15 North Carolina Wineries and Vineyards You Must Visit
The state of North Carolina is known for its sweet, not so tantalizing muscadine wines. But did you know that over the last 10-15 years, NC has elevated it’s locally made varieties and now has vineyards that boasts delicious wines for all to enjoy? Keep reading to discover my top pics for North Carolina Vineyards by region all of which have been tested and approved by yours truly. #rueapproved
*this is a non-sponsored post – Drink responsibly and as I always say, make good choices.
I have traveled around the world and sipped wine and champagne at some of the most popular vineyards and cellars known to mankind.
Whether visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valley, “champagning and cellaring” in Champagne, France (Reims) or touring Stellenbosch and Franschhoek sipping the finest Chenin Blanc in South Africa, I think it safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of wine tours, tastings, and experiences.
Me, wine tasting at a vineyard in South Africa
I have been touring #ncvineyards for over 10 years now and I can honestly say each one is unique, and you will meet some of the most amazing people there. Let's be honest, it's a winery, everyone is there to have a good time.
Vineyards are some of the most beautiful places to visit and the wine you get to sip while there takes the mountainous views and clean air to the next level.
North Carolina use to be all about its muscadine wines; an almost syrupy sweet varietal that is sure to turn any wine snob off. I like to call it “the southern version of Moscato” eeeyuck!
Not to worry, my list is filled with loads of different wines all matched with the breathtaking views that the incredible state has to offer.
On my most recent wine excursion in WNC (western North Carolina) I actually learned a very little-known fact about muscadine wine. Are you ready??
The muscadine wines we’ve been exposed to actually have added sugar!!! (barf-o-rama!)
Why on God’s green earth they would do such a thing is beyond me. But the good news is there are winemakers in NC that make muscadine wines without adding sugar and it is absolutely divine. (Don’t say I never told you nothin’).
Don't worry, I’ll share more information on where you can get it in just a few. I got you.
How to fully enjoy a winery
Before going to the vineyards, I highly suggest having a hearty meal.
Most of the vineyards below offer snacks like meats, cheeses and even charcuterie boards, but not all of them have places where you can enjoy a full meal nor are they located near restaurants so it's best to be safe and eat before going. No one wants to visit a winery and "rookie out" because they failed to have food on their stomach. #sigh
Breakfast at The Biltmore
Now, when you get to these vineyards I suggest opting for a tasting. It typically takes about 15ish minutes to get through a full flight of the offerings at each vineyard. These samplings are to give you an idea of the tastes, aromas and undertones of each wine.
After the tasting, you can decide if you would like to order a glass or bottle to share on the premises, and/or take a bottle (or 10) take back to your home cellar (or kitchen counter, but you know what I mean).
In North Carolina, tastings can cost you anywhere from free, like at the Biltmore, and can range up to $20 or so. At my favorite #ncwinery (highlighted below) you can sample every wine they produce for a very low cost. And they are all delicious!
The cellars at The Biltmore winery
A well-kept secret for those outside the state is, North Carolina has some of the most beautiful Vineyards in the United States. (So does Georgia, btw. Right outside of Atlanta, but that’s a different post for a different day.)
Coming in with a record number of 200+ Vineyards throughout the state, North Carolina doesn’t leave much to be desired in the vino department, you just have to know where to go. That’s where this post comes in!
Remember to always have a designated driver and to drink responsibly. Your life, safety and the safety of others is most important.
That said, I am excited to bring to you my list of North Carolina must-do vineyards and wineries that are Rue and #thevinochronicles approved. So, without further ado, below I’ve listed some of my favorite wineries by regions along with the routes I take while visiting. Enjoy!
Vineyards north of Charlotte
Yadkin Valley Vineyards (I-77 Wine Route)
We’ll start with my #clt go-to vineyards. These wineries are just an hour and some change north of Charlotte (via I-77N). While in the area you can hit 3-4 of these wineries in the same day if you’re the ambitious type such as myself. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. My favorite is Shadow Springs, so be sure to hit that one when in the Yadkin V and tell them Rye sent you!
*for those who have asked, yes, this this the route and vineyards that I hosted my 2019 birthday trip/extravaganza on!
Raffaldini Vineyards 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
“Holy Grail” of the Yadkin Valley
Sip wine in a castle-styled winery on a beautiful Tuscan-themed estate
Offers tasty dry wines
Venue available for events and parties
Picnic and dining areas on the grounds
Light snacks offered (wine and cheese)
Piccioni Vineyards 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
A stones-throw from Raffaldini (so why not)
Fun themes and pairings (think macarons and girl scout cookies)
Live music and food trucks
A cute little doggy-mascot that makes you feel “at home”
Light snacks offered (wine and cheese) and sometimes they have food trucks
Shadow Springs Vineyard 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
My absolute favorite winery in NC. When you get to this place the women who run it make you feel like you’ve been friends for 20 years! This is the winery where you can opt to try ALL of the wines on you their menu and trust me when I say, each wine DELIVERS!
Huge variety of wines
Super fun atmosphere and wine-paraphernalia shopping
Offers strawberry wine, chocolate wine and a strawberry chocolate wine
Delicious wine slushies
Deck seating with a pond views and gorgeous scenery
Light snacks offered (wine and cheese)
Windsor Run Cellars 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
IMO this place has the best wine in the Yadkin. Looks a little sketchy but, go for the wine… you won’t be disappointed.
