Fall is so close you can almost smell the pumpkin spice lattes. Along with the cooler weather comes cozy knit sweaters, blazing fires at breweries, and endless wine nights at vineyards. Who doesn’t love cradling a tasty cabernet and cuddling up in the natural atmosphere of NC wineries?
If you needed a little more convincing (which, let’s be honest–you don’t), you might be interested to hear that North Carolina is the home of America’s first grape. It is also the only place in the world where every major type of grape is grown, so there’s no shortage of amazing wines to be tried.
This fall, head over to one of these NC wineries that are within a couple hours of Charlotte, and get to wining!
1. Childress Vineyards
About an hour north in Lexington, Childress Vineyards might ring a bell for NASCAR fans. Its owner is Richard Childress, who’s also a NASCAR team owner. At Childress Vineyards, you can embark on one of the free daily tours and enjoy one of their upcoming events listed on the website.
Wine to try: 2011 Signature Chardonnay. This is the winery’s signature wine. It spends 8 months in the barrels and yields flavors of apple, vanilla, and citrus. The aroma is crisp and tropical, and the finish is clean and smooth.
2. Treehouse Vineyards
This family-owned, 35-acre vineyard in Monroe is ideal for a date night or a fun outing with friends. Treehouse Vineyards is most well-known for its adult treehouses perched above the vineyards, some of which are available to rent overnight. Talk about awesome.
Wine to try: Sunset Hills. All their grapes are organically fertilized, and being a Southern winery, their muscadine sweet wines are their best-sellers. Sunset Hills is a sweet Carlos and Noble blend.
3. Daveste’ Vineyards
Just 45 minutes north of uptown in Troutman, Daveste’ Vineyards is constantly holding events ranging from yoga to music to “Wine & Design.” Davaste’ Vineyards is in a 52-acre pastoral setting sure to charm the socks off of you.
Wine to try: 2014 Portrait. A Bordeaux red wine blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon (43%), Malbec (22%), Cabernet Franc (25%), and Merlot (10%). With aromas of raspberries, dark fruits, and chocolates, the 2014 Portrait is meant to go well with dense cheese and dark chocolate, a.k.a. your go-to meal of the season.
4. Rocky River Vineyards
Rocky River Vineyards has been growing muscadine grapes since 2003, which produce a sweet table wine. Sitting on 45 acres in the rolling hills of eastern Cabarrus County, Rocky River gets its name from the Big Meadow Creek that flows through the property toward Rocky River.
5. Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area
Because there are too many amazing wineries in this seven-county area, you’ll just have to plan a winery crawl (I know, we’re pulling your arm here). Akin to California’s Napa Valley, Yadkin Valley is North Carolina’s must-visit wine country located just west of Winston-Salem. As of July 1, 2016, you can stop along at any of the 42 wineries and vineyards operating along the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail.