Lexington County Farm-City

to strengthen the understanding of farm-city connections that provide food, fiber, and shelter.

Mercer House Estate Winery - Lexington, SC



Mercer House Estate Winery Facts
- owned and operated by Shannon and Kim Mercer
 - the first and only winery in Lexington County
- specializes in muscadine and country wines cultivated from five vineyards
- working to become a USDA certified organic winery (Mercer knows of only
  about 10 wineries in the nation that have earned certification. Organic
  wine must be made without using prohibited substances or genetic
  engineering.)
- creates “art in a bottle”
- has been making wine organically for years and soon plans to take the
  next step to become certified organic by the USDA
 - is a SC Department of Agriculture “Certified SC Grown” member
- popular Mercer House wines are sweet wines (attributes to customers’
  other favorite drink being sweet tea) “It’s a southern thing.”
mercerhouseestatewinery.com

About Mercer House Estate Wines

There are many variables that affect the flavors of wine. Environmental elements are the first factors to determine the final outcome of a wine. Subtle differences in environmental conditions can be passed into the final product. "Terroir" -Basically, it refers to the micro-climates that exist across a vineyard. At Mercer House Estate, each of the vineyards has its own unique climate based on the different soil types, field slopes, proximity to aquatics, wood lines and orientation to sun exposure. These subtle differences impart unique flavors into the grapes of each vineyard, each harvest and each wine, When we designed the trellis layout, we took into account these differences and decided to label each as part of the vineyard culture, which is reflected in the unique flavors of our wines.

 

GROWING MUSCADINE GRAPES

Pruning             
Pruning is essential. That is what the production quality and the longevity of the plots depends on. Indeed, the number of buds per plant determines the delicate balance of the vigor;  pruning that leaves too many buds leads to a harvest that is too abundant and unable to ripen sufficiently. Conversely, pruning that is too severe leaves  vines that are too vigorous, encouraging excessive growth to the detriment of  the maturity of the grapes. There is, not only for each plot, but for each grape variety, an optimal  balance that only winegrowers understand with experience. Winter pruning extends into the spring by a green pruning and bud-thinning. This means avoiding a build-up of vegetation that is harmful to the exposure of future grape clusters to the sun and as well to concentrating the nutrients produced by the leaves towards the branches that support the grapes, which encourages ripening. Lastly, bud-thinning enables the winegrowers to select future branches for thinning in advance.

Planting             
Great wines are always produced from vines that are at least five years old. So the main objective of our wine-growing practices is to maintain the old vines in production for as long as possible. But their life expectancy doesn’t always fulfill our hopes. The main solution is to replace the plants, one by one, as and when they die. This is called “complantation”. This practice occupies all our winegrowers for two weeks just after the winter pruning. But it’s only at the price of this difficult work that we’re able to maintain the high density of planting in our plots which allows the harmonious management of the vigor of the vines.

Risk             
Among all the risks that are the farmers’ lot in life, wildlife and hail are the two most harmful and unfair. In just a few minutes they can reduce to nothing a whole year, or even several years’ efforts. But by some sort of miracle and preventative measures, the great terroirs more often than not, escape these misfortunes.

Lexington County Farm-City

Sponsors 2015

Clayton Rawl Farms, Inc.

Lexington County Farm Bureau

Lexington School District I Center for Advanced Agribusiness Research, Pelion

Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District

MCEC

Price's Country Store

Roof's Basket Works, Inc.

Sandhills Young Farmer & Agribusiness Chapter

SCE&G

South State Bank

W. P. Law, Inc.

W. P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.

Wingard's Nursery & Garden Center