North Carolina is home to almost 200 wineries that are spread out across the state all the way from the sandy coast to the mountains. Fortunately for Charlotteans, we don’t have to go far to find fantastic wine since the Yadkin Wine Valley, one of NC’s most popular wine regions, is just an hour’s drive from the city. It’s the perfect place to go for a quick day trip or long weekend with friends. With more than 40 wineries in the Yadkin Wine Valley it can be hard to choose just a few to visit, so we’ve done the hard work for you and visited most of them to find out which ones truly stand out above the rest. (It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it.)
Here are five Yadkin Valley wineries that should be on your must-visit list:
1000 Childress Vineyards Rd., Lexington, NC 27295
If you want to visit somewhere with a wide variety of wines then Childress Vineyards needs to be at the top of your list. The vineyard produces more than 30 different types of wines using an assortment of varietals. Selections range from cab franc and merlot all the way to a fruity riesling. Daily tours and tastings are offered and the on-site bistro has an impressive menu with dishes like pan seared salmon, house braised pork tacos, and a fried green tomato BLT. From the month of May through October Childress hosts a free music series on weekends. Conveniently enough, if you want to stay in the area there’s even a Holiday Inn Express located on the Childress property that’s only a few steps away from the tasting room.
4126 Divine Llama Ln., East Bend, NC 27018
While there are plenty of beautiful vineyards to visit throughout the Yadkin Wine Valley, Divine Llama Vineyards stands to be the most unique with more than 70 llamas on the property. The llamas are friendly and will allow you to pet their necks. While you’re there you may also want to grab a cheese plate for $8 and enjoy it with a glass of wine outside on the tasting room’s wrap around porch.
318 Elkin Creek Mill Rd., Elkin, NC 28621
Elkin Creek Vineyard is tucked away off the main roads in what seems like its own little world, surrounded by trees with nothing but the sound of the bubbling creek off in the distance. Visiting always provides a welcomed break from the everyday hustle and bustle. After a tasting there’s so much to explore on the property, including the vineyard’s namesake, Elkin Creek, a tree swing, and a historic mill. I suggest visiting on a Sunday when they’re serving their brick oven pizzas that are made-to-order and worth every single calorie. If you want to make a weekend trip out of your visit, there are a few creek-side cabins on the property that are available for rent.
450 Groce Rd., Ronda, NC 28670
Raffaldini Vineyards is one of my personal favorites for its stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, expansive patio, and all the delicious gourmet snacks they stock in their deli case. I suggest doing a tasting, picking out your favorite selection, grabbing a glass (or bottle), and then picking out a few meats and cheeses for a picnic on the patio, which overlooks acres full of grapevines and scenic rolling hills.
2364 Cedar Forest Rd., Ronda, NC 28670
Located directly beside Raffaldini Vineyards, Piccione Vineyards has the same scenic views as its neighbor. Instead of a typical tasting Piccione offers wine flights, which gives guests a chance to have more than just a sip of their estate grown-wines that range from cabernet sauvignon to pinot grigio and sangiovese. Their covered deck is ideal for a relaxing afternoon drinking wine surrounded by the beauty of the NC foothills.
What’s your favorite NC vineyard to visit? Tag us using @ScoopCharlotte next time you visit.