March 29, 2017 in Editorials
Sweetwater, Tenn., just keeps adding interesting things to do and places to visit. Sweetwater Gallery on Main, located at 109 East Morris St., is enjoying a most interesting shoppe within their gallery called Tsali Notch Vineyard Satellite Tasting Room. Not only will you be able to taste this fine local wine, you can purchase your favorite selection to take home.
Tsali Notch Vineyard is located at 140 Harrison Rd., a few miles from Sweetwater, just off Hwy. 68 as you travel east into Madisonville. It is owned by Cary L. Cox, and the vineyard is managed by Jeremy “JD” Dalton. The satellite tasting room inside Sweetwater Gallery on Main is handled by Kayla Wilson. I recently had an opportunity to talk with Kayla about the tasting room, the different wines they have available, and about their award-winning wines made from Tsali Notch Vineyards.
Tsali Notch, being the largest muscadine vineyard in Tennessee, plant, grow and harvest grapes from approximately 6,500 vines. They then take them to a couple of local wineries, where they make and bottle the wine for them. Tsali Notch carries red and white wines, as well as blush and sparkling wines. Named after a historic Cherokee leader, Tsali Notch Vineyard’s wines each have a name that reflects the local history or town such as Dragging Canoe and Dragging Canoe Dry for two of their red wines. French Broad is a blush and Ataly is a sparkling wine; Sweetwater and Hiwasse are two of their Gold Medal awarding-winning white wines. In fact, their Hiwasse, a dry white wine made from muscadine grapes grown at Tsali, won five wine medals this past season. We’re told this is more than any other vintage in Tennessee wine history. Over the past eight years, they’ve had numerous recognized wines from the grapes grown on Madisonville’s Tsali Notch Vineyard that have won Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals and Best of White, Best of and Best of Fruit of Tennessee in competition in Tennessee, and even as far as California, competing with vineyards throughout the country.
Tsali Notch partners with Main Street and the merchants in Historic Downtown Sweetwater to hold several events. This includes the satellite tasting room in Sweetwater which will assist with Arts Around the Park and Studio Tours the last weekend of April 2017. Artists will set up in the park across from Sweetwater Gallery on Main, where you can enjoy watching artists as they exhibit and create fine art, and you can purchase their beautiful artwork.
Purchase tickets for the Studio Tour, and see where the artists create their one-of-a-kind art. Although they are now called local artists, many have moved here after retirement or just because they enjoy the South. Some have lived in California, New York, Texas, Iowa, Florida and other states, and have exhibited in museums and art galleries across the country. If you haven’t visit the Gallery on Main, don’t wait. Vickie Saladin, owner of the Gallery, invites you to come inside and take a tour of the best kept secrets in Sweetwater. The gallery supports at least 25 excellent artists whose talents include creations from wood turning, oil, acrylic, graphite and mixed media paintings, pen & ink, fine art photography, college works, handcrafted jewelry, pebble art, just to name a few, and now they Tsali Notch Wines as one of their most notable artists as well.
That same Saturday, April 29, Arts Around the Park and Tsali Notch will partner with Sweetwater as Sweetwater’s Main Street will present Casino Night at Tsali Notch Vineyard from 7 to 11p.m. There will be wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, music, dancing, 25,000 in chips, a cash bar and more. In September, they will again partner with Sweetwater for the National Muscadine Festival and Muscadine Balloon Fiesta. Not only will vendors set up in Downtown Sweetwater, but Tsali Notch will host numerous activities for children and tours of the vineyard. Hot air balloon rides will take place during the day at the Tsali Notch Vineyard, with the hot air balloon show that evening. There will be live music and food, and it will be a great time to take in all the different venues for weddings, and other events at the vineyard. Go to the Sweetwater Gallery on Main’s FB page, Sweetwater’s Main Street websites, or Tsali Notch Vineyards website to find out more details of these events, as well as the Eclipse of the Sun Festival and how Sweetwater will be a perfect location to watch this total eclipse where the moon totally covers the sun. Tsali Notch will also be a part of this festival. Be sure to let Sweetwater Gallery on Main and Tsali Notch Vineyard know you read about their amazing tasting room and vineyard in the Busy Bee Trader.
By Maxine B Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee