Meet the Team behind the Wine

We are retired Air Force, having served 20+ years for our Country. Our travels took us all over the US and Europe. We were stationed in Germany for 4 years, where I really learned to appreciate wine. Who knew 12 years later we would be making our own wine and open a winery. We retired from Charleston AFB, Charleston SC and moved to the Upstate near Greenville in 2006. In 2011 we started making wine with the blueberries we grow on our property. We then planted strawberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, and then added bees to make mead. As you can tell, we specialize in Fruit & Berry wines. The only "grape" wine we make is the Muscadine/Scuppernong. I mean come-on, we do live in the South and they are the traditional southern grape.  

Our wine mentor said our wines were really good and suggested we enter them in competitions. Our 1st competition was Southeast Regionals where we won a Gold Medal for our Strawberry, Silver for our Peach Berry Melody, and Bronze for our Blueberry. We went on to enter the American Wine Society National Competition and won 2 Bronze medals, one of which was for our Honey Mead. Thinking we were onto something, we dared to enter the Wine Magazine International Competition where we won 2 bronze medals. The following year, after a lot of "tweaking" and new experiments, we won numerous medals to include 2 International GOLD medals. To date, we have 20 medals and continually strive to improve our wines. We started teaching wine classes in 2014 at Grape & Grains in Greenville SC, not only to share our wines and experiences, but to learn different techniques from others in the class. You can never learn too much about wine making.

In 2015, we decided to "go for it" and open Lazy Bear Winery. After, literally, 1-year of painstaking Federal and State Forms and Applications, label approvals, construction and building inspections, we finally received our Bonded Winery License from ATF/TTB and our Domestic Winery License from SC State. Our son came up with the winery name and initial logo and new recipices, our oldest daughter designed our logo, wine bottle labels, and website, and our youngest daughter helps us with entering wine competitions and wine tasting events. Even though our children are in different states, except for our son, we are a humble loving family and I appreciate everything they do to make this venture enjoyable for us and our customers.

Our winery is located in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on our property where we live in Dacusville, SC. We converted our 1,200 square foot shop into the winery. We are a small winery compared to the "Big Boys", but as mentioned earlier we are a start-up winery and live a very humble life. We grow about 30% of our fruits & berries on our 2.5 acre site and supplement our needs from local farmers here in the Upstate. We continue to expand our "crops" as our operation grows. We enjoy being outdoors planting, trimming, pruning, picking, and drinking the "Fruits of our Labor".

Thank You for visiting our website, and we look forward to meeting you for a glass of wine. If you have any questions, please call, text, e-mail, Instagram, Facebook, smoke signal or whatever new communication comes along, and contact us.  

Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Ira Barrett, Owner

Beekeeper, blueberry whisperer... he goes by many names. Ira started making wine as a hobby and found he really enjoyed the process. He and Laura dream up new formulas regularly, testing out different combinations and producing award-winning flavors to satisfy a range of palates.

Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Laura Barrett, Head Fruit Picker

We've got five fully grown blueberry bushes on site, plus a wide variety of other plants. When blueberry season is in full swing, you can find Laura outside, pail in arm, hand selecting each berry as it ripens.