Wednesday, January 17, 2018

NC Wineries Celebrate Valentine's Day

Love is in the air this Valentine's Day at North Carolina wineries. Several wineries this year are offering up special events for Valentine's Day – from dinners to chocolate and wine pairings and even blending seminars. We put together a calendar of events from our own NC Wine Country.

Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery
170 Heritage Vines Way, Elkin
🍷 Chocolate, Music, Wine and Flowers!
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. – Free
Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery will celebrate Valentine's Day on February 10 with music by CC & Company, chocolate fountain and of course wine! And as a bonus, special flowers for the ladies!

Old Homeplace Vineyard
623 McGee Rd, Winston-Salem
🍷 Sweetheart Dinner & Dance
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018
6 p.m. – 10 p.m. – $35 per person (plus tax)
Join Old Homeplace Vineyard in Winston-Salem for its inaugural Sweetheart Dinner & Dance and enjoy an Italian- style buffet dinner, DJ Glenn Snider will be onsite with dance music and of course OHV wines to top off the evening. Tickets are available at the tasting room or by calling 336-399-7293.

Burntshirt Vineyards
2695 Sugarloaf Rd, Hendersonville
🍷 Valentine’s Blending Seminar
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018
2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – $35 General Admission, $30 Club Members
Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville will be hosting a blending seminar giving couples the opportunity to create a romantic red blend. The seminar will be led by winemaker Preston Thomas with all blends being judged and the winner will be able to take home a bottle of their blended creation. Artisanal cheese, meat boards and chocolate covered strawberries will also be available. For tickets email or call 828-685-2402.

RagApple Lassie Vineyard
3724 Ragapple Lassie Ln, Boonville
🍷 Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 – Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018
12 p.m. – 6 p.m. – $14 per person
Join the folks at RagApple Lassie Vineyard for a special wine and chocolate pairing of 5 premium RagApple Lassie wines paired with 5 different samples of gourmet chocolates. Reservations are required for this special event.

RayLen Vineyards & Winery
3577 US Highway 158, Mocksville
🍷 Love the Wine You’re With
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. – $10 per person | $5 wine club members
Join RayLen Vineyards for a chocolate truffle and wine pairing event on Saturday, February 10. RayLen will be pairing three chocolate truffles with three of its award-winning wines plus a souvenir glass. Come on out to enjoy a day of music by Jukebox Rehab, food by Smoke Wagon and of course, chocolate and wine. A great way to spend Valentine’s day!

2364 Cedar Forest Rd, Ronda
🍷 Sweet Pairings
2 Weekends! 
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 – Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018  Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018
Piccione Vineyards will be celebrating Valentine's Day for a 2-weekend event of Macarons paired with white wine and chocolate paired with red wine. 

Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery
450 Groce Rd, Ronda
🍷 Amore - The Language of Love
Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. – Free event
This complimentary event at Raffaldini Vineyards will feature classical guitar performance by Samuel Taylor with wine and flowers available for purchase. RSVP is required as space is limited. You may RSVP at the tasting room, the website at, call 336-526-1078 or email at

JOLO Winery & Vineyards

219 JOLO Winery Lane, Pilot Mountain
🍷 JOLO's Valentine's Dinner
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 – $99 for a 4-course dinner
This event is limited to 12 couples per reservation time, with two seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For this special event menu, click here. Reservations are required.

Flint Hill Vineyards
2153 Flint Hill Road, East Bend
🍷 Flint Hill’s Tapas Style Dinner
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
6:30 p.m.
A 4-course dinner with bottle of wine for $150 per couple. This limited seating Tapas style dinner, hosted by Flint Hill Vineyards and Chef George Elefantis. Each couple will receive a bottle of Flint Hill wine of your choice for the table. Reservations are required by calling 336-699-4455.

6255 Town Center Drive, Clemmons
🍷 Valentine’s Weekend Wine Tour
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
$89 per person
Looking for something fun to do in the Yadkin Valley for Valentine’s Day, the Yadkin Valley Wine Tours has you covered! The tour will visit some great NC wineries including a tasting and lunch at Herrera Vineyards, a vineyard tour and tasting at Stony Knoll and finally a stop at Round Peak.

For more information on the tours offered, click here.

South Creek Vineyards & Winery
2240 South Creek Road, Nebo

🍷 For the Love of Wine & Chocolate
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 – Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
As South Creek awakens from its winter slumber, come join in the fun with a Valentine's pairing of wine and chocolate. As an extra treat, the Diva Rose' will be released this weekend as well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

North Carolina Wines win medals in California Competition

Jones von Drehle won 4 medals in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose 
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

The largest competition of American wines in the world, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition, just released its winners for 2018.

