An Interview with Lauren Jeffcoat, Owner of A Sip of the South ~ Part One
I’ve seen Lauren’s business grow over the past couple years and am so excited for her company and how she spreads her love of NC wine. I hope you enjoy learning more about her business and what she has to offer!
How long have you had your business?
We started the company as Visit NC Wine Country back in August of 2011.
How did you come up with the idea and has it been tweaked/refined over time?
The idea originated when my husband and I visited North Carolina vineyards for the first time in 2010. We spent so much time trying to figure out which vineyards to visit and how to get there that I thought, there must be an easier way! I am a web designer by trade, so I decided to build a website and start collecting information about the wineries to make it easier for others to find their way to the excellent wine trails. Since then, we have added the Vine Card, wine tours and wine vacation packages. It seems to grow more and more each year.
Have you recently reached out beyond NC vineyards or have you always had tours in surrounding states?
We did just recently expanded to include Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. We had a lot of requests from our customers to expand to nearby regions, and it just seemed to fit with the way the website was growing. Now we are A Sip of the South instead of Visit NC Wine Country.
What is a typical travel day like on the tour?
Our guided tours start with wine tasting and registration at the hotel. If accommodations are not included in a tour, we arrange pick up for the group. Then we typically travel to the first winery and have lunch and wine tastings. Then we visit two or three more vineyards. We usually get to spend a lot of time with the winemakers and touring the winery so there is an educational aspect to the tour. We like to wrap up with dinner at the last vineyard, sometimes it is catered and sometimes we have a food truck. Each tour is a unique experience! On the bus, we play wine trivia and hand out prizes. The atmosphere is casual and fun.
Do you limit the number of vineyards or keep adding new ones to the list?
We are always adding new vineyards to our website and also to the Vine Card. The more information we can get to our customers, the better.
If you could plan a vineyard trip anywhere, where would it be and why?
Tough question – there are so many beautiful places I would love to go. But I would love to bring a Sip Trip to Tuscany – that would be amazing! I love Old World wines and I would love learning the history, culture, and of course the tastings.
What is the one thing you wished people knew about your company?
I would love for people to know that this company was born out of pure love and passion for North Carolina wines. I was so surprised at the number of vineyards and the quality of wines coming out of North Carolina that I literally wanted to shout it from the rooftops. And that passion for our region, our wines, has stayed with me ever since.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/asipofthesouth