1. Biltmore Winery in Antler Hill Village.
Visitors are offered a tour of the cellars, a winetasting experience that is included in the price of admission to Biltmore, and an unusual shop where one can acquire almost any wine accessory imaginable.
2. Noni Bacca Winery, Wilmington.
No matter your level of expertise in the world of the oenophile, you will be pleased with what you discover in Wilmington.
3. Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, Foscoe.
Great for: North Carolina country scenery. Producing fine sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and ice wine, the Grandfather Vineyard & Winery is among the best North Carolina wineries on the Boone Area Wine Trail.
4. Rocky River Vineyards, Midland.
Great for: North Carolina mountain scenery. The muscadine grapes create some truly unique wine.
5. Stony Knoll Vineyards, Dobson.
Of the several excellent varieties of wine to be acquired, try their delicious Syrah 2007; aged in oak for 17 months, it has a balanced fruit and tannin taste with a peppery tinge. Don't miss the Ardella Blanc, a sweet wine made from an American native grape.
6. Childress Vineyards, Lexington.
The bistro, tasting room, well-stocked gift shop, winery tour, and deck – often featuring live music audible from the vineyards below – will enchant you.
7. Southern Charm Winery, Lincolnton.
Known For: Fruit blend wines. Making a choice is difficult so you are likely to take home several bottles of fruit blends like the Honeysuckle with hints of apples, pear and honey, or the Southern Charm with an undertone of peach combined with the flavor of a well-balanced traditional white wine.
8. RayLen Vineyards & Winery, Mocksville.
Great For: Winery tours. Be sure to taste the pinot grigio, a well-balanced Italian white with the zest of citrus and the viognier, created from the famous Rhone Valley grape that thrives in North Carolina.
N.C. Promotes Wine Tourism
Haw River AVA helps local industry transition from textiles and tobacco to winemaking. Haw Valley Set amid 44 acres of winegrapes, Grove Winery & Vineyards is located about 20 minutes from downtown Greensboro, N.C.
One of the areas benefitting from these efforts is the Haw River Valley, now home to seven wineries: Grove Winery & Vineyards, The Winery at Iron Gate Farm, Benjamin Vineyards and Winery, SilkHope Winery, GlenMarie Vineyards and Winery, Wolfe Wines and Starrlight Mead. In March 2009, after three years of waiting, Haw River was named the state’s third AVA by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The seven wineries and 14 growers within the 868 acres of the Haw River watershed in the north central area of the state are now approved to use the designations “Haw River” and “Haw River Valley.” The North Carolina legislature created the GLF in 1999 to strengthen the state’s economy, especially agri-tourism and business development such as the North Carolina wine trail. Approximately $20,000 was spent on the Haw River petition.
Wines produced here are likewise extremely diverse in character. Common climatic features in the valley include precipitation, air temperature and growing season. The soil composition changes from north to south as the river flows southeasterly. The Haw River rock dates back 700 million years, while Yadkin Valley to the west dates to 1.5 billion years ago.
For a flashback that puts the Haw River AVA in perspective, growers need only review the progress made in Yadkin Valley. The area’s first winery, Westbend Vineyards, began making wine in 1988.
Activity increased when the Yadkin Valley AVA was awarded, and between 2003 and 2009 the area added 25 new wineries. Getting that AVA really helped the wine business grow.
According to Susan Dosier, public relations consultant to the N.C. Wine and Grape Council and a former food editor at Southern Living magazine, the addition of the Haw River AVA opens yet another door for wine marketing in the state. Tourists will still pass a few tobacco patches in the area, but the Haw AVA enhances our state’s wine tourism product and brings hikers, bikers, float trippers, restaurants, festivals and, of course, wine tasters.