North Carolina officially had five wineries win medals, which included a total of 8 gold medals and 1 double gold medal. The state did pretty well, bringing in more hardware this year than it did in 2017 – hopefully proving that N.C. wine is starting to put its name on the wine map.

The competition received 6,960 entries from 35 states across the U.S. The total of 57 judges ranged from a variety of fields including trade, education, media, retail and hospitality. The judging took place at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds in Sonoma County.

Varietals were divided into categories and subcategories, and the panel rated wines into Bronze, Silver, Gold or Double Gold (equivalent to a unanimous rating by all panel members).

Here’s a list of North Carolina “wineries” that won awards. We excluded North Carolina wines from Jeff Gordon Estates and Vanderbilt Estates since the wine appellations were actually listed in California. 

Related Story: N.C. wineries win awards in largest American-made wine competition


  • All Other Red Blends - $15.00 - $29.99 2015, American Red Blend, $16.00, Bronze
  • Merlot - $15.00 - $18.99, 2016, American Merlot, $15.00, Silver
  • Pinot Noir - $15.00 - $19.99, 2016, American Pinot Noir, $17.00, Bronze
  • Blanc de Blancs - 2015, Blanc de Blancs, Sparkling Brut, $50.00, Gold
  • Merlot - $19.00 - $22.99, 2016, American Merlot, $20.00, Gold
  • Zinfandel - $20.00 - $23.99, 2015, American Zinfandel, $20.00, Silver

  • Petit Verdot, 2014, Yadkin Valley, Petit Verdot, $24.00, Silver
  • Cab Franc - $0.00 - $29.99, 2014, Yadkin Valley, Cabernet Franc, $22.00, Gold
  • Other White Varietals, 2016, Yadkin Valley, Petit Manseng, $26.00, Gold
  • Viognier - $0.00 - $24.99, 2016, Yadkin Valley, Viognier, $20.00, Silver

  • Viognier - $0.00 - $24.99, 2016, Yadkin Valley, Viognier, $16.99, Bronze

  • Merlot Dominant Blends - Up to $29.99, 2011, Yadkin Valley, Ring of Fire, $22.00, Gold
  • Bordeaux - up to $29.99 (All Bordeaux Varietals), 2013, Yadkin Valley, Ring of Fire, $24.00, Gold
  • Other White Varietals, 2016, Yadkin Valley, Petit Manseng, $26.00, Silver
  • Muscat, 2016, Yadkin Valley, Muscat Blanc, $17.00, Gold

  • Chardonnay - $24.00 - $25.99, 2016, Chardonnay, $25.00, Bronze
  • White Dessert/Late Harvest - RS >3.50 2016, ICE, $40.00, Silver
  • All Other Red Blends - $30.00 and above, 2015, Double Barrel, $50.00, Bronze
  • Cabernet Dominant Blends - Up to $29.99, Morton, $14.00, Double Gold
  • Red Bordeaux - $30.00 - $39.99 (All Bordeaux Varietals), 2015, Coastal Collage, $30.00, Bronze
  • Aglianico, 2015, Aglianico, $40.00, Silver
  • Dry Rose/Blush - RS >.25-.99, Wildflowers, $20.00, Bronze
  • White Blends - $20.00 to $29.99, 2016, The Triangle, $20.00, Bronze
  • White Blends - Up to $19.99, Wild Pony White, $15.00, Bronze
  • Albarino, 2016, Pearl Albarino, $25.00, Gold

    Related Story: Sanctuary Vineyards crafts award-winning wines on the coast.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winery restaurant, Chez Joséphine, to open on Jan. 19

By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose 
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

Neither Raleigh's typical insane gridlock nor nonstop downpours kept the two of us from the soft opening
of Chez Joséphine – the new restaurant located inside Roaring River Winery in Traphill.

Invited by winery co-owner Tom Silvey, we were asked to be their guest for the evening to share our experience on anything we wanted on the menu – or at least what was still on the menu by the time we ordered.

Prior to dinner we talked with Tom at the tasting bar while he poured us a couple glasses of RRV's Chambourcin. The dark plum, cherry and leather that dominated this wine was a great choice as the two of us took up a couple seats outside waiting for a table to clear. It was a packed house. Maybe a little too packed for a soft opening.

Looking over the menu we had our food choices already selected. The brick chicken with sweet potato purée for Jen, and for Dathan, the New York Strip steak. Once inside and seated, we learned that the steak and the prime rib were sold out, so Dathan selected the Pork Chop with sweet potato purée and mac and cheese, since the apple-braised cabbage was also no longer available. But that was for the best, because the mac and cheese was one of the best we've had in some time.

With a bottle of wine at our table, we waited for our food to arrive. In the meantime, Silvey sat down at the table and poured for us a couple samples of his port-esque dessert wine which was a blend of the winery's Traminette and pear juice. The rich golden color of the wine and subtle hint of pear, along with the off-dry sweetness of the Traminette made this an added plus that evening.

