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As the weather begins to cool down and the leaves begin to change, there is no better time to head to the Yadkin Valley for a day or two of wine tasting with friends or your significant other. The views are spectacular with the vibrant fall foliage and makes for a perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon. North Carolina has a lot to offer these days when it comes to wineries and this Fall, Yadkin Valley has welcomed two new wineries to its collection of over 40 wineries and 150-plus statewide.
WESTBAND WINERY & BREWERY
If the name Westbend sounds familiar, that's because it is. The original Westbend, which was open for more than 20 years, closed its doors back in 2014. We had visited Westbend a handful of times and were sad to see it close. Much to our delight, Westbend was purchased by Walt and Sonia Breathwit of Houston, Texas.
We were fortunate enough to be able to visit during the grand opening on October 22. We arrived promptly at noon right as the doors were opening as we were greeted by a host of tasting room employees ready and waiting to welcome visitors. The tasting room is an old farmhouse that was originally on the property and adds to the character of this newly refurbished winery and brewery. With a fire in the fireplace and the warmth of the wood paneling, this winery lends itself to a perfect Fall day with a glass or bottle of wine whether in one of the private rooms or out on the patio listening to live music as the day wanes on.
We decided to do the full tasting which included seven wines for $10. We were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of wines and both enjoyed the Chambourcin enough to buy a bottle and have the wine maker sign it for us. Then we moved on to the beer. We shared a flight which consisted of an IPA, a brown ale and a Wheat (which taste a lot like a Wit). With Dathan the “beer guy” and me more the “wine girl” I can definitely say, I am not an IPA girl. I find IPAs to be entirely too hoppy for my taste. So, imagine our surprise when the IPA was my favorite of the three. Now, don’t let that deter any IPA fans out there. The subtleness of the hops, made this one more enjoyable for this “wine girl.” The beer flight was $5. When we returned a couple weeks later, they were just releasing their Blonde ale. The “beer guy” gave it a two thumbs up!
Overall, we had a very enjoyable time at Westbend and plan on making more stops on our journey’s through NC wine country. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the scenery is great. Check out their Facebook page for events, such as Weekends at Westbend featuring live music, food trucks and of course, beer and wine.
MIDNIGHT MAGDALENA VINEYARDS
It was truly a fluke that I stumbled across a new winery in the Swan Creek AVA online one day - Midnight Magdalena Vineyards. I initially took a double-take. A new winery? We must go check them out!
Midnight Magdalena is the seventh winery of Swan Creek joining the ranks of Laurel Gray, Dobbins Creek, Shadow Springs, Windsor Run, Raffaldini and Piccione. This winery is family-owned and operated, producing such wines as Riesling, Traminette and Merlot. We stopped by the weekend after the grand opening not knowing exactly what to expect. With a friend following behind and wondering where we just guided him to, we turned up the gravel drive to come upon a small, charming tasting room. The first thing we noticed, however, was there were no vines. We asked the owners the question and they replied that the vines were actually across the road from the tasting room, with plans to plant more in front overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mystery solved.
The tasting room was beautifully and tastefully decorated with a Southern wrap-around porch, perfect for sipping a glass of wine taking in the scenery. When you visit, be sure to ask about the construction of the tasting bar as well as the wine glass and wine bottle pressed into the bar top. It is magnificent and unique. What else I loved about this winery was hearing the stories behind what brought these owners to where they are today and the background of the name, Midnight Magdalena.
We decided on the full tasting and enjoyed each and every wine we tried that day. Following the tasting, we decided to take a break, purchase a glass, and sit outside. With a rosé, a white and a red, we took in the scenery, discussed the wines, and in the back of my mind, I was already planning another trip back in a couple of months.
They, in conjunction with the other wineries of Swan Creek, will be hosting a Barrel Tasting Red Riedel Event and Holiday Open House on November 19- 20. Tickets are $35 per person. This is a gourmet food and red wine pairing event with Riedel wine glasses, which all of us know, make wine taste even better!