The Incredible Growth of NC Wine

wineI recently stumbled across a slick presentation of the US Wine industry from the Silicon Valley Bank association which had some fascinating information. This includes predictions of where the wine industry is going in 2018 specifically in the west coast regions.

One stat, 790 million gallons of wine were consumed in 2016, made us wonder how many of those gallons might have filled NC wine glasses. From our weekend jaunts to vineyards all across NC and the increased engagement on social media alone, we know the wine business has been growing exponentially across NC but the SVB report created a curiosity to dig in to the numbers.

One of the SVB predictions:

Successful wineries 10 years from now will be those that adapted
to a different consumer with different values — a customer who
uses the internet in increasingly complex and interactive ways,
is frugal and has less discretionary income than their predecessors.
Successful companies will be those that evolve retail
strategies away from the winery location as the sole point of
experience and find other, scalable means of delivering the
experience — and the wine — to consumers where they live.

If this comes to fruition, social media will become more and more important in communicating the values and experiences people are having with #NCwine.  Some of this may already be occuring with one NC vineyard, Round Peak, producing wine in a can. But we do know that North Carolina tourism continues to grow.

It’s impressive how far the NC wine industry has come since 2000 when the state had 21 wineries. This is a graphic produced by Farm Bureau with the 2013 numbers reported by the NC Wine and Grape Council and conducted by Frank, Rimerman + Co.


Now North Carolina is the 10th largest state in the US for the count of wineries with nearly 200 and counting. But this only represents 2% of the 9,654 wineries in the US.

In terms of wine production, NC is now the 7th largest state with around 1.1 million cases per month as of January 2018, according to Wines and Vines metrics. Here’s an update from 2016:


California dominates the wine industry in the US but it’s amazing by exactly how much. California is actually responsible for 86% of the wine production in the US. But N.C. continues to increase their production which is growing rapidly.

A few interesting facts from the most recent report published in August 2017:

  • $1.97 billion of economic value to the State came from the wine and grape industry.
  • 28% of NC wine was sold directly to consumers.
  • NC wine production increased by 97% since 2013.
  • 186 wineries in NC as of August 2017.
  • 1.9 million people visited wineries in NC.
  • Biltmore Estate is the most visited winery in the US

Read More:

Wines and Vines Metrics

2017 NC Wine Industry Facts

The Economic Impact of North Carolina Wine and Wine Grapes – 2016

North Carolina Wine in Pursuit of Excellence

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard

The power of Instagram.

Scrolling through on a Saturday morning, I caught a glimpse of the wine smoothie at Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard. After looking up the location, we saw it was convenient to the drive we had in store the next day just off of Highway 421 back to Raleigh.

Sweet Home Carolina Wine Smoothie

Upon arriving, we noticed a quaint little building, right off of old 421 Highway. It was a hot afternoon, so we were looking forward to the refreshing wine smoothie that awaited us.

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard Sign

The tasting room itself is beautiful. On your left, there’s a large wall of stonework profiling a fireplace with small shelving built in for candles.  The crimson red walls provide a nice ambiance for tasting. There was also a large grand piano in the room, which adds to the experience I’m sure at times as I’ve seen one of the owners playing it in other pictures (we didn’t get to hear it this day).

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard Stone

Stepping up the bar, we decided to try a wine smoothie first and then a small tasting. We enjoyed the smoothie on their back deck, which felt great with the fans and breeze blowing through there. The view was serene and peaceful looking out at the vines themselves with a slight view of the very top of Pilot Mountain in the distance.

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard Wine Smoothie

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard & Winery

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard Grapes


After finishing our smoothie, we made our way back in for a small tasting. We tried 6 of their wines. One red, three white and two fruit wines. Normally we go more for the reds and a chardonnay, but their specialties seemed to be in their fruit wines. Additionally, we learned that all their fruit wines are 100% fruit. We also enjoyed the labels with the tiny horses, which are normally raised on the property (also weren’t there the day we visited).

  • Moonstruck – Red Malbec
  • Baby Girl – White
  • Sweet Dreams – White
  • Epona – White
  • Twisted Pear – Fruit
  • Peaches & Dreams – Fruit

All were delicious, but we left with a bottle of the Peaches & Dreams, as my wife wants to attempt a Peach sangria.

Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard Sweet Dreams



From the Vineyard Puts NC Wine on TV

From the VineyardLover of North Carolina Wine? Then your TV thirst will finally be quenched.