Now let's talk food. The plating of our meals looked straight out of a magazine. The lemon caper sauce fused well with the chicken bite after bite. And the pork chop portion was just right. The chop tasted well, and of course being pork was cooked just fine, but was a little rough to cut. Even though we weren't able to order the steak, we did see it on a couple tables and it looked delicious and a nice size portion.

Other items on the menu include the Roaring River burger with bacon, cheese and caramelized onions, a pan-fried trout and a duck ragout.

Now, we've been to many soft openings in the past, from restaurants to bottle shops, and we have discovered that the restaurant business is by far the hardest to solve with all its moving parts – i.e. seating people, keeping the kitchen well stocked and serving its guests on time. And with a week before its grand opening, we hope Chez Joséphine runs smoothly for its opening night guests.

And now ... the fine points. The restaurant will open for dinner to the general public starting on January 19. Lunch is served Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and dinner service from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Brunch is served Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch items range from $6 to $12, while dinner items range from $9 to $16, with the prime rib au jus costing $28.

For the full dinner menu, click here.

For the full Sunday brunch menu, click here.

**Roaring Rivers Vineyard has also received the 2017 Readers Choice awards from the Elkin Tribune for Best Chef, Best Winery and Best Event Venue.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DPAC places among top U.S. theaters

By Dathan Kazsuk 
Thursday, January 11

Why does it come as no surprise.

Durham’s DPAC is once again ranked among the top theaters in America, according to Pollstar, Billboard Magazine and Venues Today.

The performing arts center entertained 462,055 guests and featured 211 events, which included 113 sellouts in 2017. In Pollstar’s listing, DPAC ranked fourth in theater venues only behind Radio City Music Hall (New York), The Axis at Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas) and The Fox Theatre (Atlanta).

“Our team in New York strives to bring the biggest Broadway hits to DPAC before they play any other theaters in the region,” said DPAC’s Senior Director of Marketing, Rachel Traversari.

And that shows with the great performance that passed through town in 2017. 

The King and I.                                                                Photograph by Matthew Murphy

Here’s a list of the top five Broadway shows at DPAC in 2017:
     1. The King and I
     2. Finding Neverland
     3. Disney's The Little Mermaid
     4. Love Never Dies
     5. School of Rock

But it’s not just Broadway that’s graced the stage at DPAC. Guests have enjoyed concerts such as Indie folk band Bon Iver and Grammy-winning vocalist Tony Bennett. Comedy legends such as Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Adam Sandler have also performed at DPAC this past year.

Bon Iver live at DPAC.                                                              Photograph by Andy Martin

The top 5 concerts at DPAC in 2017:

     1. Bon Iver
     2. Tony Bennett
     3. Earth, Wind & Fire
     4. The Beach Boys
     5. Steve Miller Band

Martin Short and Steve Martin perform at DPAC.                  Photograph by Andy Martin

The top 5 comedy events at DPAC in 2017:

     1. Steve Martin, Martin Short, Steep Canyon Rangers
     2. Chris Rock
     3. Adam Sandler
     4. Trevor Noah
     5. Jay Leno
Ira David Wood III's A Christmas Carol.                         Photograph by Stephen J. Larson

The top 5 special events at DPAC in 2017:

     1. Ira David Wood III's A Christmas Carol
     2. Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue
     3. American Dance Festival 2017
     4. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
     5. Dancing with the Stars

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Media Mission Spotlights Durham businesses

By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose 
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

From burgers, pizzas and pies to music, art and brand new concepts. Those were just a few of the things that highlighted the Durham Media Mission on Jan. 9 inside the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

The evening was filled with local media outlets and bloggers alike, taking part in a meet-and-greet of 22 local Durham business, in an opportunity to talk about their business and share information with what's in store for 2018. Some have a heavy footprint in the city already, while others are new to the playing field. But for us, it was a chance to highlight the city's gems within our blog – which is a New Year's resolution for us.

Learning the history behind Durham's The Cookery, and how it spawned other notable businesses in the area, and how the owners are also responsible for the brewery Ponysaurus and the Ramen restaurant Dashi, started off our evening.

At the next table we chatted with Amy from Bolt PR and Dan from Pour Taproom, which resides on the first floor of the Unscripted Hotel. Dan talked about everything new in the taproom, which includes more local beers and an upgraded menu. With a free tulip glass and a $5 gift card to the taproom, we will probably be heading over there soon.

Related Story: INSIDE LOOK: Durham's Unscripted Hotel

After some beer samples we made it to East Durham Pie Company, who aren't quite open yet, but had samples on hand of a blood orange custard pie that really hit the spot after that beer. After our pie we chatted with employees at Burger City Burger & Brewery and had a few more beer samples. We also learned that Bull City also owns Pompieri Pizza in Durham (hey, we live in Raleigh and don't make it to Durham often ... it was news to us).

