RagApple Lassie Vineyard is one of 38 Yadkin Valley, N.C., wineries.

It’s owned and operated by Frank and Lenna Hobson, and they have a big story to tell about their 2012 grape crop, but to understand the story one has to understand the importance of the winery to a way of life they hope to preserve.

They didn’t start the winery 10 years ago because it was an in-vogue thing to do, or because they hoped to get rich and enjoy rubbing elbows with the movie stars and sports stars who have started wineries for more utopian reasons.

The farm that grows grapes for RagApple Lassie Winery has been in Frank’s family for more than a hundred years. He still grows soybeans and corn and tobacco, and a few other crops on his small farm near Boonville, N.C. The 2012 wine grape crop on his farm was his 12th.

RagApple Lassie is 18 miles down the road from Wake Forest University and the city is moving ever closer to the farm.

Like so many Yadkin River Valley farms, RagApple Lassie is slowly being surrounded by houses and businesses, and Frank and Lenna are determined to prevent that from happening. They want to pass along the farm and the winery and the tradition of farming to their grandchildren.

Early on in the urbanization process they learned that education, not isolation, is the key to keeping the public on the side of farmers. This philosophy permeates most every move they make in both their farm and wine making businesses.

The wine business is a business within itself, and in addition to the farming operation. Each year Frank and Lenna bottle and sell about 6,500 cases of wine. They grow 15 different varieties of grapes and make 15 different wines.

Since planting the first vineyards in 2000 and subsequently building the winery in 2002, RagApple Lassie Vineyards, has continued its namesake’s championship legacy. 

Major awards garnered in its four year history include: Finalist — Best New Winery” by The Wine Appreciation Guild in San Francisco, Best of Show for its 2003 Chardonnay at the North Carolina State Fair, and First Place two consecutive years in the Pacific Rim International in Los Angeles for Best Label/Logo Series.

Plus, every wine produced by RagApple Lassie owns at least two international awards.