Taste the Outer Banks


Experience North Carolina wines while on the Outer Banks. Sanctuary Vineyards, located next to the Cotton Gin in both Jarvisburg and Corolla offers an opportunity for wine tasting and enjoyment. Experience local wines and beers and learn about North Carolina wine right where it’s farmed and produced.

For seven generations, the Wright family has been dedicated to making wine in coastal Carolina. Brothers Tommy and Jerry Wright (and the next generation, John Wright) currently oversee the Sanctuary Vineyards.  

Wine tastings and bottles of wine are reasonably priced. Selections include Syrah, tempranillo, Viognier, Norton and Muscadine. If you haven’t tried muscadine wine yet, this is your chance for a  truly North Carolina experience. The muscadine grapes make a sweet, fruity wine that is refreshing during the hot summer months.

Music and wine is always a great combination for a fun time. During the summer months, Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg offers live music entertainment. Check the seasonal schedule for dates and times. The free special events are great for the entire family, where picnic baskets, kids and pets are welcome.  Wine is available for purchase on site.

Also inquire about semi-annual seasonal food and wine festivals. Kids can enjoy hayrides and other activities while the adults get to experience swirling flavors on their palates. 

The wine cellar inside the Cotton Gin is open seven days a week, wine tastings are on weekends.

Visit our website for more info on weekly music and food truck offerings.


We invite you to explore, experience, and find your Sanctuary.



From Quaint Farm Market to Popular Retail Shop, the Wright Family Doesn’t Shy Away from Change

Most know The Cotton Gin as a must-stop shop for fine gifts, beachwear, souvenirs and so much more, but this retailer has a long-standing history within the Outer Banks. A local landmark that holds almost a century of memories, The Cotton Gin started from humble beginnings and continues to adapt to the times and tourists.

Tommy Wright’s family has been in the Outer Banks for nearly 200 years. His great-great grandfather, Jacob Francis Wright, shipwrecked in Duck back in the early 1800s. Calling these barrier islands his new home, Wright and his family acclimated to their new environment.

Adaptation is a common theme for the Wright family. Tommy and his wife Candace, who continue to steer The Cotton Gin, have seen not only their business change with the times, but the Outer Banks as a vacation destination as well. A farm market in Jarvisburg eventually transformed and flourished into several retail locations dotting the Outer Banks.

“As the area changed and tourism took off in the 1960s, the family saw people coming for vacations, so they began to grow vegetables and things developed from there,” says Tommy Wright.

The Wright family expanded upon the farm market and began to remodel a working cotton gin, later transforming the gin into The Cotton Gin general store in the late 1960s. While the additions to the farm store drew visitors, it was their encounters with the Wright family that kept people coming back year after year, which is something that remains true today.

“It’s still centered around the origin that you met the people and created a relationship,” Wright explains. “That’s why people would keep stopping to see us. They, of course, wanted to buy something from us, but they also wanted to see us again. That’s what a small business is.”

Because of that connection with their customers, the Wright family has never been afraid to take risks when it comes to The Cotton Gin, creating an even better experience for visitors.

After construction was completed to ease traffic on the Outer Banks, the Wrights took the opportunity to open additional locations and broaden their Cotton Gin vision. The Cotton Gin now has locations in Corolla, Duck and Nags Head, all offering the same family feel as the original Jarvisburg location people know and love.

Continuing to adapt, the Wright family planted grapes on their seaside Jarvisburg farm in 2002, later starting Sanctuary Vineyards. The vineyard, boasting about 25 acres of native, French and Italian grapes, is managed by Tommy and Candace’s son, John Wright.

“It’s just another chapter in the story,” Tommy says. “It’s another generation that can do something on the land.”

— By Arielle Patterson



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