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Vintage NC State

Signature wine collection launches with a bottle of —what else?—red.

Photograph by Foster Whitney O'Brien '12.

By Caroline Barnhill ’05

The Brickyard. Reynolds Coliseum. The Memorial Belltower. Not only are these beloved spots on campus, they are also coming to a wine cellar near you. In October, NC State launched the first bottles of a new series of NC State licensed wines — proceeds of which will support student scholarships.

The collection, Hallowed Places, is a premium wine program in which NC State partners with wineries across North Carolina to showcase local grapes and promote the university’s connection to the state’s viticulture (the science, study and production of grapes) and enology (the study of wine).

Previous licensing agreements involved no more than putting a label with an NC State logo on wine that was already being sold, says Gregg Zarnstorff, NC State’s director of trademarks and brand protection. “With Hallowed Places,” he says, “our NC State licensed wine working group was able to partner directly with North Carolina wineries and work with experienced sommeliers to select wines.”

The first of nine wines released, named The Brickyard, was unanimously selected after testers in the working group tasted six varietals of wines. A 2017 vintage from Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C., The Brickyard is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tannat and malbec. It retailed for $39.99 and sold out quickly, with some 3,000 bottles purchased in a little more than a month.

The selection panel included two wine experts with NC State connections — Lewis Sheats, assistant vice provost for entrepreneurship and owner of Short Walk Wines, and Sally Linton, former marketing director of the Indiana Wine Grape Council and wife of Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The wine’s label was designed by Carter Avayou, a sophomore from West Chester, Pa., majoring in graphic design.

Avayou designed labels for all nine wines. A second vintage of the collection, which will be named for another iconic NC State landmark, is expected to be introduced later this year. “Our hope is that our alumni and fans will want to buy and enjoy all nine — and keep the bottles to display,” Zarnstorff says.  

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