Boutique or estate wines? Downtown or sprawling valley? Dining room or strictly tasting rooms? Pleasant choices like those filled my agenda for wine tasting in North Carolina and its Yadkin Valley. The solution? Stay several days to taste and enjoy each style.
Stay where? Hampton Inn & Suites Shelton Vineyards with easy access from Interstate 85 in Dobson. Winetasting room in the lobby, open 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and in the next-door gas station convenience store!
Free bikes to borrow for the two-mile pedal to Shelton Vineyards, or hop on the free shuttle for tastings and vineyard tours. Linger because the Harvest Grill with Executive Chef Paul S. Lange is three Diamond dining.
Romance Many Ways
Romance in the woods is another lodging possibility with four cabins at The Depot at Cody Creek, also in Dobson, but neither pets nor children invited here. The restaurant is full service with full portions and a rustic ambience.
Overnight romance and fine dining are available at JOLO Winery & Vineyards, new and elegant in sight of Pilot Mountain on 81-acres. Spectacular, including the one cottage for rent.
Dining at JOLO means full French service, say owners JW and Kristen Ray, in the intimate 24-seat End Posts restaurant.
Allow three hours to savor seven courses prepared by Chef Brian Brown from Napa.
Elegance is the mood in the JOLO tasting room too with lead crystal glasses, a new one for each taste. Ever seen a fine dining open kitchen in a tasting room? You will in this boutique winery.
The Yadkin Valley also offers lodging in Mount Airy, including the childhood home of Andy Griffith, a 1950s Mayberry memories motor lodge, a bed and breakfast and traditional hotels.
Family Friendly Cabins
Four creekside cabins, 400 square feet each with queen bed, sleeper sofa and a kitchen, can be rented at Elkin Creek Vineyards. Kids welcomed.
Sleep at Elkin Creek and you’ll be staying with Blue Man Group performers from Las Vegas. Really.
The two couples relocating for a wine life also present wood-fired sourdough bread pizzas and farm cheeses from local grass-fed cows—happy cows, they say.
That’s the winery and vineyard sleep structure; now to the rest of the wines.
Burgundy, France Favorites Here Too
Ten varietals grow well here, in soils and climate designated an American Viticultural Area, similar to the Burgundy region of France. Recognize any favorites?
Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot.
Discover an 11th when you visit Round Peak Vineyards in Mount Airy where Ken Gulaian is experimenting with Nebbiolo grapes.
“They’re unique to this region and fairly unique within the United States,” he says, “yielding a robust, dark medium-bodied wine.”
Ken forecasts the Viognier will gain fame as North Carolina’s most distinctive wine. He’s also brewing three craft beers.
Picnic with Wine
Take a picnic to Round Peak—named for the fiddle playing technique of Tommy Jarrell who grew up at the base of the mountain dominating the view here. Saturdays the grills are fired up too.
Perform slowly with passion. That’s what adagio means to musicians and Adiago Vineyards knows the score. Good chance this is the only winery owned and operated by dentists, one of whom is also a classical violinist.
Dr. Janice Wahl’s skills extend to violin crafting, and the tasting room features graceful pieces ready to become instruments.
“We have violin making, winemaking, beautiful music and wonderful wines, all in the same place,” says Dr. Tim Wahl, a certified sommelier. “Adiago applies to each.”
Perhaps you can guess the musical names of their wines?
Vivace. Coda. Chaconne. Answers: Lively. Finale. Composition of different variations. Nice, eh?
Discover Brushy Mountain Winery in Elkin and Main Oak tasting room in Mount Airy elsewhere in the Yadkin Valley series because those towns are destinations on their own.