Two Wive’s Vineyard

In the foothills of the South Mountain range in Cleveland County, Two Wives Vineyard sits on property owned by Loretta Justice’s family for 100 years. Loretta explains, “The farm had previously produced corn, hay and dairy cattle. When my parents, R. F. and Meriel Tillman were married; my grandfather, Dr. Forest Edwards, turned the farm over to them.”

Loretta and her late husband Jerry started Two Wives Vineyard in 2003 with help from Loretta’s sister, Forestine Teague. They tend two acres of scuppernong and muscadine grapes. “The vines were two years old when purchased and it took two more years for the vines to develop enough to produce decent sized fruit. These vines will last many years if they are taken care of,” says Loretta.

Indeed, the vines last many years. North Carolina is home to what is known as the “Mother Vine” of scuppernongs. It was written about first by Florentine explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano while exploring the Cape Fear River Valley in 1524. The vines grew naturally in that area. The “Mother Vine” is located on Roanoke Island. The scuppernong, which is North Carolina’s official fruit, was named for the Scuppernong River located in NC along the coastal plain. The scuppernongs and muscadines are filled with nutrients that make them both a healthy and delicious choice for eating.

Loretta explains, “ Jerry and I always had the farm, but Jerry also worked as a truck driver and I was employed by the school system. But, loving fresh vegetables, we started raising a big garden.” Loretta says, “Raul Iberra helped us with the gardening, and wanted summer work. Over the years he went to work for Harvey Webb at Webb’s Peach Orchard. So, Raul sold produce at the orchard and they were buying scuppernongs and muscadines to sell. That helped us make up our mind to set out on our own to start a vineyard.” Loretta says, “We enjoy the work, enjoy the people who come to our store. We love to talk to them. We have had many different nationalities there—Germans, Romanians and Italians and folks from many different states.”

“When Woodmill Winery opened, we were able to go on a tour there. We got to know the people who own it and we became their vendor. We sell a big portion of our grapes to Woodmill.”

Loretta continues, “During the months of September and October, we open our store at 6429 Fallston Road, adjacent to the vineyard. We sell fresh vegetables as well as the seven varieties of muscadines and scuppernongs. We prepare and sell muscadine and scuppernong jelly. We also prepare fruit leather—which contains the pulp and hull of the grapes. We cook and dehydrate the leather and that is where the most nutritious part of the grape is found.”

During the season, Two Wives Vineyard sells tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, raspberries and blackberries at the Farmer’s Market along with their muscadines and scuppernongs. On Tuesday mornings they sell at the parking lot of Cleveland County Health Department and on Saturday mornings they sell at Foothills Farmers’ Market in Uptown Shelby. Loretta’s sister, Forestine Teague, also helps with working in the store. The store, located at 6429 Fallston Road is an enjoyable place, a friendly place; a great place for pulling up a chair and visiting a while.

Loretta and Raul invite you to stop in during September and October to purchase North Carolina’s official fruit or just to visit. You may even learn how Two Wives Vineyard got its name!

  • Two Wive's Vineyard
  • Loretta Justice & Raul Ibarra
  • 6429 Fallston Road
  • Lawndale, NC 28090
  • 704-466-9936 704-476-5241
  • [email protected]

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