30 mins from Charlotte
A bit closer to Charlotte, you will find Davidson Wine Company and Daveste Vineayard. They are a bit closer than the wineries I mentioned earlier but make for an absolute decadent time.
Beautiful Black-owned, woman-owned winery in the heart of downtown Davidson
Super cute, major chic, restaurant setting
Offers an excellent brunch and “light eats"
30 different wine varietals
Globally sourced grapes
Daveste Vineyards 40 mins from Charlotte
This place is a party and a half
Owned by a super sweet couple, you will meet them, and you will love them
Mostly outdoor seating
Live music and dancing (next level bands a performances)
Bring your own food or purchase food from a food truck
Divine Llama Vineyards 1hr 30 mins from Charlotte
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, look no further than Divine Llama Vineyards. Where you can sip wine, tour a farm and complete a llama trekking experience all at one vineyard!
This place sits on a family-owned farm which you can tour while trekking with your llama. Please make sure you’re in shape lol. They almost took your girl out!
You can go to llama trek or not, but if you plan to enjoy the llama trekking experience, be sure too book at least 6 months in advance as space (and llamas) are limited
Offers Llama trekking and yummy wine!
Sipping and trekking with my llama, Bently
Cellar 4201 1hr 40 mins from Charlotte
A 5ish minute drive from Divine Llama Vineyards
Delicious wine *some of the best in NC
Just like hanging out at a friend’s house, only with an unlimited supply of delicious wine
Beautiful flowers and landscapes on their gorgeous outdoor patio
Gourmet chocolate and charcuterie selection
Now, enough with m I-77 wine route, let's talk about what the rest of the beautiful state of NC has to offer in the way of wine and shenanigans. Below are more wineries I have had the pleasure of visiting. I have listed them by distance in order to help you plan your adventures accordingly.
Vineyards East of Charlotte
40 mins from Charlotte
Outside the Yadkin, but close to Charlotte, you will find Treehouse Vineyards, one of the coolest and more creative vineyards in NC which also boasts tasty wines.
Super-cute, family-owned winery
Offers access to real live treehouses!
Rent a treehouse for the day or overnight
Wine is absolutely divine (and so are the wine slushies)
Live music and outdoor seating is a total vibe
Vineyards West of Charlotte (I-85 Wine Route)
Veronet Vineyards 30 mins from Charlotte
Indoor and outdoor seating
Wrap around porch
Picnic tables and food trucks
Mountain Brook Vineyards 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
Individual firepits as well as one huge pit
Offers two different tastings: one made from North Carolina grown grapes while the other flight is made from California grown grapes
Gourmet Food Trucks
Parker-Binns Vineyard and Winery 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
One of the best burgers and pizza that you will EVER try at a vineyard
Owned by the cutest “Yankee” couple
Live music to LIVE for! It was definitely the One-Man Band for me on this day!
Overmountain Vineyards 1hr 15 mins from Charlotte
Where I was first introduced to “unsweetened” muscadine wine (mind friggin’ blown)
Art-inspired wine labels that tell a story
They will pick fresh figs for you to take home! (I was floored)
Blueberry picking when in season
Light snacks available
2hrs from Charlotte
Complimentary Wine tastings
On-site lodging and restaurants
Tour the Historic Biltmore House while there
Join their wine club. I love it and as a member you'll get special access
For more details you can check out my post about my visit to the Biltmore here
Get Uncorked on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Last, but definitely not least, a lot of you have reached out about my recent “Uncorked” lunch and wine pairing experience aboard the beautiful steam train that traveled through the Great Smoky Mountains in Bryson City, NC.
Straight to the point, the experience was EPIC!
This steam engine transports you through North Carolina’s beautiful Great Smoky Mountains while you learn the history of the area.
Sip bubbly and nibble from a yummy charcuterie board while you prepare to enjoy a 4-course meal with wine pairings. During the trip you will be educated by a formally trained wine expert who shares the details of each wine.
I’ll be honest, the food was “eh”, but you will absolutely love the experience!
There is a cash bar available, and you can purchase by the glass or by the bottle during this 3.5-4-hour adventure through the smokies.
The train starts and stops in two different small towns. Yu’ll have the chance to deboard the train and explore before heading back to the depot station.
Each guest is provided with a tasting note card where they can keep track of their reactions to all the wines. This is helpful because at the end of the tour you have the opportunity to purchase any of the wines from the tasting, however there is absolutely no pressure to purchase.
After leaving here you can always hit the Cherokee Casino and win a little cash (fingers crossed/eyes squinted) and spend the night in Asheville like I did. (Be sure to use a designated driver and treat them very well.)
My mind is in wine land
Well, my lovies, there you have it. Another set of my adventures on the books. I do hope you get the chance to experience some, if not all of these destinations. I absolutely love wineries and I can’t wait to write about and visit even more. Maybe my next wine post will be about Georgia vineyards or perhaps the vineyards I’ve visited in South Africa or France! Let me know what you’d like to hear about in the comments below and I’ll make it happen. Until next time, smooches!
xoxo - Rue
#vineyards #ncvineyards #ncwineries #travel #northcarolina #wine #winelover #food #lunch #dinner #biltmorehouse