Thursday, May 19, 2016

The North Carolina Wine Trail

When you think of US Wine regions, Napa and Sonoma in California usually come to mind first. Then there's Southern California's Santa Ynez Valley, the Finger Lakes and the North Fork of Long Island regions in New York, Virginia's wineries, Washington state and Oregon wineries and even wineries in Texas. But most people don't know that North Carolina has some 100 wineries, mostly concentrated in the Western and Piedmont regions of the state. And in the Yadkin Valley area there are 36 wineries on the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail. Located near the small town of Elkin, North Carolina - which was one of Budget Travel's "Coolest Small Towns", the Yadkin Valley is a primarily rural area located about 45 minutes south of the Virginia state line.(In fact, North Carolina is said to have the "mother vine" of US wines which was here when the first settlers arrived on Roanoke Island) We visited three of them recently for some wine tasting and beautiful scenery.



RagApple Lassie Vineyard I had seen the sign for RagApple Lassie Vineyard and I was always curious about the name. So we headed to Boonville (about 25 miles north of Winston-Salem) for an afternoon tasting. RagApple Lassie has 15 different wines available for purchase (my favorite was their very unique chardonnay) and all are made from estate grown grapes.Wine tastings are held inside a building designed by students at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and made to look like a farm building of that area, including a silo. And as to that unique name, well it comes from the owners show calf he owned as a teen who won Grand Champion at the North Carolina State Fair.




















Adagio Vineyard Adagio Vineyards and Tasting room, located just outside of Elkin, is brand spanking new. Our tasting was hosted by Douglas, who is a native to Elkin, and he was very helpful in not only identifying what we might like to taste but also in giving us some helpful tips about the area. Adagio has eight wines they are currently pouring (my favorite was the Coda which is a sweet dessert wine that reminded me of ice wine that I tasted in New Hampshire) and most have won medals at nationwide wine shows. After our tasting, we sat outside at their fire pit enjoying the afternoon.





Elkin Creek Vineyard My favorite of the three wineries we visited was Elkin Creek Vineyard. Located an hour north of Charlotte, on yes, you guessed it....Elkin Creek, this winery is a popular spot for weddings - in fact, there was one on the day we visited. Housed in a brick building with an outdoor patio, a picnic shelter and picnic tables by the creek, Elkin Creek is owned by two former members of the Blue Man Group. There are 10 wines currently listed on their website including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Viognier. (My favorite was the Mistela which is a mix of whites - Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Viognier - I guess I prefer white wine) One of the more popular aspects of Elkin Creek is their kitchen, and specifically their Sunday afternoon made-to-order pizzas from their brick oven. We are told they are to die for and reservations are suggested - unfortunately, we weren't there on a Sunday afternoon so I guess I'll be back!





















Now I only have 33 to go to conquer the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail! It's a tall order, but somebody's gotta do it!


This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox , Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!











21 comments:

  1. It's interesting to discover wine trails in so many states - places one might not expect. The wineries you've showcased on the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail all look worth visiting. Lovely settings.

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    1. I agree! I can't wait to explore more of Yadkin Valley. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I would have never guessed. I guess they are springing up all over. We live in the heart of what many say is the best grape growing ground in the country, Washington State wine country in central and eastern Washington State.

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    1. Oh oops! I forgot Washington and Oregon in this post - will have to fix that! Thanks for visiting!

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  3. A friend of mine posted pictures of this area in Facebook. However, I didn't know there are so many wineries in the area. The wine business just keep growing and growing. That cow drinking wine made me laugh like for three minutes.

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    1. The area is becoming very popular but it still retains it's ruralness - hence the cow drinking wine ha ha! Thanks for stopping by again, Ruth!

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  4. I saw a program about vines growing in France and they said the sloping ground was important (but I don't remember for what kind of wine). I'm hearing your despair at having to sample 33 more. Better get started... :)

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    1. Hmmm...Western North Carolina does have alot of sloping ground so maybe that's why it's become such a big wine growing area. And yes, I better get started with my next 33 visits - maybe today? Thanks for visiting, Jan!

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  5. Interesting! Who knew? My in-laws live in Wilmington, but NC hasn't impressed me on our visits. Maybe I need them to take me to these vineyards instead! ;-)

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    1. The Wilmington area has one of the biggest wineries in the state - Duplin - which is known for their coastal, sweet wines (they have a lighthouse on their label) so you could have a tasting there when you visit your in-laws. But it's not too far to get to Yadkin Valley - hope you get to visit some of their wineries. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. All these wineries seem to have such a lovely setting. Lately they seem to appear almost everywhere. Recently I just discovered that even Oxnard has some very good ones. Thank you for joining us for #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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    1. Love visiting all the vineyards - most are so pretty! Thanks for visiting!

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  7. I didn't know that North Carolina has more than 100 wineries. I'd like to visit the Western and Piedmont regions of the Carolina. We intent to travel the US next year with a camper van. #TPThursday www.travelbug.co

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    1. Sounds like a great trip - Western North Carolina has lots to offer and I hope you make it part of your drive. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I think i remember hearing that at least some of these wineries are former tobacco plantations, so it's good that they are finding a way to keep the area agricultural at least. Glad to hear many of the wines are worthwhile, too. It can take a wine region time to figure out what grapes work best for it and to mature enough for the the wines to be good. I've seen it happen with Long Island wine, which were once pretty mediocre and are now reliably good for the most part.

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    1. You're right - some of them used to be tobacco plantations and it's great that they can keep the area agricultural. The wines primarily are sweet wines and it's taken some time - as wine does, but I'm happy that they are now coming into their own and winning some medals - and getting visitors. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  9. Ooh, I'll have to keep this in mind. I love visiting wineries when I travel, and I haven't ever been to a winery in North Carolina.

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    1. I love visiting wineries when I travel, too, so I'm always on the lookout to add one to my itinerary. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  11. There are so many rich experiences at all the vineyards throughout the Yadkin Valley and all over North Carolina. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We love the uniqueness of each one, not to mention the fantastic variety of wine to pick from. We've been to the Yadkin Valley twice over the last 2 years for a romantic weekend getaway and have visited 10 or so of the vineyards there. But there are so many others around the state we can't wait to visit. Thanks for describing a few more that we can add to our list we haven't hit yet. This is why we started our blog to document the fun times we are having and to get the word out that NC should be considered in the heavyweight class of great vineyard trips. Sharing experiences here:

    https://enjoyncwine.wordpress.com/

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    1. Will have to visit your blog - love hearing about NC wineries to visit! Thanks for visiting!

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