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!

Sanders Ridge Vineyard

How great are spontaneous dinners accompanied by great wine?  At Sanders Ridge, you’ll find both.

This was the next stop after our tasting at RagApple Lassie vineyards since it was fairly close. After visiting 4 other vineyards that day, it was a welcome reprieve.

The Hearth Restaurant at Sanders Ridge has an exquisite interior and was built by the owner himself. This added to the ambiance for a fantastic dinner. Highly recommend the Pimento Cheese burger.

After our pre-dinner tasting, we chose a glass of the Big Woods. This full flavored red, was a great appetizer before dinner. Even though we don’t normally enjoy the fruit wines, the Peach Mango was a nice glass to have with us as we walked around the property and down to the lake after dinner.

Because we were there during the evening, the zip line was not an option. Fine with us, another reason to come back and enjoy.




Shadow Line Vineyard

Next time you are in Granite Falls, NC making your way down Highway 321, make a slight detour for Shadow Line Vineyard. The facility is beautiful.  On our recent trip, we started with a tasting of all 8 of their wines.

As we were throwing back our tasting, it occurred to me that we’d done a poor job of capturing our thoughts on wine tasting in North Carolina, because we have been to 8-10 vineyards over the last few years and haven’t documented our trips. Given the benefit we found in reading other’s reviews of vineyards across the State before starting our trips, we thought others could benefit.

Nestled in the country, a few miles off of highway 321, a peaceful experience awaits you at Shadow Line Vineyard. I didn’t take great notes on the tastes of these wines as one of the people in our group was participating in his first tasting, so our focus was on him, but I did choose a glass of the Merlot after finishing the tastings. Several in our group purchased bottles as well.


Shelton Vineyard & Hampton Inn

Like most others, we thought the wine-tasting room in the hotel was a nice touch. Being that it’s 2 miles from the Shelton Vineyards, you get…Shelton Wines. Paying $5 for a tasting gives you 3 wines to pick. It was a relaxing and quaint environment but we did enjoy the two other couples in the room who were enjoying a bottle of Harvest Red.  You could tell they may have been in to their second bottle because the laughter was happening regularly.

As for the Hampton room – it was clean and had a fridge & microwave. The only slight downside was that the TV was a little small to see being how far it was from the King bed.  The patio was a nice touch as well. Actually had breakfast out there the following morning and it is surprisingly quiet being that close to the interstate.

I wish we’d taken more pictures of the actual vineyard as the grounds were beautiful.  They also had a restaurant on site, but seemed more fit for a nice dinner and we were there at lunch.  I would like to spend more time at this one the next time we are in Dobson, NC.

Why You Should Love NC Wine

So many people we talk with have no idea the wealth of great tasting wine and beautiful landscaped vineyards that are here in North Carolina. Many also aren’t aware that North Carolina produces wines outside of the sweet muscadine flavors one might normally expect.

I feel we should preface our descriptions, with the fact that we are not wine aficionados. But we have tended to favor the wines you find in the north western part of the state. We’ve spent time in the Yadkin Valley over the last few years and were overwhelmingly impressed with the scenary, people, taste, and choice of wine.

After taking our first trip to a few California vineyards in 2009, we’ve also come to learn that much of the experience around wine is influenced by the people you are with. You don’t have to know how to swirl the wine in your glass to see the legs.  Or sniff it and the wax poetically about the specifics fruit or abstract item you may smell.  It does help when the wine is tasty, but enjoying with friends with some live music on a beautiful afternoon makes the experience that much more meaningful and memorable.

So join us as we share our experiences.  Use what you like.  If nothing else, there will be pictures and perhaps videos you may find useful in your own vineyard trips across the North Carolina Wine Country.  You can thank us later as you also a lover of North Carolina wine.