Saturday, September 30, 2017

NC Wine month concludes, but momentum can only build

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

It’s a wrap! 

N.C. Wine month 2017 is officially over, but that doesn’t mean planning those visits out to the wineries has to come to an end. We hope that as bloggers, we were able to shine a light on the wine industry here in our state. After living here for over 20 years, I have indeed discovered love in wine, both abroad and here in the state I call home. It has been an interesting journey watching the wine industry evolve here in North Carolina. However, at least here in the Triangle, there is still work that needs to be done when it comes to highlighting these wines.

North Carolina has five AVAs, with a sixth one on its way. Stretching from the coast all the way to the western part of the state and encompassing approximately 180 wineries, it can be hard to keep up. As for us, we have now visited, at least, 75 wineries – three of which are now closed. From the mountains to the coast, the state also offers a range of wine styles from the sweet Muscadine or Scuppernong variety to the European-style, viniferous wines that can hold their own against even the best in California. Some of these wineries also produce craft beer, such as Westbend Winery & Brewery, Round Peak, and Morgan Ridge Vineyards & Brewhouse, while others are producing ciders, such as McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and the new kid on the block, Botanist and Barrel.

So, how did we celebrate N.C. Wine Month? We kicked it off at the inaugural N.C. Wine Month Kickoff event hosted by Childress Vineyards and N.C. Wine Guys fellow bloggers. We were honored to be invited to this event, geared towards media, bloggers and the wine industry, where we heard Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, speak on the state of growth in the industry and announced that the State Fair, for the first time, will allow flights of craft beer and wine for purchase in the new Our State Public House.

Following Troxler, Gov. Roy Cooper spoke to the crowd and officially declared September as "N.C. Wine Month." Next, came the speed tasting. Yes, you read that right! Like speed dating but with a glass, or glasses, of wine! Wineries in attendance were given 5 minutes per table to talk about and pour one of their signature wines. It was a great way to learn a little more straight from the wineries themselves on the products they produce and serve.

Governor Roy Cooper declares September N.C. Wine Month

Related Story: Nothing Can Be Finer: Wine and Beer to be served at NC State Fair 

Aside from enjoying N.C. wine in the comfort of our own home and finishing up our summer series, Rosé and Sorbet, we also discovered a new winery/cidery that recently came on the scene, Botanist and Barrel, located in Cedar Grove. We enjoyed our time there talking with the owners and enjoying a couple of flights. To learn more about this place, see our Five Questions With ... we did with them in September.

Related Story: Five Questions With ... Botanist and Barrel 

We also introduced our California family to N.C. Wine Country on a day trip that took us to four wineries - Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, Piccione Vineyards, McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks and Jones von Drehl. We packed up our picnic basket and headed out on our 2-hour road trip for some tastings on a beautiful Fall afternoon.

Having been to all four of these wineries multiple times, and wine club members of three-quarters of them, it was second nature for us. But we enjoyed introducing our family that North Carolina is more than just BBQ and NASCAR. We also have a wine country. I must say though, that my favorite of the day was Raffaldini. We've been several times and as the popularity soars for this winery, so do the crowds. Depending on when you go, if the tasting room is crowded, the staff can only spend so much time with each person before the next group arrives. However, on this early Friday afternoon, we had probably the best hospitality we have had there and learned more about Raffaldini than ever before. Denise was very attentive, gave tons of information about the winery, Yadkin Valley and even California! 

We ended up having a wonderful afternoon at all four of these wineries and loved having a picnic lunch at Piccione overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Now that harvest is just about over for the vineyards, hurricane season is hopefully wrapping up soon and the crisp Fall air is starting to settle in. This remains a perfect time to relax with a bottle of N.C. wine. It's been a wild 30 days of keeping true to North Carolina wine, and posting daily on our Instagram site. We've had the pleasure of drinking some amazing wines and visiting breathtaking wineries in September. We encourage you to get out there and pay a visit to any of these local treasures and experience what the Tar Heel state has to offer.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Brother and sister team up for latest N.C. fruit wine/cider endeavor

c/o Botanist and Barrel
By Dathan Kazsuk and Jennifer Primrose

The brother and sister team of Lyndon and Kether Smith are into keeping the family tradition going. The Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm, which lies just north of Hillsborough, was purchased by their parents many years ago as a blueberry farm 'u-pick' for the surrounding community. This was just a portion of the original farm, which was later bought by Lyndon and Kether to bring the land together as one.

