The RayLen Story
When Joe and Joyce Neely started their winery in Mocksville, NC in 1999, they named it RayLen after their two daughters — Rachel and Len, short for “Helen”.
Crafting exceptional wine in NC since 1999
In the 1990s, Joe and Joyce Neely were visiting friends in Napa Valley and were inspired by the local winemaking industry. Supported by friends who had started their own wineries in North Carolina, the Neelys decided to join the nascent efforts sweeping North Carolina. While searching for the right combination of farmland and interstate access, they were delighted to find a large tract for sale in Yadkin Valley. They planted the vineyards’ first vines in 1999.
For nearly a century prior to the Neelys purchasing the property, it had functioned as a dairy farm. Today, RayLen Vineyards and Winery’s rolling hills and winding drive romance guests as they drive through 35,000 European varietal grape vines. The tasting room is frequented by new travelers and local friends alike, and loyal customers stop by on a regular basis to enjoy the breathtaking views, serene atmosphere, and of course, winemaker Steve Shepard’s award-winning wines.
A Leader in NC Winemaking
Raylen Vineyards is located in the internationally-recognized, federally-approved, Yadkin Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, an exceptional area for growing European wine grapes. RayLen Vineyards is a charter member of the AVA, joining in the early 2000s when there were only four other wineries in the area. Many other NC wineries are now a part of the AVA, but RayLen Vineyards remains a leading pioneer of the Yadkin Valley with over 35,000 vines on our property today.
a family-owned organization
When Joe and Joyce Neely started their winery, they named it “RayLen” after their two daughters — Rachel and Len, short for “Helen”. With Joe’s passing in 2021, the leadership role for his passion project passed to Rachel and Len, who are now managing it.
Today RayLen is a result of his vision and the evolution of ideas from our team and his daughters, who continued his legacy. Though things have changed since we produced our first bottle in 2001, Joe’s mission still guides us, “To manufacture quality wine with great taste, that meets or exceeds consumer expectations.”
RayLen Vineyards Lovers
Welcome to Wine Paradise in NC
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Whether you’re coming to us from down the road or across state lines, you’re always welcome at RayLen Vineyards and Winery. From public winery events to private wine tastings, we offer a variety of unforgettable experiences everyone can enjoy. We’ll see you soon!