We had a cider discussion with Mattie Beason of Mattie B's and the Black Twig Cider House – hopefully a longer discussion on cider will wind up a blog on our site soon. We also found out about an amazing concept from Steve Frasher of County Fare – and just like the cider blog, hopefully we'll have more to come later. But something like this is going to make us Durham bound more often.

Jennie and Rachel with Durham Performing Arts Center are always great to talk to, and we talked about the upcoming performance of TRU TV's Impractical Jokers, which is coming to Durham in July. We were also able to grab a few performance posters that will eventually go up in our bonus room.

And if you are a caffeine-head, you definitely want to check out Kaffeinate, which had some free samples, and Cocoa Cinnamon, who had some fresh made churros and cold-pressed coffee samples. And ending the night – well, having a nice slice of Pie Pushers pizza would be the way to go.

We made a lot of new contacts, and we're hoping to spread the word of Durham and a lot of these great small businesses in the months ahead in 2018. Until then, we think Durham's slogan as "Where Great Things Happen" is very fitting.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Raleigh-Area Breweries Share 2018 New Years Resolutions

Cary's Bond Brothers Beer Co. expects 2018 to be a great year.

By Dathan Kazsuk
Friday, January 5, 2018

This past year sure brought us some great things, at least in the world of craft beer.

With new breweries such as Barrel Culture Brewing, Brewery Bhavana and 1323 R&D, the Triangle-area beer scene has received some nationwide notoriety. Local brewers are hopping on board the New England-style, hazy IPA train. Some have succeeded. Some still have a ways to go.

Local beer events such as Beericana, Brewgaloo and the World Beer Festival continue to draw in beer drinks from all over, and beer releases for the most part, are starting to draw lines to pick up their favorite new suds.

We had many local breweries pick up medals from the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado last year, and saw Cary's Bond Brothers Beer Company proclaimed the "Best New Brewery" in USA Today's Reader Choice 2017.

Related Story: Cary's Bond Brothers wins USA Today's "Best new Brewery in America"

But with the new year finally here, we decided to ask a few local-area breweries what its New Years Resolutions are or things us beer drinkers can expect from them in 2018. 

Brice's Brewing – Raleigh
"In 2018, Brice's Brewing will not dump any batches of beer. We will, on the other hand, be bottling our beers in truly unique packaging."
– Kris Bengtson, co-owner

Bond Brother's Beer Company – Cary
" (We plan to)
increase our giving to partner charities at events. Continue to innovate and hone beer quality. And continue educational outreach and support education inside the brewery through the cicerone program."
– Whit Baker, co-owner 

Crank Arm BrewingRaleigh
We resolve to can! Coming soon in 2018!"
– Adam Eckhardt – co-owner  

Deep River Brewing Company – Clayton
Expect more experimental IPAs and as much Collaboration Without Representation as we can brew ... and a couple of pretty unique fruited sours."

Paul Auclair, owner 

Gizmo Brew WorksRaleigh
We start our canning later this month, starting Jan. 19 at the taproom, and hitting accounts on Jan. 20." Gizmo will release cans of Beekeeper Honey Wheat, Gizmo Gose Wild Strawberry Gose, Fake News New England IPA and Deep Blue Blueberry Saison (available in April).

Bryan Shaw, co-owner 
Mason Jar Lager Company – Fuquay-Varina
"We just finalized our recipe for our first NE Style IPL we’ll be brewing next week. It should be ready around the middle of February. It will feature Galaxy hops, so it will be that fruity-juicy flavor profile that people love, with a lager twist. When we came up with the idea for a Lager-only brewery, we wanted to do all sorts of beers, both classic styles and some off-the-wall stuff people might not be familiar with, or even roll their eyes at. This is our first chance to do something that might get an eye roll. But it’s also a chance just to have some fun! Since it’s beer, if you’re not having fun, aren’t you missing the point?"
– Adam Eshbaugh, general manager

Neuse River Brewing Company – Raleigh
"We plan to expand our footprint in the local market with packaged goods. This year be on the look out for more can options and some specialty bottles. This year will also bring a new, fresh lineup in the taproom. Although we will continue to carry 2-3 of our signature beers, the other 7-8 lines will be dedicated to rating taps."

– Jennifer Kolarov, chief operating officer

Trophy Brewing Company – Raleigh
"In 2018 we are planning on more 16 oz. can offerings and brewery releases. And we are going to be tapping into our sour barrels and releasing bottles a bit more regularly as they start to mature. We have our friends from Capt Lawrence coming down in January. Our Mutual Friend from Denver, Blackberry Farms and more."
– Chris Powers, co-owner