Business Spotlight: Duplin Winery
First Bank is proud to work with Duplin Winery of Rose Hill, NC.
Duplin Winery was started in 1972 by the Fussell Family. Now managed by brothers Dave Fussell Jr. and Jonathan Fussell, the Winery produces over 300,000 cases and hosts over 100,000 visitors per year.
Dave Fussell: Duplin actually opened in 1972. My father and grandfather, who were a carpenter and a schoolteacher, decided they were going to start farming on the side. Got talked into growing muscadine grapes for a big winery out of Canandaigua, New York who promised $350 per ton. And after 4 years of these little vines fully maturing and waiting on our first big crop, they decided to pay us only $125 so we were stuck with a whole bunch of grapes.
It was either the jelly business or the wine business, and the wine business sounded like a little more fun.
Jonathan Fussell: We have a little bit more than 100,000 folks that come visit us a year. We also do events outside of the winery, about 110 events a year.
Every business is a relationship business. And it’s about being good to folks and treating everybody exactly how you want to be treated.
Dave Fussell: 20 years ago, we were selling 4-5,000 cases of wine a year. This past year we sold about 370,000.
Jonathan Fussell: We face all kinds of challenges from weather to change of customer tastes. For my department, it’s how to get folks to come visit us and then, also, how to make it new again. Our challenge here is to try to keep them coming back and then also to bring new folks with them.
Dave Fussell: We’re very lucky that we have First Bank here in Rose Hill, North Carolina because they’re a great little bank to work with. They treat us just like family, the way we want to be treated. Here, in a little town, it’s what’s expected and what’s needed. And they work side-by-side and anytime we need anything at all, we just shoot up the road and talk to George and he’s more than happy to help us out.
Jonathan Fussell: I’ve had great experiences with First Bank and I’ve actually dealt with branches all the way from Wilmington to Lillington, North Carolina. We’ve just always had a good relationship and we’re just honored that they’re here in our town.
Dave Fussell: They know your name, they know your family, they know what you need. And they did a wonderful job of treating us right and we hope that they’re going to be in Rose Hill for a long, long time.
To learn more, read the full story: Sippin’ On Sweet Success: Inside the Duplin Winery.