Right from the start, the siblings knew exactly what they wanted to do with the land. "Given our backgrounds as a chef and as a partner in a wine distributorship ... it was not a far leap to start fermenting ourselves," says Lyndon. And with full-scale production about to begin, they then brought in Rob Sievert, who left a 12-year career as a teacher to become the third member of the team.

Triangle Around Town visited Botanist & Barrel one Sunday afternoon, where we met Lyndon, Kether and Rob – and were able to sample just about everything on the B&B tasting menu that day. From the peach and blueberry fruit wines, to the different barrel-aged ciders, to a homemade sangria. Below is an excerpt of an interview with Botanist & Barrel.

Botanist & Barrel is new to the wine scene – with fruit wines and ciders. At what point did you decide you wanted to steer in this direction, and how did you prepare to head into this endeavor? We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to make bone-dry fruit wines. We look at cider, which is just a fancier name for apple wine, as one of the core fruits we work with, along with blueberry, blackberry and peach. All of us at B&B prefer to drink dry, so we naturally focus on creating dry wines.

We prepared for the endeavor by reading and reading and reading, and then making test batch after test batch after test batch. We also talked with every winemaker and vineyard manager we knew and asked a lot of questions. Having come from the wine business, as well as being lucky enough to travel around the world ... we had access to some of the greatest minds in the business. Kether also spent time getting cider certified at a specialized cider program through Cornell University.

We tried virtually everything you had available to taste the day we were at B&B. A blueberry wine. A peach wine. As well as some ciders and barrel-aged ciders. What else can customers expect from you guys in the next couple months?  We are especially excited about our new Fusion series, which focuses on co-fermenting multiple fruits together, such as our Cranberry Blueberry Grape Cider. That cider will be available straight up, or as an aged variety in maple syrup, Port and bourbon barrels. Also included in the Fusion series are a blueberry apple wine, blackberry apple wine and rhubarb blueberry grape cider. We will also release a dry-hopped blueberry wine, a dry-hopped cider and a rum barrel aged cider. Next up is a Muscadine apple wine, a raspberry cider and an elderberry wine. We use our neighbors apple and grapes, we sourced some raspberries from a friend's farm and elderberries grown at Lyndon's farm in Asheville. 

So it seems like you are focused on the fruit wines and ciders. But are there any plans down the road to maybe grow some vinifera grapes on your property. Maybe produce some Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Because there are so many regions on earth that are better suited for vinifera grapes that are also coupled with a tradition of winemaking and thousands of years of growing experience, we feel that we should let those winemakers and regions create those types of wines. Non-grape fruit wines are so poorly represented and apples, blueberries, blackberries and peaches grow so well here. Part of our mission is to focus on what works best in our region. We will make some wines and ciders with Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes – which do grow well here.

With being relatively new, how do you plan to get the word out? Any events on the horizon? You recently had a cider/wine and chocolate pairing with local chocolatiers. How did that go, and do you plan on hosting other events such as that in the future? We are a true nano-winery and our tasting room reflects our small size. We do have plans on adding additional outdoor seating in the near future. Our plan to get the word out is to pour at great local events, farmers' markets, and to host more on-farm events. We don't have a marketing budget or a PR firm, so we are solely dependent on word of mouth and social media. We believe if we make a great wine and share our hospitality and passion that everything else will fall into place.

We do have some happenings lined up for October and November, including a wine and cheese pairing and a free cider pancake brunch which includes a pop-up holiday market and pumpkin carving on October 29 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. We will also be at Ciderfest in Asheville on October 6th and have set up a few cider brunches the next day with two of Asheville's best restaurants. In addition, we will be a part of the first ever 'Our State Public House,' in the Carolina Sampler, at the State Fair from October 12-22; TerraVita Wine and Food Festival in Chapel Hill; the South Durham Barn Dance on October 21st; and Txchfest in Durham on November 18.

