By Thomas Sellers Jr.
He will join his wife and fellow Winery owner Carrie some time this month to commemorate the opening of their business 18 years ago.
Back in the late 1990s, the couple saw a chance to grow their property into a business that would showcase their passion of creating flavor-filled wines. By 1999 the grapevines were starting to grow and produce fruit that would become the signature of the Old Millington Winery at 6748 Old Millington Road.
By Oct. 1, 2000, the Winery was open and business has been flowing like the award-winning Blackberry Wine into a glass.
“This building was built, and we’ve built onto it once about 15 years ago,” Carrie recalled. “We’ve expanded and brought on different types of wines. We found having seasonal offerings is part of what has attracted people.”
Those seasonal fruit wines drawing in customers are plum, cranberry, peach, strawberry and watermelon. On Oct. 11 Carrie sold the last bottle of Watermelon Wine. Now it is time to put the Plum and Cranberry wines on the menu for the holiday season.
“We try not to put too many wines on there because it can become overwhelming,” Perry acknowledged. “It’s like opening up a menu at a restaurant and going, ‘It’s too much to choose.’”
The Old Millington Vineyard & Winery is one of the top choices of wine connoisseurs in the area. The Welchs’ business is part of the Tennessee Farm Wineries Association and Wine Trail of West Tennessee, which includes Paris Winery, White Squirrel Winery, Crown Winery, Century Farm Winery, de Terra Vineyard & Wines of Somerville and Delta Blues Winery.
The Old Millington Winery was known in the group as the place where music meets wine for years of putting on seasonal concerts. The Winery is 14 miles from Downtown Memphis and has won several awards for their regular wines like the Blackberry.
Over mainstays in Millington at the winery are Muscadine, Dry White, Dry Red, Blush and Semi-dry. The selection has brought people from all across Shelby County, West Tennessee, the United States and other parts of the world.
“We had a couple whose last name is Millington,” Carrie recalled. “They’re from Australia. They came because they wanted to get a bottle of wine that had Millington on it.”
Perry said the wines at the Old Millington Winery have even impressed visitors from France. The tastes of the selections have even inspired local music artists to reference the business in song.
“We have very loyal customers,” Carrie said. “Those who come in every week or every month.”
Carrie said multiple elements have contributed to the success of the Old Millington Winery the past 18 years, such as having a family relationship with the customers. Even the trio of dogs, “Main,” “Rose” and “Chico” are a part of the experience. They will be on site this holiday season to greet those who stop by.
“October through December is our busiest time of the year,” Carrie noted. “We do our best sales. People are coming in to purchase wine as gifts, to have for their holiday parties.”
Perry said to grab a case of wine and keep it in the back of the trunk for those pop-up gift opportunities.
He and Carrie hope they will have many more chances to provide gifts and award-winning wine for the area for many more years to come.
“We would like to say we’re still open in 18 years,” Perry said. “Of course I’ll be about a 100 years old by then. We have a daughter and right now she’s not very interested in the wine business. But hopefully down the line she would.
“If not, what I would like to see? It’s going to take some young blood to keep this thing alive,” he concluded. “You’ve got to have young thoughts and young energy. It’s going to take younger people with new thoughts and ideas. They need to put their twist on it. I just hope we’ve left a good solid foundation.”
For more information about the Old Millington Vineyard & Winery, call (901) 873-4114 or visit oldmillingtonwinery.com.