Friday, November 28, 2014

North Carolina is for Winos

Shelton Vineyards at sunset. Photos by Marcia Biggs
So many travels, so little time. The Getaway Girl  has some catching up to do! On a long summer weekend I found myself back in North Carolina to explore the wine region of the Yadkin Valley. Just a few hours northwest of Raleigh in the Appalachian foothills, the Yadkin Valley is gaining recognition  as an up-and-coming wine region. Some 40  (and growing) vineyards and wineries are now in operation year-round in the valley. Most are open to the public on weekends for tastings; some even have restaurants offering everything from five-star dining to pizza.


Actually, across the state of North Carolina, wineries have been multiplying steadily in the last decade in three viticultural areas which provide ideal climate, elevation and soil for growing grapes.  Savvy entrepreneurs are taking a leap of faith and turning farms and former tobacco fields into vineyards, creating a wine industry and attracting tourists at the same time.

The scenery around Round Peak looks like Napa Valley!
 Touring Yadkin Valley wineries can be a fun and relaxing weekend getaway and a chance to explore the many charming towns, arts and culture of Surry County.  No need to be a wine connoisseur to plan your own Yadkin Valley Wine Trail. Make your home base in Dobson, NC, at the modern, centrally located Hampton Inn & Suites at Shelton Vineyards. If it's fall, you'll  be able to enjoy the wine harvest and those famous North Carolina fall colors!

 All of these wineries are within an hour’s drive:
  •   Just a few miles up the road from the Hampton Inn lies the venerable Shelton Vineyards. Considered the godfathers of area wineries, the Shelton brothers, Charlie and Ed, opened the valley’s flagship winery in 1999. It’s now the largest family owned estate winery in the state. Plan to take a tour, enjoy a walk along the lake and treat yourself to an amazing dinner at the Harvest Grill. Ask for a table on the patio to enjoy an exquisite sunset over the vineyards.
  •   Head over to historic downtown Elkin for an afternoon of browsing the quaint antique shops and a stop at Brushy Mountain Winery located right on Main Street. With its jazz club ambiance, this intimate wine bar is all about charming –  and a delightful surprise for its knock-out wines.
  • At Elkin Creek Vineyard you’ll find yourself in a modern tavern surrounded by vineyards. On the grounds are an historic mill, cabins and meandering river. Brick oven pizzas are served on weekends from an authentic wood fired oven.
  •      You’ll think you’re in Napa Valley with the rolling vineyard views from  Round Peak Vineyards in Mount Airy. Gorgeous vistas from the back patio, outstanding wine (and craft beer) selections, and lots of locals who gather here on weekends to hang out and sip make this one stop you won’t want to leave. 
  • The tasting room at Jolo Winery
             Plan to stay a while when you visit the beautiful JOLO Winery and Vineyards in Pilot Mountain. Set in a gated estate on a small lake with a view of the mountain, JOLO entices with an outdoor patio perfect for relaxing and a comfortable tasting room with a view of the open kitchen. On weekends, the intimate End Post restaurant offers prix-fixe gourmet dinners prepared by executive chef Brian Brown. 

    Wineries are open year-round, however may close for a few weeks during winter season. Be sure to call before you go. For more information on Yadkin Valley wineries and traveling to this area of Surry County NC, visit www.verysurry.com