Check out B&B's Facebook page for a full list of events.

What’s next for Botanist & Barrel? What can we expect from you in the next 3 to 6 months? Maybe seeing your ciders in bottle shops or restaurants around the Triangle-area? Maybe tastings at local shops? You can definitely find us at many local bottle shops and restaurants across the state. We also do have several in-store tastings lined up for 2017. Appalachian Vintners in Asheville on October 5, Pharmacy Bottle in Cary on October 25, Black Twig Cider House in Durham on October 26 and Hillsborough Wine Company on November 4. You can also find us many Saturdays at the Eno Hillsborough Farmers Market and the South Durham Farmers Market.  And of course on the farm in the tasting room every Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Be sure to like Triangle Around Town on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow our adventures of local craft beer, wine, cider/mead and travel. 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our monthly Five Questions With, please send an email to

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Raleigh Beer Week: Which IPA is Your Favorite?

By Dathan Kazsuk

With Raleigh Beer Week upon us, I thought it would be a fun time to ponder the following question.

What would I consider the best IPA in my hometown of Raleigh to be?

When you think of Raleigh and its IPAs, it doesn’t get the same attention as other regional metros. We all know here in North Carolina that the Asheville-area gets most of the recognition for its breweries. With places like Green Man, Burial, Hi-Wire, Highland, Twin Leaf – who’s to blame them. 

Even Charlotte gets more publicity with its up-and-rising breweries such as Heist, Sugar Creek, Wooden Robot, Legion and Sycamore. And that’s not even counting their big names.

I recall earlier this year I got a Facebook instant message from a local-area brewery owner. “You know the Triangle kicked ass at the U.S. Open Championship.” Which was indeed true. Triangle-area breweries won a total of 13 medals in the 2017 competition, with Raleigh’s own Lynnwood Brewing Concern winning a total of 3 medals. Other locals who won included White Street Brewing, Lonerider, Mystery, Crank Arm, Oak & Dagger, Fortnight and Fullsteam (three of those call Raleigh home).

With that all said, it seems like the Triangle still feels like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Southeast – not getting any respect. Maybe that will change soon. Breweries such as Cary’s Bond Brothers Beer Company, Raleigh’s Brewery Bhavana and Durham’s Fullsteam with its White Lilly have been getting good reviews for their hoppy and hazy IPAs, similar to the New England Style, which is the biggest crazy in the beer world today.

So, I set out to find my favorite IPA here in town with only two stipulations. 1) The beer must come from a Raleigh brewery. 2) All beers must be 8 percent ABV or under, and will not include sessions or black IPAs – but could include DIPAs, if kept at 8 percent or under. This list will be compiled by what each brewery had on draft when I arrived. I understand that a brewery may be out of their favorite IPA, but that’s the risk I'm taking. Please keep in mind, I wasn't able to visit every Raleigh brewery in a short period of time, and this is only my opinion on each beer. And remember, your opinion may differ slightly from mine. Let’s begin!

10. Raleigh Brewing Company’s House of Clay Rye IPA
ABV – 7.1 percent
Points: 70
I was surprised to see that RBC didn’t have any IPAs on draft other than House of Clay – one of its year-round beers. It was pretty bitter on draft, but still an easy drink, and not very hoppy. The beer has a nice nose and it had a nice golden hue inside the glass. I’m typically not a fan of rye-style beers, but this one was pretty good.

09. Gizmo Brew Works' Palisade Wasp IPA
ABV – 6.8 percent
Points: 70

This beer has some nice floral hop characteristics to it – and drinks like a Session IPA, but at 6.8 percent – it is not. The beer had some hints of tangerine and apricot masked inside the bitterness and dry, clean finish. This would be a good summer IPA to have poolside. Seems light, but after a few of these you won't mind the annoying loud kids splashing around you.

