Jim Douthit, Winemaker
Jim Douthit has longed for his own vineyards almost since childhood. As the son of a Navy commander who was also a winemaker, Jim learned about grapes and winemaking techniques at an early age as his family hop-scotched from place to place around the Pacific rim and across the US. Like Johnny Appleseed, the Douthits planted grapes wherever they settled, even though they rarely stayed long enough to harvest the fruit from their own vineyards. During those years of frequent Navy moves, Douthit vintages were created from local grapes and other available fruit.
An interest in chemistry fueled Jim’s initial pursuit of a college major in pharmacy. But the need to augment his college funds plus his desire to explore the facets of many different jobs, led to an incredible assortment of work experiences. Working on farms raising horses gave Jim a stint as a wrangler for the filming of The Long Riders (with the Carradine, Keach, Quaid, and Brown brothers). The sea put a few dollars in his bank account while supplying fare for local markets and the dining room of The Cloister in Sea Island, GA. Jim’s mechanical aptitude landed him a job as a mechanic for International Tractor, and a promotion to the office staff where he managed road service trucks.
Choosing a new major that dovetailed with the coursework he’d already completed for pharmacy, Jim ended up earning a B.S. degree in criminal justice and a minor in chemistry. Like many new college graduates however, he found his career opportunity leading him into an entirely different industry – textiles. Throughout his roller coaster career path, Jim’s hobby was making wine…in his basement, his bathtub, and his garage – wherever he had some room.
On of Jim’s work sabbaticals included some textile consulting, but quickly became a quest for land for his vineyard. The land came about in the most unexpected way. Jim was participating in a Bible study group with 9 ladies who enjoyed his perspectives, company and his dreams about planting grapes and opening a winery. Within a short time, one of the ladies in the class approached Jim with “I understand you’re looking for some place to grow grapes … ” Soon a deal was struck that allowed Jim to plant 10 acres of grapes and launch Holloway Vineyards, in Troutman, NC.
While working on his own vineyard, Jim accepted invitations to participate in some of the vineyard work at nearby Hanover Park Winery with owners and friends, Michael and Amy Helton. Michael, teaching as a mentor, confirmed Jim’s love for vineyards and winemaking while delivering more hands-on experience.
The Yadkin Valley of North Carolina provides fertile ground for productive vineyards and partnerships. Wines from Grassy Creek include grapes from Holloway Vineyards and reflect Jim’s winemaking and viticulture expertise. Additional labors contributed by family & friends have cleared acreage, moved rocks, planted rootstock, weeded and pruned vineyards.
The years will pass, the vines will mature, and we hope all will enjoy the fruits of our labors and vineyards for generations to come.