A new show profiling NC Wine will debut on UNC TV Sunday, October 2nd at 1:30pm. The Salisbury Post reports that the premise will have Lisa Prince visit two vineyards or wineries to help you see the beauty that is exists in locales all across our state. Henk Schuitemaker will also join her to give a commentary on the wines discussed at the end of the show.

Having just made a trip to a few southern California vineyards, us North Carolinians have it pretty good with the experiences you get in many of our low-key tasting rooms across the state. Glad there will be a TV show to demonstrate this to the entire state now.

In the first episode, Lisa will visit Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC and the Mothervine in Manteo, NC.

To see the full schedule, head over to the The Salisbury Post.

You can follow the info on Facebook here:

Active Start to NC Wine Month

NC WineA number of stories are showing up this morning as we start out with a roundup celebrating #NCWineMonth:

From Vine to Wine
[Winston Salem-Journal]
Details on how the Yadkin Valley has become such a hotbed for vineyards.

Sommelier Talk: Henk Schuitemaker’s Wine List Was Born in a Barn
[Wine Spectator]
How many glasses of NC Wine is served at the Angus Barn in Raleigh?

Sustainable vineyards can be good for NC wine business
[News & Observer]
Discover how marketing and research are helping NC wine business explode.

Celebrating NC Wine and Grape Month
[NC Wine Guys Blog]
The NC Wine Guys explain how you can take part in the #NCWine movement.

NC Wines and the Best NC Wineries to Visit This Fall
[Scoop Charlotte]
A top 5 list to get you started with NC Wine. Great photos as well.

Shadow Line Vineyard takes off as Retired Couple Turns to Winemaking
[Hickory Daily Record]
A retired couple’s dream becomes a reality with this beautiful property.

Wineries celebrate N.C. Wine Month in September
[NC State]
A list of special events where you can celebrate across the State.

Daveste Vineyard

With the number of NC vineyards growing rapidly, it can be tough to select just one to visit.  Our selection process on some weekends is strictly decided by the time we have.  So we picked this one by it’s proximity to I-40 given it wasn’t far out of the way we were already headed. It also didn’t hurt that it had craft beer as the combo winery/brewery are all moving up my priority list.

Pulling up to Daveste Vineyards, you embark down a dirt road where you’re encouraged to go no more than 10mph as “there are vines growing.” As you walk in, you’re taken by the high ceilings, the original paintings and the coziness of the couch by the fireplace.

Despite the summer temps being in the 90’s most July days in NC, we still always enjoy a full-bodied red wine.  Daveste’s 2014 Malbec fits the bill. But if you want to try this one, you should make a trip quickly as our guide told us the vine died and they won’t be making any more.

Another neat experience to cap off the end of our tasting, was enjoying the 2013 Dulcinea. We were instructed by our guide, after our first taste to enjoy a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss and then taste again. The dark chocolate completely changes the flavors that comes through. The espresso flavor is much more pronounced after trying the dark chocolate. A unique and neat twist on your average tasting.


We also had to try a flight of the craft beer they brew at Daveste. Making our way through the generous pours, the Stout left the biggest impression. Normally, the hot summer temps is not the prime time to enjoy a Stout but would like to enjoy a few of these. It reminded me a bit of the Founders Breakfast Stout that I love to enjoy each year.  Highly suggest trying the flight if making the stop.



Overall, the venue is beautiful with multiple places to enjoy a bottle or a flight of their craft brews. Outdoor locales include multiple patios, waterfalls, or rocking chairs on the front porch. Wish we would have had more time to enjoy.



The Top 10 NC Vineyards on Instagram

san-marinoAfter reading the NC Wine Guys blog about being consistent on social media by using #NCWine, I began to wonder how many people actually search using that hashtag.

There are so many great photos displaying NC Wine from the visitors themselves. It’s often we will run across these by searching the hashtag #NCWine but you’ll find many more by searching the location of the winery/vineyard itself (who may not have an account themselves).

While doing this over the last few months to create our own itinerary, I’ve wondered how much more powerful it would be if these pictures could be shared where more could enjoy or even plan a visit. If the wineries and vineyards themselves could repost the pics more easily on their own profile, it would benefit all vineyards in and around that area.

