NC Vineyards: Fruits of the Vine
These destinations are gateways to activities, food and musicBy Vanessa Infanzon
When farmers discovered regions in North Carolina provided the right climate, elevation and soil to grow European grape varietals, vineyards sprouted across the state. Now nearly 200 NC wineries produce award-winning wines and feature weekend events, food trucks, restaurants and accommodations (ncwine.org). Most locations host wine tastings and provide outdoor seating with impressive views of grapevines and mountains — here are just five examples from around the state.
Hendersonville, Henderson County
The Oates family expanded its fruit growing business in 2013 when wine-making became popular in North Carolina. Visitors gather around the firepit or on the outdoor patio to enjoy trivia nights, live music and food trucks. Seasonal holidays are celebrated with special events such as the Sip & Spa and Shag & Swing.
The Vintner’s Table, a farm-to-table restaurant serving lunch and dinner, is the vineyard’s newest edition. Stay the night at the Vintner’s Cottage, a 1939 home with two bedrooms, one full bath and a view of the vineyard from the porch.
Lexington, Davidson County
NASCAR team owner Richard Childress opened this vineyard in 2004 after being inspired by the ones in California. Spend time at various activities: Paint and Sip, dueling piano dinners, dances and more. The vineyard's restaurant, Bistro in the Pavilion, serves lunch daily.
Head into downtown Lexington to find the best barbecue joints or plan around the city’s annual Barbecue Festival in October. Stay the night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at the Vineyard, which is adjacent to the estate and connected via a walking path.
Elkin Creek Vineyard
Peace and serenity are in abundance at Elkin Creek Vineyard. Guests can sit along the creek listening to a gentle waterfall. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate a good night’s sleep in one of the vineyard’s cabins.
Nearby Elkin’s small town vibe packs in a lot of activity: Hike to Carter Falls, a one-mile roundtrip to a 50-foot cascade. In spring and summer, float down the Yadkin River in a rented kayak or tube from Rocky Forest River Run. Stroll through downtown Elkin for artists and galleries, along with coffee shops, diners and ice cream shops to fuel your adventures.
Dobson, Surry County
Harvest Grill, Shelton Vineyard’s onsite restaurant, is a stop along the Surry Sonker Trail (“Save Room for Sonker,”), and the vineyard’s sweeter wines are sometimes incorporated into its sonker. A rotating brunch menu is also available, along with salads, sandwiches and entrees for lunch and dinner.
Participate in one of the vineyard’s special fall events: Harvest Festival on Oct. 8, Murder Mystery Dinner on Nov. 11 and the Wine Showdown on Nov. 18. The Hampton Inn & Suites Shelton Vineyards, a few miles down the road, offers shuttle service to and from Shelton.
Monroe, Union County
True to its name, three treehouses stand tall on the vineyard’s 35 acres. Two treehouses set in white oaks are available for overnight accommodations. For a small get-together or a romantic evening, rent the Date Night Treehouse by the hour. Weekend events include live music, trivia nights and karaoke. Sign up for a DIY class such as candle making, calligraphy, painting or gardening. Latin Nights are popular monthly events with a Latin DJ and dancing. Grab food from the food truck or snacks and charcuterie items from the gift shop.
About the AuthorVanessa Infanzon moved to Charlotte for college and never left. When she’s not writing about business or travel, she’s paddle boarding on the Catawba River.