Because of their family-run company, Cloer Nursery, the Cloers of Apex, North Carolina, were a household name in the landscaping industry for three decades. The second-generation owner of the nursery, Tam, added Cloer Family Vineyards to the family’s legacy in June of 2010, also expanding the scope of the family’s legacy. View more.
Tam, who graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, became interested in winemaking as a young man after meeting an older neighbor who made wine at home. Tam spent years visiting his neighbor’s basement vineyard and learning the fundamentals from him when his neighbor died and left him with all his winemaking equipment.
Tam began experimenting with grapes on his family’s 18-acre property in 1995, relying on his winemaking skills and agricultural knowledge. He started with around 3,000 vines spread out across five acres. Vinifera (mixed varietals) and French Hybrid grapes were grown on the vines. Even though these grapes were first recommended for this section of the nation, it quickly became apparent that they were not well suited to their region’s warm, humid environment. Mold and mildew were a regular battle for the Cloers, and pests and illnesses afflicted their vines.
Tam finally pulled up all of the vines in his vineyards after almost 12 years of spraying and troubleshooting. He analyzed current studies and data from his vineyards with a team of North Carolina State University experts before deciding to replant with muscadines, which were found during Sir Walter Raleigh’s explorations in North Carolina’s Outer Banks in the 1500s.
The fresh vines flourished, as predicted. Tam and his wife, Pam, had picking parties throughout the harvest, inviting friends and family to help pick (and enjoy) the ripe fruit. After considerable experimenting and tasting, they served their new wines at dinner parties and offered them as gifts.
The Closer devised a plan to construct a winery where they could enjoy their wines with old and new acquaintances in a calm and pleasant setting. They wanted to build a space that “matched” their farm and southern traditions, so they chose a classic red barn with a green tin roof to house the Cloer Family Vineyards winery.
Cloer Family Vineyards is now the only family-owned farm in the Triangle region that grows its grapes and makes its wines. Tam oversees the vineyard, while Pam and their two young children, Taylor and Ashley, help with harvesting, bottling, labeling, marketing, and sales, among other tasks.
Please feel free to visit them through their website if you have any comments, questions, or recommendations. You may contact them via phone at (919) 387-5760.