DeBarge Winery was started four years ago when winemaker and owner Ray DeBarge finally released his public label after decades of private winemaking experience. DeBarge specializes in traditional, old-world-inspired dry wines. The main thing that makes this wine unique in the region is that almost none of the traditional grape varietals are grown in the Southeast yet.
DeBarge is one of just a handful of wineries that have planted things like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah and is the only winery in the Southeast growing Albariño (a typical North-Spanish grape that is quickly gaining popularity in restaurants around the world).
“As director of the tasting program, my main goal at this point is public education,” says Tim Hinck. “Many of our customers are either new to wine entirely, or are just beginning their love affair with wine. I am excited about that process and it really brings me enjoyment to watch people get introduced to new flavors and aromas that they never knew could possibly exist in a glass of wine. For many of our customers, drinking DeBarge wine is the first time they have ventured from sweet wine territory into the daunting world of traditional ‘serious’ wines. I want to make that experience as friendly, painless, and unpretentious as possible.”
Tastings are conducted on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. (the only place you can buy wine on a Sunday in Chattanooga). The tasting room is easy to find, right near the Main Street fire station on Rossville Avenue on the Southside. You can follow @debargewines on Twitter for other special tastings and events.
And speaking of events, this Sunday, the 22nd, DeBarge Winery will be presenting a completely unique pairing event. Local composer and concert pianist Tim Hinck will be collaborating with Rebecca Barron (head chef at St John’s Restaurant) to present a dinner party in which each of the dishes is paired with a specific piece of music that he has written for this event, and a specific glass of DeBarge wine.
The evening begins at 5:30 with cocktails on the lawn featuring Chattanooga Whiskey, and then the seated, three-course dinner inside the winery. Tickets for the night are $75 and can be purchased at debargedinnerparty.splashthat.com