I pull into Medaloni Cellars on a historic day, Eclipse 8.21.17, and Joey Medaloni, owner and winemaker, greets me with a glass of wine. This particular wine, made from leftover white grapes of the season (chardonnay, traminette and viognier) is in the initial stages of the blending process. I ask about the unique concrete fermentation tank, and he explains that it is the only one like it in Yadkin Valley and it serves to add minerality to the wine; giving it another layer of complexity. At this early stage, the white blend is already spectacular! Following a brief tour of the barrel room, we head to the lower tasting room where he opens up a chilled bottle of Markus Joey Flight Series White Blend to toast our interview and our new friendship.
“Here at Medaloni, folks come as strangers and leave as friends.”
Medaloni Cellars’ beginnings date back to 2011 when Joey and his family acquired a heavily wooded 22-acre tract in the heart of the Yadkin Valley wine country. Over the next 12 months, the property was cleared and developed and, in 2012, the main tasting room, with a stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, opened to the public. A bottling room behind the tasting room was built in 2013, followed by a second tasting room closer to the winery entrance in 2014 and then, in 2015, the barrel room (where the magic happens) was completed.
Joey shares that his background is in hospitality management and it shows! The attention to detail and focus on making people comfortable is palpable at every turn. “This is our home, and we love sharing it with friends,” said Joey. The back label on the signature wines says it best: “From our home to yours.” Ensuring visitors feel welcome, have a great time and “make new friends at the vine” is the number one priority at Medaloni.
“What is better than a blend of the beautiful scenery of North Carolina’s wine country, friends, family and wine? Nothing!”
Joey started making wine in 2008, and after repeated failed attempts over the next two years, he began having one success after another. Joey shares that making wine is a bit like cooking. “The more you do it, the more you learn about what works best, and when you find something that works, you keep perfecting it.”
Medaloni Cellars “key ingredients” in wine making:
- Reduction Sauces. “I make the reductions directly from the barrels, I don’t use sugar to sweeten the wine and I don’t chemically alter it. If it can’t be balanced with our other wines to get the correct pH, then I don’t use it,” said Joey.
- French Oak Barrels. Joey explains, “Different cooperages produce different barrels customized to my unique specifications. Depending upon the processing of the barrel (toasted – light, medium, heavy, steamed, etc.) the wood adds flavor compounds like vanilla, cocoa or smoke.”
Insieme is Italian for “together” and represents a friendship and a blending of wines by two winemakers from America’s east and west coasts.
Joey met Markus Niggli of Lodi, California on a flight to California several years ago. Neither asked the other their profession or where they were going, so imagine Joey’s surprise the following day at a wine trade show when he saw Markus behind one of the vendor booths. Markus invited Joey to dinner, and they spent the following day together talking about all things wine. A bicoastal friendship was born, and a fruitful (pardon the pun) wine making partnership began. “Markus changed the whole dynamics of wine for me,” said Joey. Following in the footsteps of the old French Bordeaux wine masters, Joey learned the process involved in using wine to make wine; no chemical altering of acid and pH levels. The result…the highly successful Markus Joey Flight Series project featuring Flight Series White, Flight Series Red, Torrontes, Voigner and more. The Markus Joey Flight Series label was designed by Michael E. Leonard and is a tribute to the passionate work and friendship of the two winemakers, Markus Niggli from the West and Joey Medaloni from the East.
Medaloni Wine Club:
In response to the locally driven desire for a three-tier wine club membership, Medaloni recently revamped its program:
- Silver: 3 bottles, 4 times a year
- Gold: 6 bottles, 4 times a year
- Case: 12 bottles, 4 times year
While you may request all white, all red or a mixed order, Joey encourages you to “Try them all, and you’ll be hooked.” If you think you are not a fan of white wines or red wines, the new releases are the perfect opportunity to widen your wine palate. An extra perk for case club members who live within a 90-mile radius – Medaloni Cellars will make a house delivery!
Medaloni Cellars is located at 9125 Shallowford Road in Lewisville. Tastings and tours are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 6 pm and Wednesday and Thursday by appointment. For more information, call 336.946.1490, or visit medalonicellars.com.