat, then whisk in flour and cook until completely combined. Add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil and wine, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Sauce can be served over crab cakes or in a serving dish accompanying the crab cakes.