So to start, we’ve cataloged a list of the best instagram accounts that regularly display fantastic and engaging pictures of North Carolina vineyards and wine culture.  We’ve made two categories:

  • Top 5 With Most Followers
  • Top 5 You Should Follow (Not in that group)

Top 5 With Most Followers

Biltmore Wines – Asheville, NC
Childress Wines – Lexington, NC
Duplin Winery – Rose Hill, NC
Sanctuary Vineyards – Outer Banks, NC
Overmountain Vineyards – Tryon, NC

Top 5 You Should Follow

Jolo Vineyards – Pilot Mountain, NC
Raylen Vineyards – Mocksville, NC
Raffaldini Vineyards – Ronda, NC
Divine Llama Vineyards – East Bend, NC
Treehouse Vineyards – Monroe, NC

We’ll have another blog, with a list of the top 5 vineyards with the best pictures tagged on Instagram with no official account for the Vineyard itself.

Raylen Vineyard

We’d heard so many good things about Raylen, we couldn’t wait to stop by.  It’s an easy stop for us as it’s on the way from Raleigh to Hickory – a trip we make a few times a year.

This was our first vineyard of the weekend so we had the kids with us. The property has a beautiful and expansive spread of grapes. We enjoyed a quick tasting where the Mrs. sipped on the Yadkin Gold (white) and I, the Carolinius (red), which resulted in our first purchase of the weekend. This will be a regular stop on our journey in the future as we quickly became Case Club members. Free glass every visit. Who can resist that? #doublefisting

Menarick Vineyard

Menarick VineyardThis was a very pleasant surprise we ran across on our way to another vineyard.

The knowledge of our tasting guide was fantastic and overall was a great way to start the day.

The Spanish and Portuguese design of the tasting room is a unique and more intimate feel than many of the other tasting rooms we’ve seen.  My wife really loved the Tempranillo so we came home with a bottle of it. We are generally not fans of the sweeter wines but they had a Peach and a Blackberry wine that was a very pleasing way to finish our tasting.  So much so, we walked out with a bottle of the blackberry as well.  The stemless tasting glass we received was also a nice touch.

As we were leaving, the sky opened up and it began pouring, so we chose to sit on the patio for a bit enjoying a glass. Part of the fun in tastings is the people you meet at the tables next to you.  You never know what type of conversations you might hear.  We had a fun exchange where we met another older couple from Raleigh. The wine tends to make others more friendly as well.

We would recommend you putting Menarick at the top of your list, early in your visit to the Yadkin Valley.

Menarick Vineyard Menarick Vineyard

Jones von Drehle Vineyard

Jones von Drehle was not on our original agenda, but we made a stop on a recommendation from Menarick after our first tasting of the day.  It was a fairly quick drive and in the direction of McRitchie which was next on our agenda.

Jones von DrehleJones von Drehle Vineyard had just opened recently in Thurmond, NC and we arrived hungry for lunch.  At this point, it’s tough to find criticism for any of the vineyards and tasting rooms we visited in the area. This was another great experience although quite a different feel than Menarick. This was a much larger facility with wonderful views.  They also had a wonderful food truck we devoured on the patio while the rain came down. When walking in, there was a large group of forty-something couples that were riding around the area in a bus. Seems like a fun (and safe) way to spend an afternoon in the Yadkin Valley.

I wished we’d taken better notes on the wines themselves but we were so hungry we rushed through our tasting. But is a tasting ever bad? We can’t wait to make another visit here.

Jones Von Drehle

Jones Von Drehle Vineyard



Round Peak Vineyard & Skull Camp Brewing

Our favorite stop in the Yadkin Valley so far has been Round Peak Vineyards.  For three reasons, the outdoor expansive back deck for tasting, the wonderful views from the Adirondack chairs on said deck, and the brewery combo allowing you to have the best of both worlds – wine tastings and beer flights.

On our visit, we arrived around noon and tried the Round Peak wines and the Skull Camp Brews. We had our tastings on the back deck and the views were serene and beautiful. My wife really enjoyed the Nebbiolo and I favored the Steel Jan’s, NZ IPA. Guess you can bet which choice we came home with.

The wife of the owner team served us and made our visit very enjoyable. We chose this locale at the last minute. I love when an experience for which you have initial mediocre expectations turns out to be a fantastic memory!

We were actually planning on making it back for their Grillfest event on the porch that evening (5-8pm) where they have live music and encourage you to bring some meat to throw on the grill with a picnic blanket. Next time!