Botanist & Barrel crafts a variety of ciders, sours and dry fruit wines. Using techniques from wine-making, brewing, and mixology they are constantly blurring the lines. They are Orange County’s first winery and cidery, situated just north of Hillsborough, on Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm. They are also farmers raising organic blueberries on Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm, where the winery/cidery is located. The farm is certified organic and dry farms for the best estate grown fruit on earth.
Founded in 2017 by brother and sister team and Orange County natives, Lyndon and Kether Smith focus on light-handed winemaking using old world methods with modern sensibilities. They lean towards whole fruit fermentation and make natural beverages with no additives or forced carbonation. They ferment to zero residual sugar and the ABV ranges from 7% to 15.5%. The ciders and wines are raw, wild, unfined, unfiltered, unpasteurized and mostly still. They age in everything from tequila barrels, to sea salt bourbon barrels, to rum, to sauternes, to tawny port to bourbon maple syrup barrels.
Botanist & Barrel is hyper-local, sourcing ingredients whenever possible from within 200 miles of our farmhouse winery. Even the labels and corks are made in NC!
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Kether is intrigued by fermented foods and drinks. When she first learned about Kombucha, which was described to her as mushroom tea, she thought, how disgusting. Moving past her initial hesitation, she tasted it, and had to make it herself. And that’s pretty much where her fermentation experiments began. She moved on to fermenting vegetables, and helping her husband brew beer. After purchasing the blueberry patch, she started learning about wine and cider making. What better way to preserve the summer than bottling it? To expand her knowledge she ventured to the finger lakes region of NY, a viticulural area and received a cider certificate from Cornell University. Now she’s happy to pour you a taste on the farm or at a market.
Farming and wine runs in Lyndon’s blood. His grandfather taught irrigation techniques around the world for the World Bank and his great-great-grandfather farmed and produced wine in Brignoles, France. As a youth, foraging for crab apples, choke cherries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries was a common occurrence. As an adult, Lyndon began to discover the wonderful world of fermentation, making kvas, vinegar & cider in his basement.
After founding a wine distribution company and working in the wine world for a time, he quickly realized making wine and working with plants was his true passion. When the opportunity arose to purchase Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm and build a craft winery and cidery with his sister, Lyndon jumped at the opportunity.
Rob loves to watch fruit grow almost as much as he loves watching his boys grow up. Upon their arrival, he began planting his own fruit trees and bushes so that the guys would have something to harvest and graze on as they grew. As the fruit yields have increased, he has been able to preserve, can, ferment and graft his favorites. Rob has been picking berries while wandering around Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm for 15 years. Little did he know that he would one day drink full the fruits of his labors there. Now he’s busy playing with yeasts and tasting, tasting, tasting so that each season’s unique story can be properly held in glass.
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Amie’s love of food and wine started early in life. She first immersed herself in wine while studying in Italy in her early 20’s and she was hooked. After graduating from college she began working in wine distribution and importation as a national sales manager. She continued traveling to France, Spain and Italy sourcing and importing wines from all over the world before reaching the age of 25.
Wine also brought her and Lyndon together, as they met in a wine shop. They have been collaborating and experimenting in life and wine ever since. Amie is excited to continue learning and educating about the art of winemaking. Her expertise in tasting and finding balance will be invaluable in creating new and exciting wines. She can’t wait to change the way the people think about fruit wine and cider by educating about our unique Botanist style to thirsty folks across the country. Farm, Fruit, Ferment ya’ll!
Deric grew up in rural Georgia where farming is in the blood. After he earned an art degree, he found himself in a professional kitchen and began to merge his love of art with his love of cooking. Deric met Kether in culinary school where they competed on a culinary team and won numerous medals on their way to the national “final four” competition. Upon graduation they went to Atlanta to hone their culinary skills. At Canoe Restaurant in Atlanta Deric found his passion for pastry, where he lets his creativity run wild. He’s a cool dad who loves guiding his active boys on the ins and outs of skateboarding. At present he is the pastry mastermind at G2B Restaurant in Durham, where he creates magnificent sweet finales for folks out for a fine dining experience. If he is not in the kitchen, you may find him at the farm, kicking back, visioning his next creation, enjoying the outdoors, or picking berries with his boys.
Bill Harrison is a native North Carolinian, hailing from the town of Henderson in Vance County. He attended Appalachian State University where he graduated with a degree in Foods and Nutrition. After spending his formative years cooking in restaurants in Boone, Raleigh, and Durham, including time as the Banquet Chef at the Umstead Hotel & Spa, Bill is excited to trade the kitchen for the fermenting room at B&B.