Jacob Willis Paulk, Sr., was the man who started it all here at Paulk Vineyards. In the 1960s, he saw the need to transition from traditional row-crop farming to something different. His innovation prompted him to involve his county extension agent and to experiment with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables before settling on muscadines. He planted the first vines in 1970, and so it all began.
Once the vines began to produce fruit, Jacob had to create a market for a fruit that grows wild here in the South. The story, as he would tell it, was that a wholesale distributor in Florida would not buy them because he thought he could never sell them. Jacob went down the road to a farmer’s market and sold them to the owner, who knew what muscadines are and how well he could sell them. The owner then asked what to do when he sold out? Jacob told him he could reorder from the wholesale distributor down the road! Soon enough, the distributor called Jacob back to place an order!
When Jacob was in his 40s, he had heart bypass surgery. Being a man of action and strong will, he made up his mind that he would not go through such a surgery again, and he never did! He changed his diet from traditional southern fried foods and sweet tea to nearly vegan. He researched about healthy lifestyles and discovered just how healthy muscadines are, which led to the creation of Muscadine Products Corporation, which produces powders and concentrates from muscadines and now, other fruits, for the dietary supplement industry.
As technology and the internet grew more accessible, Jacob would spend time reading articles about muscadines and other health-related topics. He would print those articles to give to those he thought might (or should be!) interested. While others his age often shun technology, Jacob used it to connect with his family. In fact, he was the first in the family to get an iPhone when they came out so that he and Juliette could FaceTime with their son’s family in North Carolina!
Jacob valued time with family and friends so much that when his boys were teenagers, rather than taking one big family vacation that summer, they all voted to build a quaint red A-frame cabin next to a large pond on the family farm that would last so much longer. That cabin has served as the backdrop for countless memories for the Paulk family and many of their friends. And now, it’s depicted on every bottle of Paulk Vineyards Wines.
Jacob’s vision for healthy, natural supplements made from muscadines continues on with Nobility Products.
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