08. Lincoln Brewing and Distillery’s Burnside .54 Rosemary Basil IPA
ABV – 7.3 percent
Points: 75
The taste of basil in this beer might fool the unpolished beer-drinkers taste buds. You can smell and taste the basil in this IPA, but the flavor of the hops tends to mask the harshness of the basil, leaving just that little subtle aftertaste on your tongue. Remember, this is an IPA, you don’t want it too hopped up on one single herb. This was a refreshing drink – a lot better than the Cannonball IPA which was also on draft.

07. Lonerider's Addie's Revenge IPA
ABV – 6.6 percent
Points: 75
This is your typical IPA. A lot of citrus hops make up the nose of this beer with a nice golden-color to round it out. Made with pale Vienna and crystal malts, this is one of those easy drinking IPAs that you can down two or three in a sitting – which was made apparent by the guys sitting beside me talking politics and downing this beer like it was water. Worth a try. I also had the Hop'em High DIPA, but at 8.6 percent it was just slightly out of the running.

06. Big Boss Brewing Company's Blood Orange High Roller IPA
ABV – 6.75 percent
Points: 75
A little less than a year ago, this paired well in an IPA showdown we did at home. Holding its own with breweries such as Wicked Weed and Burial. Back then we all loved the subtle hints of the blood orange taste in this IPA, but during this last sample for this blog, the citrus of the orange just wasn't there. But High Roller is still a pretty solid IPA around town. The IPA is still a good one, just didn't have what I was looking for this time.

05. Neuse River Brewing Company's Caleb's High Noon Imperial IPA
ABV – 7.8 percent
Points: 80
This was one of the first beers I've had when Neuse River opened up several years ago, and it's still one of my go to beers when I visit to this date. This beer is a nice golden/copper color and has nice aromas of sweet caramel malts. The bitterness of Caleb's does seem to linger around for a while – which might not be appealing to everyone. But I like it just fine.

04. Compass Rose’s Tidal Break IPA
ABV – 7 percent
Points: 80
I must have gotten spoiled by the true New England IPAs I’ve tasted. This beer is coined as that, but I wasn’t really getting the taste or hazy appearance I typically see when I crack open a can of something up north. However, don’t let that fool you – this was, even though it was pretty clear in color, a tasty beer. I got a little more lemons on the nose than grapefruit, which I usually get with my New England Style IPAs.

03. Lynnwood Brewing Concern's Hop on Top
ABV – 7 percent
Points: 85
One of my go to IPAs when at any one of Lynnwood's locations. I'm a fan of the West Coast-style IPAmaybe it's because I still consider California my true home. From the golden/orange color to the rich, foamy head, and the dank aromas of hops and citrus put this beer near the top of my list. The grapefruit I inhale before each drink is an added bonus.

02. Trophy Brewing’s Whoa-saic Double IPA
ABV – 8 percent
Points: 90
The citrus/fruit notes were strong with this one. The Double IPA was brewed with Maris Otter, wheat and oats. A lot of DIPAs are a little more malt-forward, but I didn’t find that the case with this beer. It drank like a pale ale, i.e. not a heavy beer as most DIPAs – so it was easy drinking – enough for two pints!

01. Brewery Bhavana's Grove DIPA
ABV – 8 percent
Points: 95
Hands down my favorite IPA of this adventure. This was the closest beer to a classic New England-style IPA – hazy, juicy and all around delicious. The smell of pineapple and mango on the nose and a pithy finish, made this very enjoyable. As you can see with my top two IPA beers, the higher the ABV, the better they seem to rank in my book. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Raleigh Beer Week is around the corner ... and here are some ideas!

By Dathan Kazsuk

It’s Raleigh Beer Week, or in other words, another excuse to indulge in your favorite Raleigh beers. Did you know that Raleigh is home to 20 breweries? And not to mention the plethora of bottle shops supporting our local and state breweries. So, if you find yourself scratching your head wondering how to celebrate this week, we thought we’d help you out with these helpful tips on how to get the most out of 8-beer-filled days.

For the next 8 days, try to stay within the city limits. Raleigh is home to 20 breweries, so there’s a good chance you haven’t been to all them – yet. While we have some of the big mainstays such as Lonerider and Big Boss, there are some relatively new breweries such as Brewery Bhavana or Lincoln Brewery’s new Raleigh digs. I’ve now been to 19 of the 20 here in town, so to practice what I preach, I will be hitting up Tobacco Road Brewing this next week.

