Who would have guessed that when NASCAR legend and North Carolina native Richard Childress recently opened his eponymous winery in Lexington, he wouldn't be the first but the 38th vintner in the Tarheel State? (In fact, 13 more wineries are expected to open in North Carolina by the end of 2005.) Located in Yadkin Valley, the state's newly named AVA, or official grape-growing region, Childress's winery is already producing 11 different types of winered, white and rosé, a.k.a. Classic Blush. The Childress Vineyards Barrel Select Chardonnay ($15) is made in a pleasantly restrained style without excess oak or over-the-top tropical fruit. Childress currently has a bistro and gift shop, and there's more to come, including a hotel and "upscale shopping complex." Does that mean even more grape-patterned towels and aprons will be sold in Lexington than in Napa?
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