Two years ago, Thomas DeRosset had 66 acres in Thomson with nothing but a bed and breakfast, a barn and a dream. Over time, that dream became realized in the 1810 Country Inn and Winery and four-acre vineyard. Today, Mr. DeRosset proudly presents his 2004 vintage bottled wines.
"I look around, and I think 'Wow, look how far we've come,' then I realize it took two years to get here," Mr. DeRosset said.
Thomas DeRosset selects a bottle of Mattox Creek Camellia Red from the bar at 1810 Country Inn and Winery.
On May 30, the winery released 50 cases of Viognier with an introductory price of $19 per bottle. On July 20, the winery released 720 cases of Sangiovese at an introductory price of $15 per bottle.
But Mr. DeRosset is most excited about the 250 cases of Camellia Red, released June 20. Mr. DeRosset describes Camellia Red as a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. The introductory price is $17 per bottle.
"Camellia Red embodies Thomson," he said. "It provides the romance to where we are, the Camellia City of the South."
All three varieties are 100 percent barrel aged in new American oak, "so they are not over-powering" Mr. DeRosset said.
Mr. DeRosset oversees the winery with his brother, Trevor. The brothers say their father enjoyed home wine-making, and opened his own make-your-own wine facilities which developed into franchise supply stores.
Both Thomas and Trevor completed a one-year course in viticulture (study of grape cultivation) and enology (study of wine-making) from the University of California Davis. The winery is a member of the Winegrowers Association of Georgia - a non-profit corporation that promotes and improves Georgia wines and facilitates research in viticultural techniques.
"Nothing was here except the barn. Then we got this thing built, and in the middle of it we learned how to make wine," Trevor DeRosset said.
1810 offers tours of the winery and/or the vineyard. A tour of the winery takes approximately 10 minutes, allow additional time if the vineyard is included. The $5 fee includes the tour and a taste of each of 1810's wines. Reservations are encouraged, and can be made by calling 1-800-515-1810.
"It's a lot of fun to watch the people come through, they get excited when they see the process," Thomas DeRosset said. "We're a premium winery. I'm excited for everyone to come try it."
Mr. DeRosset said 1810 will continue to release new wines in the next few months, including a Chardonnay, a Meriot, and a Camellia White. They will host a Wine Harvest Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24, sponsored by Regions Bank.