With more bottle shops in Raleigh than actual breweries (or so it seems), you can probably throw a stone and hit the side of one bottle shop or another. So this one should be pretty easy. Head on over to your favorite shop and pick up some Raleigh beer to enjoy at home. I’m thinking anything by Trophy Brewing or Lynnwood Brewing Concern. My parents will be in town from California this week, so we’ll probably enjoy several Raleigh beers!


Fall begins right in the middle of Raleigh Beer Week. So this is the perfect time to sample some gourd and yam beers. I'm not sure how many Raleigh breweries will be doing pumpkin beers other than Big Boss' Harvest Time, so if you have to go outside the city proper, I’d select Deep River’s Pumpkin Pie Porter or Double Barley’s Gourd Rocker.

A couple local breweries will be celebrating birthdays – Crank Arm will be turning four. And White Street Brewing will celebrate five years. Sure, they're in Wake Forest, but let's cut them some slack. Crank Arm's festivities will happen September 16, and will feature music, food trucks and rare beer releases all day long. Nicklepoint Brewing will celebrate its 3 year anniversary with an Oktoberfest on September 16 with a selection of German-style beers. White Street's celebration will start on September 17 and will feature live music, food trucks and new and vintage beers releases throughout the day. Oak & Dagger will celebrate 1 year of brewing beer on September 24. During that time, they'll release a wine & bourbon barrel-aged Oaktoberfest.

Lonerider will have two different events to honor a couple of its girls – Addie and Josie. On September 22, Lonerider will have six different variants of it's IPA, Addie's Revenge on draft. Then on September 24, look forward to six different variants of its Sweet Josie Brown. We don't know what these variants are, but know one year these sold out pretty fast!

Trophy Tap and Table is having a rooftop party –  and you're invited. On Wednesday, September 20, you can enjoy a fresh oyster bar, low country boil and hushpuppies. The Trophy gang will pair them up with an amazing flight of its beers. The flight will include a Brett IPA, Ground Rule Double IPA, Loving Cup Kölsch and Kick Start My Heart Berliner. The cost is $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Six North Carolina Rosé wine and sorbet reviews for 2017

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

“A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rosé instead”

And so began our Summer of Rosé and Sorbet …

At some point in the last couple of years, we rediscovered rosé wine. For whatever reason, neither of us cared for rosé in the past and last year, as we were wine tasting across the state, we discovered that these wines were very enjoyableespecially in the summertime. Was it the weather that particular year? Or the soil? Maybe it was the winemaker? We may never know why our taste buds changed on us, but we enjoy a nice rosé on the wine porch. And borne of this new fascination, is our rosé series – now in its second year.

Last year, we did the 'Summer of Swine & Rosé,' where we paired an N.C. rosé with a pork dish over the course of the summer and rated each wine and pairing. This year, we decided on the Summer of Rosé and Sorbet and enjoyed pairing a rosé with a homemade sorbet. But instead of rating each wine, we decided to rate the pairings, since obviously we would not have picked up a bottle if we didn’t enjoy it to begin with.

Related Story:  Our Summer of Swine & Rosé

Piccione Vineyard's 2015 Rosato
paired with cantaloupe-orange sorbet

We kicked off our summer series with Piccione Vineyard’s 2015 Rosato paired with a cantaloupe-orange sorbet. Piccione's Rosato was made from Montepulciano grapes and offers up a nose of fresh raspberries and hints of lime. While on the taste buds, the wine hits the palate with flavors of cherry and strawberry. A fruit bomb – rosé-style!

The sweetness of the cantaloupe and orange in the sorbet paired well with the fruits found in the taste of the Rosato. 

Jen gives this pairing an 8/10, while Dathan rates the pairing an 8/10.

The Rosato from Piccione Vineyards retails for $19 and the recipe for the sorbet is found here.

