Little River Wines
Little River Winery combines the best elements of wineries throughout the world. Winemaking techniques developed and used in France, Italy, Argentina, South Africa and Napa Valley are being implemented and used at Little River.
Located in the heart of Mount Gilead, North Carolina.
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- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
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Kim Georgius Ballenger has a litany of accolades to her name. She is diligent in her pursuit of creating the perfect combination of blends for Little River wines and exercises her palate every day to perfect her sense of taste, aroma and bouquet. Kim is a dual citizen of the Netherlands and United States. She is presently enrolled in the WSET – a British organization leading to the designation of Master of Wine. However, she is most at home in the vineyards and the lab at Little River Vineyards.
Formal Training & Education:
Vinoloog title from the Dutch Academy of Wine in Maarne, the Netherlands
MSc – Master Degree – Enology, Wine Business and Beverages - Germany
John Georgius caught the “wine bug” while traveling the world visiting wineries and some of the primary growing regions of the world. After a distinguished banking career covering 36 years, grape growing seemed pretty enticing.
An avid outdoorsman, golfer, hunter, finding the property in Mount Gilead, NC was his foray into the ever-changing wine world. His vision and fortitude have made the winery what it is today. “I did not want to make wine until I was comfortable that we were growing superior grapes in our vineyards.”
Mr. Russell – Will - is the go to person for any and all things. He is the general manager of Summer Duck Farm and Little River Vineyards. Will joined the team before the first grapes were planted.
Mr. Russell is a graduate North Carolina State University with a BS Degree majoring in Horticultural Science.
Tasting Room Sales, On-Site Events Coordinator - Tours
Casey Mabe is a native of Ellerbe, North Carolina. She is one of the first people to greet you when you're taking a tour of the vineyards. She is also our tasting room manager and on-site coordinator for all events and tour. Casey is a graduate from East Carolina University. She started working at the vineyard in May of 2012. She is passionate about the wines we make and eager to share that passion with our guests. In her spare time she is a NASCAR fan.
Festivals and Events - Grounds
Brandon Smith has been with Little River Vineyards for approximately 10 years. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and a recent graduate from Richmond County Community College with a major in Telecommunications. Mr. Smith is found at all fairs, events, and festivals, representing the LRV brand and monitoring our mobile tasting room. You can see him on a tractor too, mowing the fields.
Jennifer Pena is one of the first people at Little River Vineyards with whom you speak! Mrs. Pena is ever ready with boundless enthusiasm and élan, she makes it all happen. She is our cheerleader and our coordinator behind the scenes.
JOHN GEORGIUS, JR.
John Jr. will reach for a cold beer over wine usually, but thinks the Little River wines his sister makes are quite special. A career entrepreneur with a finance background, John lends a hand whenever the team needs him. He’ll offer his 2 cents of advice if they ask for it (hardly ever) and do as they tell him when necessary (almost always). John, his wife, Sherrard, and their two girls, Amelia (15) and Lucy (13), think the historic barn is one of the coolest structures they have seen. It is a perfect setting for good times and memorable pictures. For many years, John has looked to Summer Duck Farm as a peaceful destination for shooting sporting clays, riding ATVs, and just enjoying the outdoors with family.
Practices & Techniques
In 2008, with second generation daughter, Kim Georgius Ballenger joining the winemaking team with Alberto Antonini, Little River Vineyard moved into commercial wine making. Mr. Antonini is an Italian Enologist and was named one of the most influential winemakers in Italy and Argentina by Wine Spectator magazine. Mr. Antonini also serves as a consultant for multiple wineries in several countries. Mr. Antonini’s winemaking philosophy involves the blending of modern techniques with old world traditions.
Kim Georgius Ballenger is now Little River Vineyard’s Senior winemaker. She studied under Mr. Antonini and has a Master of Science degree in Enology and Viticulture from SupAgro in Montpellier, France and Geisenheim University in Geisenheim, Germany. However, most of her experience is “hands on” in the vineyards of Little River.
John Georgius owner, states, he felt after ten years of harvesting grapes for friends and family, it was time to start on their own. “Having great winemakers and premium grapes makes for great wines.” We have both!”
In 2013, Synergy won a Silver medal at the prestigious 2013 Grand Harvest Competition sponsored by Vineyard and Winery Management magazine.
In 2014, Synergy won a Silver medal in the East Meets West Competition, also sponsored by Vineyard and Winery Management magazine.
In 2015, Crawdad Creek Big John’s Red won a Silver medal in the International Women’s Wine Competition, sponsored by Vineyards and Winery Management magazine.