Eric Morris grew up in the Charleston area and would occasionally do odd jobs like pruning grape vines at a local vineyard as he was growing up.
Years later, he and his wife, Carolyn, would eventually become owners of the property that held the vineyard he had helped maintain.
Morris Vineyard and Tennessee Mountainview Winery was founded under the name Melinda’s Vineyard in 1965, and the Morris’ purchased the property in 1979.
Some 34 years later, the Morris’ have made what is currently a 52-acre property into a place where wine-lovers and families with children can both spend time together.
They now run the vineyard and winery with their two grown daughters and live on the property, which includes a building with a wine-tasting room and rows of fruit for both wine-making and eating.
Carolyn said getting the chance to pick one’s own fruit is what drives many visitors to the vineyard during the summer months because such opportunities are harder to find than they once were.
“You can’t do that in a lot of areas now,” Carolyn said.
Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, along with the vineyard’s main “specialty,” muscadine grapes, for public picking take up row after row of property beyond the main building.
Visitors can pick berries and grapes from the vineyard and have what they want to take home weighed. Berries currently cost $2 per pound, and muscadine grapes cost $1.39.
What is available for picking depends on the time of year, but Carolyn said there is generally something available for picking all through the summer — and sometimes even through the beginning of autumn.
Of course, wine is a major focus for the business throughout the year.
“It’s nice to have something to do with your fruit,” Carolyn said with a laugh.
The vineyard grows a various types of grapes to be used in wine — including the muscadine grapes.
The 13 Tennessee Mountainview wine varieties available include grape-based wines as well as some made with other types of fruit, like a wine “made totally of fresh blueberries.” Carolyn said muscadine wines like the Muscadine Blush and Scuppernong varieties have been the winery’s best-sellers.
The wines are sold at the winery as well as through distributors that take the wine to stores throughout Tennessee.
Though there are close to 40 wineries scattered statewide, Carolyn said the Tennessee Mountainview Winery has not been hurt by area competition.
“We like to tell visitors where the other wineries are,” Carolyn said. “And we hope they [the other wineries] do the same. We don’t try to compete that way.”
She added that she has met some visitors who have said they enjoy visiting multiple wineries throughout the state because of the scenery.
The name of the Tennessee Mountainview Winery is not just coincidental; the views there inspired the name.
Carolyn said the blue-hued mountains rising beyond the rows of grape vines were one thing she thought had kept people coming back to the property year after year.
“It’s great to live onsite,” Carolyn said. “It’s just a beautiful place.”
The vineyard and winery are located at 346 Union Grove Road in Charleston, about five miles from the Chatata Valley Golf & Country Club.
For more information about the vineyard and winery, visit http://www. morris vineyard.com or call 479-7311.