Dobbins Creek Vineyards Hemric Mountain Dry Rosé
paired with rhubarb and gin sorbet

Our next pairing comes from Dobbins Creek Vineyards. We paired the Hemric Mountain Dry Rosé with a sorbet using rhubarb and gin from Copper Fox Distillery in Virginia.

The tartness of the sorbet pairs well with the taste of cherries found on our taste buds. The Hemric Mountain Rosé is made with estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a hint of dry Riesling on the finish.

As for the sorbet, it was tart and sweet and paired beautifully with the flavors of cherry and strawberry found in the wine.

Jen gives this pairing a 10/10 while Dathan rated it9/10.

The Hemric Mountain Dry Rosé from Dobbins Creek retails for $18 and the recipe for the sorbet is found here.

Hanover Park Vineyard Pearl Rosé
paired with fresh blueberry with lemon balm sorbet

Our next pairing was Hanover Park Vineyard and its Pearl Rosé. We paired this wine with some grilled burgers and watermelon. The sorbet was a fresh blueberry with lemon balm from our herb garden. We added a splash of Raleigh Rum Company's Sweet Dark Rum.

The Pearl is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, while the rum is described as "sweet with a dark side." The pairing, just like most of the others, was great with the dryness of the wine and the tartness of the blueberries

Jen gives this pairing an 8/10, while Dathan rates it a 9/10.

The Pearl Rosé from Hanover Park Vineyard retails for $17 and the recipe for the sorbet is found here (without our rum modification).

McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks Pale Rider Rosé
paired with Moonshine Lime Margarita sorbet.

Next on the list was McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks' Pale Rider Rosé teamed up with our homemade Moonshine Lime Margarita sorbet.

This dry rosé has hints of tart cherries while featuring strawberry and tangerine notes on the nose. It paired well with the sweetness of the sorbet, yet made an interesting combination at the same time. This impromptu sorbet was made with Ole Smoky's Moonshine Lime Margarita, fresh limes and lime zest.

Jen gives this pairing an 8/10, while Dathan rates it a 9/10.

The Pale Rider Rosé from McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks retails for $17 and the recipe for the sorbet can be found here (without our modifications).

Adagio Vineyards Minuet paired with fresh peach sorbet.

Our next rosé comes from Elkin's Adagio Vineyards. Last year, this wine came in first in our wine and swine combo, so we decided to put it back in the mix again for 2017. The 2014 Minuet teamed up with another homemade sorbet idea a fresh peach sorbet made with vanilla and rum from Raleigh Rum Company.

The Minuet is made from 100 percent Cabernet Franc with subtle tastes of pomegranate, cherries and berries on the finish. We had mixed feelings on this combo. Jen really liked this pairing, while Dathan wasn't sure of the tastes together.

The other negative was last year we actually had the 2015 vintage which had some effervescence – this 2014 had no "sparkle" at all. Still a good wine, but disappointing when you wanted some fizz.

Jen gives this pairing a 9/10 while Dathan rates it a 7/10.

Minuet from Adagio Vineyards retails for $18.

Sanctuary Vineyards The Lightkeeper Rosé
paired with a mixed berry sorbet.

We ended our Summer of Rosé and Sorbet with the Lightkeeper Rosé from Sanctuary Vineyards located in Jarvisburg. This rosé wine is of the sweeter variety as opposed to the others we tried which were drier. This rosé, with flavors of strawberry, melon and sweet cherries, blends the muscadine juice to add additional sweetness. We paired this with a 4-berry sorbet.

The pairing balanced out the sweetness of the muscadine with the tartness of the berries very nicely. We typically steer towards drier wines but this combo was very pleasant as we begin to say goodbye to Summer.

Jen gives this pairing an 8/10, while Dathan also rates it an 8/10.

The Lightkeeper Rosé  from Sanctuary Vineyards retails for $15.

So that ends our second rosé series as we bid adieu to Summer 2017. We had a great time trying these different pairings and learned more along the way about the wines, the wineries, and how to pair the different sorbets. Until next summer when we do our third in our rosé series whatever that will be!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Helpful Tips to Celebrate N.C. Wine Month

Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville, North Carolina

By Jennifer Primrose
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown | Pinterest: TriangleAT | Email:

*Note: Originally published for 2017 N.C. Wine Month, this blog has been modified and updated.

