Wilmington Winery Offers Wine Tasting, Wine Making Kits, and More
North Carolina wine can be found in vineyards in the country and in boutique wineries in the city. One South Coast vintner found his grape place in busy Wilmington, NC.
Owner, winemaker, bottler, office manager, retailer, and marketer, Dave Hursey is a one-man show, but he’s used to multitasking. As a former Crime Scene Investigator for the Wilmington Police Department, Dave often worked on several cases at once, but when an on-the-job knee injury forced him into early retirement, he knew it was time to pursue his lifelong dream. Now the only cases Dave works on are cases of wine.
Dave’s love affair with the grape began at an early age and after reading The Joy of Home Winemaking by Terry Garey, he was hooked. He got a home winemaking kit and began making wine as a hobby. After leaving the police department, Dave decided to open a winery, but at the time, he didn’t realize just how hands-on the venture would be.
“I do everything by hand here,” Dave says. “I hand label, hand bottle, hand mix, hand everything.” That “everything” also includes running the retail shop, marketing to wine shops and restaurants in the area, and pouring wine for visitors to taste.
Big Band Theory
Lumina Winery takes its name from the Lumina Pavilion, a famous beachfront dance venue in nearby Wrightsville Beach which opened June 3, 1905. During the 1940s and 1950s, many of the big bands played there, with names like Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, and Cab Calloway.
Lumina Pavilion later fell into ruin and was demolished in 1973, but to honor the memory of the place and its era, Dave began his first batch of wine on June 3, 2005, 100 years to the day after the Pavilion first opened. Lumina Winery opened its doors three months later.
Red Wine, White Wine, Sweet Wine
Originally, Lumina Winery was a wholesale winery, selling to area restaurants and retailers, but Dave found he was getting a lot of requests from people who wanted to see the winery and taste the wines. So, Lumina became a retail wine shop as well, offering free wine tastings and selling wine by the glass and by the bottle.
Located about five miles inland from where the Pavilion once stood, Lumina Winery is housed in a 1200 square-foot space in a small business complex between Interstate 40 and US Highway 17 North. Production, retail sales, and wine tastings take place here year-round. In addition, the shop carries wine and beer kits, books, supplies, equipment, and advice for the home winemaker and brewer.
Dave makes most of his wines from the kits he sells, using varietal grape juices from all over the world to create red wines, white wines, and sweet wines, with names taken from local landmarks such as Airlie Bianca Pinot Grigio and Oleander Rossa. Two of his most popular wines are Ice Wine Style and Green Apple Riesling, and his Muscadine wine and Blueberry wine are both good sellers.
Lumina Winery’s wine list varies depending on how much of a particular wine he sells and currently includes 20 different wines. Most wines take three months from start to glass, but the fruit varietals are ready in a month and are low in alcohol, about 6.5%. The wines are meant to be consumed early so they contain low levels of sulfites.
Besides local restaurants and retail shops, Dave’s marketing schedule increasingly includes more festivals and events like the North Carolina Wine Festival in Clemmons and the North Carolina Blueberry Festival in Burgaw. As the one-man show, he sets up his booth and pours his wines to appreciative audiences. Multitasking never tasted so good.
Lumina Winery, Gordon Station, 6620-H, Gordon Road, Wilmington NC (910) 793-5299