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Rhonda and Fred Moody discovered the Highland Manor Winery business to be a happy one.
“People come in happy because they’re at a winery. They’re happier when they taste the wine,” Rhonda said. “They’re happier still when they buy the wine.”
“It’s like a Bob Ross painting at a winery,” Fred said.
The happy shades of reds, whites and roses took an orange tint in June 2021. The oldest licensed winery in the state received special brushes of paint when the side of the winery became the 16th mural in the campaign.
Located on York Highway in Fentress County, more than 8,000 cars a day travel past the 40-foot-wide mural on the side of the winery.
When Rhonda and Fred met at UT on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus, owning an award-winning winery wasn’t in their plans. Fred was enrolled in the veterinary school. Rhonda was a business major working at the vet school as a large animal caretaker. When Fred graduated in 1999 and began working at a vet clinic in Livingston, Tennessee, Rhonda transferred to Tennessee Tech to finish her degree.
“She’s definitely the business person here,” Fred said.
But perhaps there is more than one business person in the family.
In 2016, it was Fred who saw the business opportunity when his aunt and uncle decided to sell the winery that they had bought in 1999. Fred’s uncle said the winery, which began in 1980, was a six-month-of-the-year business and Fred thought it would pair well with the couple’s other six-month-of-the-year business, a bird hunting lodge. The winery now operates year around managed by Rhonda, who also works in insurance. The couple recently started a brewery on the winery property to tap a different audience.
“UT’s provided us with a lot of information to make us successful,” Fred said.
From education to extension agents to agriculture publications like “Native Warm Season Grass Management” to assistance from UT experts, the couple continue to look to UT. After the Moodys bought the winery with its 70 acres of Alwood, catawba and Norton vines, they sought the advice of David Lockwood, UT Institute of Agriculture professor of plant sciences and noted viticulture expert. Lockwood taught them about grapes, trimming vines and other aspects of the wine business.
It was natural when Fred saw a video about UT’s mural campaign followed by an article in the Tennessee Alumnus (now Our Tennessee) magazine, he and Rhonda decided to apply to be considered as a mural location.
“Everything that goes on in the state revolves in some way around UT,” Fred said. “Then they’ve got somebody in every county with extension agents.”
When visiting various bank or city offices, Rhonda said she frequently sees UT diplomas proudly hanging on the wall. On social media, she sees pictures at graduation time with multiple generations of family members holding their UT degrees.
The Moodys enjoy returning to the UT Institute of Agriculture and UT Knoxville campuses whether for continuing education, a veterinary referral or taking a winery employee from Kansas on a tour. It’s a place, they said, that still feels like home.
“UT was always the school to go to. If you could get in, you went to UT,” Rhonda said.
For Fred, some of his closest friendships, including meeting his best friend from Puerto Rico, grew while he attended vet school.
“It helped me think outside the box,” Fred said of his UT education.
“It became the melting pot,” Rhonda said. “It helped to break the small-town mentality and then allowed us to come back to a place we love and make a difference.”
2965 South York Hwy
Jamestown, TN 38556
Curtis Glover has been running his mural business for over six years. Based in Knoxville, he is known for his large-scale, highly detailed work covering a multitude of walls in and around the city.
His style and content vary to suit the needs of his clients. As a commercial artist, he’s been hired by all types of businesses in the past that are looking to make a bold statement on their storefronts.
He mainly works with acrylics and spray cans while adding multiple layers to provide depth in his work—which can be seen from Tennessee to Costa Rica.