Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Best Wineries of North Carolina in 2016

By Jen & Dathan | Jan 8, 2017
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

As we closed out 2016, we decided to reflect on the North Carolina wineries we visited this past year and rank our top 10. We tallied up all the wineries, new and old, and compiled our list. We decided not to rank them from 1 to 10, but to put them in alphabetical order. Why, you ask? Well, this year it was hard to rank our favorites of 2016. Some of these on the list we've been to several times and others we visited for the first time last year.

Related Story: Rating some of our favorite North Carolina wineries 2014

In the end, we visited 32 wineries in 2016 and here is our list of 10 that we really enjoyed, and hope you do as well. We used a combination of stats to compile this list that consisted of the atmosphere of the surrounding location, the overall taste of the wines, the ambiance and hospitality we received while visiting each of the wineries. Here we go.

Flint Hill Vineyards

2133 Flint Hill Road, East Bend

We stumbled upon this winery en route to Divine Llama from Medaloni Cellars back in 2015 and really enjoyed the atmosphere at the winery. We returned once again last year for the Yadkin Valley Winter Reds event, and plan on returning in 2017 for the Winter Reds event on Jan. 28-29.

The land and house of this family-owned winery dates back 100 years, with the winery opening to the public back in 2005. With our love for history, and of course wine, the uniqueness left us both impressed.

Flint Hill offered up eight wines consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chamboucin, Viognier, Chardonnay and a white, semi-sweet blend. Our favorite was the Chambourcin, but we enjoyed everything we sampled.

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Related Story: Upcoming 2017 Yadkin Valley Winter Reds


Hanover Park Vineyards
1927 Courtney-Huntsville Road, Yadkinville

What we really like about Hanover Park Vineyards is the hospitality you receive when you walk in the door – and of course the wine! Michael and Amy Helton have put a nice twist on old world style wines here in the Yadkin Valley with wines such as a Chambourcin, Mourvedre and the 1897 (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon).

For more information, including hours and directions to Hanover Park, click here.

Jones von Drehl Vineyards & Winery

964 Old Railroad Grade Road, Thurmond

What we really like about Jones von Drehle is the variety of wines available at this winery located in Thurmond. From Petit Manseng to Petit Verdot or Viognier to Malbec, JvD will always have a wine style you are looking for. Come inside and take part in a tasting and then take a bottle outside to enjoy the rolling hills lined with vines. Members of its wine club can enjoy events such as Low Country Boils with new wines and barrel tastings.

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.


Medaloni Cellars

9125 Shallowford Rd, Lewisville

This winery with its 22-acres of vineyards, indoor and outdoor tastings rooms and cabin rentals ranked as one of our favorites of 2016. The tasting room has a rustic feel with a fireplace and a nice tasting bar where you can step right up and try between 12 different wines.

We really enjoyed the Traminette, Vermentino, Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Flight Series Carignan and the Harmony Red Blend.

On select days and/or events the outdoor tasting bar is open to enjoy a bottle outside with a roaring fire pit there to greet you.  

Related Story: Traminette grape starts to gain popularity in N.C. with Yadkin Valley winemakers

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Parker-Binns Vineyard and Winery

7382 E NC 108 Hwy, Mill Spring

This winery was one we stumbled upon heading up to Lake Lure a couple years ago – and we've been coming back every time we're in that neck of the woods. Walking in the tasting room you are greeted with hospitality from the owners to the locals. The wines are worth tasting and taking a bottle outside, you feel relaxed sinking into the tables lined with flowers and the vineyard right beside you. The last time we were there they were making wood-fire pizza to hand out to its guests. Nice touch!

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Piccione Vineyards

2364 Cedar Forest Rd, Ronda

Relatively new to the Swan Creek wineries, and right next door to Raffaldini Vineyards you'll find Piccione Vineyards. The wines here are young and we feel are only going to get better in time. Stop by their tasting room and sample white wines such as the 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, Vermentino or Moscato. Or if you like red wine, like we do, the Montepulciano, L'Ottimo and Nero will let you know this winery is the real deal. Take a bottle outside and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And be sure to tell Hailey that we sent you.

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery

450 Groce Rd, Ronda

This winery is in our top 10 every single year. Driving up the pathway to the tasting room you feel like your driving up to an Tuscan-style villa. This winery offers great wines, artwork, snacks and a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Tours are available at Raffaldini, such as the Private Label Tour, which costs $30 per person. On this tour you get behind-the-scenes views of the winery as they walk you through the creation of a bottle. You can also take part in the typical vineyard tour, which is $5 per person.

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Roaring River Vineyard

439 Brewer Mill Road, Traphill

Roaring River was another new winery to us in 2016. Located in an isolated area in Traphill, this is a nice winery to spend the afternoon taking in the sights and wine. They offer a tasting of around 8 wines, and also feature local beers for the beer lovers out there. One of the beer selections is from Angry Troll Brewing Company, who's brewmaster is also the wineries winemaker. Learn about this history behind the two mills that once stood tall on the Roaring River, or stay the weekend inside one of its several cabin rentals. 

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard
588 Chestnut Gap Road, Hendersonville

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard in Hendersonville isn't really the most vibrant winery on the outside, but for us it's the taste of its wines, hospitality and the tasting rooms large wood-burning fireplace that had this winery make our list. We also like that Saint Paul crafts a variety of hard ciders as well, from a dry to a sweet, and even a ginger cider which sells out fast! They offer up light snacks to purchase while enjoying your wine, and sometime this year will have a new cider house tasting room next door, which will offer up cider and Port tastings. 

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

Westbend Winery and Brewery
5394 Williams Road, Lewisville

If you follow the wine world here in North Carolina, you'll know that Westbend Winery was one of the oldest wineries in the Yadkin Valley area. And you'll also know they closed back in 2014 – but have reopened with new owners, a new wine maker/brewer, and all new wines. 

Westbend offers 12 wines and 4 beers available for tasting throughout the week. We were fortunate to attend the soft opening back in October in the old 1800s farmhouse and really enjoyed the excitement, enthusiasm and hospitality in general of the staff. We enjoyed both the wine and beer and have been back to visit a couple of times since. The official grand opening of their second facility right across the street took place in December.

Related Story: Autumn in N.C. Wine Country welcomes two new wineries

For more information, including hours and directions, click here.

So, there you have it. Our top 10 NC wineries of 2016. Now that 2017 has arrived, we hope to revisit some of these favorites as well as discover some new gems.