When original owner, Raymond Castleberry, decided to retire from teaching and go back to his farming roots, he looked around North Georgia for some land with all the right conditions: open pasture on sunny slopes. He settled on the land that is now Cavender Creek Vineyards. But when he bought this property, it was a chicken farm. He often credits the success of his grape growing to the soil enriched with chicken poop.
He and his wife, Donna, bought the land in 2006. There are fifteen acres total, but only four acres are planted in vines.
Raymond planted and watered each vine by hand. He started with the Norton vines, which are the block closest to the winery. Norton is a very black American wine grape, which makes a very earthy, spicy wine. Growing Norton grapes are about as close to organic gardening as we get in the South. It grows on its own rootstock, it has a wild habit, and we do very little to it during the growing season.
Raymond then planted European varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, a red grape, and Petit Manseng, a white grape, in 2007-2008. (He also planted a few rows each of Viognier (white) and Touriga Nacional (red) but those vines were removed in recent years.)
In 2019, we planted Petit Verdot, another red European varietal.