N.C. Wine month is celebrated during the month of September.  Are you looking for ways to celebrate? Are you new to discovering wine or what the state has to offer? Are you an experienced N.C. wine connoisseur, but looking for something different and unique to do? We hope to have you covered with our ways to celebrate this month.

Gather up your friends and discover what this state has to offer when it comes to wineries and head out for a day-trip, or even a weekend getaway, and visit all the wineries in a wine trail. Check out for some wine trail recommendations.

Tip: Know before you go! If you have a discriminating palate or know that you are strictly a sweet wine drinker or a dry wine drinker, do your homework before you venture out for a more enjoyable experience. Or, if you are an adventurous wine drinker, be sure to try all the winery has to offer. You never know, you may find a new favorite!

If you are fortunate enough while visiting your favorite, or new favorite, winery, inquire if the winemaker or owner is around and ask him or her to sign a bottle for you. This makes for a great souvenir!

Tip:  We always have a wine bottle pen marker on hand just in case the opportunity arises.

Jones von Drehle's winemaker Dan Tallman signs a bottle.

Pack a picnic and head out to your favorite winery with the best scenery, buy a bottle of wine and relax in a beautiful setting. Many wineries also host local musicians on the weekends. Check out this blog from NC Wine Guys on Wineries Perfect for Summer Picnicking.

Tip: Several wineries sell picnic items and/or may have a food truck on site. Be sure to look for Carronni's Handcrafted Creations. They do pita crackers, cheese wafers, stone ground and dijon mustards and other items perfect for that winery themed picnic. You can find their products in several wineries across the state.

Take a picnic out to one of N.C.'s 120-plus wineries.

If you want to get up close and personal with the grapes, participate in a grape stomp. Wineries such as Gregory Vineyards in Angier, Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, Cypress Bend Vineyards in Wagram, Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe and even Childress Winery in Lexington all host grape stomps and Harvest Festivals.
Tip: Check the winery website for event information before you go, some may be ticketed events. Many have fun events scheduled throughout the day such as Lucy look-a-like contests, arts & crafts vendors, food, music, winery tours and tastings. Fun for the whole family!

Grape Stomp at Duplin Winery in Rose Hill          Photo c/o Duplin Winery

Take a winery or vineyard tour to see exactly what takes place from grape to bottle. Some wineries offering tours are Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, Childress Winery in Lexington, Biltmore Winery in Asheville, Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe - to name just a few. Check out for more wineries with this option.

Tip: Some wineries only do tours on certain days and times. To avoid disappointment, check out the winery website ahead of time. The tours can be very interesting and informative. Get the most out of the experience.

Joining a wine club is a great way to enjoy your favorite North Carolina wine all year round as well as being a part of special perks and benefits that members get along the way. 

Tip: Most wineries do offer wine clubs. Be sure to look over the perks and decide what is best for you. Typically, a wine club shipment would consist of 3 bottles every quarter, 6 bottles twice a year or 2 bottles every other month. In other words, a case a year! And many wineries, if not all, will ship your wines to you or even hold your wines until you are able to make the trip back for pick up. 

Piccione Winery Wine Club Installment

Host a local North Carolina wine tasting with friends. After visiting your favorite wineries, or discovering new ones, pick up a couple of bottles and have friends over for a themed evening of wine and BBQ. Why not throw in a Raleigh beer or two to also celebrate Raleigh Beer Week, coming up in late September.

Tip: If you are doing a more "formal" tasting, do your homework on the wines you plan to open. This way you will be able to talk about the wine and shine in front of your friends with your knowledge of the N.C. wine industry.

Triangle Around Town's wine club, the Falls River Wine Club in Raleigh.

As you go out and explore NC Wine country, share your photos with us on social media. Be sure to use the hashtags #NCWine, #NCWineMonth, #DrinkLocal, #GotToBeNC and #TriangleAroundTown. You can find Triangle Around Town on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram ... and recently even on Pinterest!

Shadow Springs Vineyard