Sunday, September 4, 2016

North Carolina Wine & Grape Month is finally here

By Dathan  | September 4, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

Just in case you haven’t heard – September is officially North Carolina Wine Month.

The picturesque view of Raffaldini Vineyards. This
Winery is known for its Italian-style wines.
Yes, a whole month devoted to drinking wine. Who would say no to that? This is your chance to see, better yet, taste, what the state’s $1.7 billion wine industry is all about. With more than 180 wineries in our state and a whopping 525 grape growers in North Carolina from the mountains to the coast – you’re bound to find a bottle you can call your favorite.

North Carolina has four distinct Viticultural areas, which include Swan Creek, Haw River, Upper Hiwassee Highlands and of course Yadkin Valley. Our favorite destination is a massive stretch of the Yadkin Valley, visiting such well known wineries such as Raffaldini, Shelton, Hanover Park and Jones von Drehle.

We’re fortunate enough to have visited close to 30 of the wineries in the Yadkin Valley, and still have a few more to visit to cross off the list. These are great weekend or even day trips. Our last day trip took us to the tasting rooms of Jones von Drehle, Roaring River Vineyards and Piccione Vineyards – and back home before 7 p.m.

Jones von Drehle Vineyards is
located in Thurmond near Stone
Mountain State Park.
But why should you try these places first hand? Because most of these small, quaint vineyards don’t have any distribution here in the Triangle-area. So the only way to try these wines is to get in your car and pay them a visit. 

Oh, you are one of those who think or heard that North Carolina wines aren’t really that good. I would have to say you are sorely mistaken, but just like everything in this world, there are a few bad “grape” seeds out there. 

Roaring River Vineyards is a
new winery that exists on top of
an old gristmill in Traphill.
There are many wineries in our state producing some award-winning wines with winemakers hailing from all over the U.S. and producing French-, Italian- and New World-style wines that could hold their own against any other region. You might think because we’re in North Carolina, the winemakers here are old tobacco farms who are raised in that good ole’ boy way of the South and have bitten off more than they can chew producing wine. Again, that is not the case.

In the past several years, the two of us have been to around 70 wineries here in the state and have purchased many good wines that we’ve enjoyed with friends or just sitting out on the wine porch watching a storm pass by. And with September being NC Wine Month, we plan on popping the top off many more in the next 30 days … and so should you.

If you can’t make it to any of the amazing wineries here in our state this month, there are still ways to enjoy some NC wine. Check out the wine menu at your favorite restaurant. You might be surprised at what you’ll find. Or pay a visit to your local wine shop and see what they have to offer. Even places like Total Wine has a section devoted to the wines of our state, albeit the wines will be more of the “commercialized” product such as Biltmore, Shelton, Childress or Duplin.

Have fun with the month and try something new … I know we will!

The view from the top of the hill at Piccione Vineyards is a site to see – especially at dusk.