Winery Suggestions in Southeast US
I'm driving down from DC to Miami to visit a friend and I realized I can leave a little earlier (4-5 days?...) and take my sweet time and enjoy some wines along the way. And so I'm begging for any winery suggestions ya'll may have.
I'm not particularly interested in scenery, although that's nice, but mostly in the quality of the wine. In Northern Virginia, I'm thinking of starting by visiting Linden Vineyards off I-66 and going south from there. Some others in Virginia that have been recommended include Rappahannock Cellars, Horton Vineyard, and White Hall Vineyards.
Not fond of some of the wines I've seen at some local festivals such as fruit, lavender-infused, and cough-syrup-esque wines, but I'm game tasting just about anything else.
I'll be leaving middle of October, if that makes a difference. If you know of any good wineries in North Carolina, Georgia, or South Carolina, please drop a note as well.
Thanks for your help.
Thanks for your suggestion vein1!
I think I'll be stopping in North Carolina and visit the following:
- Old North State Winery
- Shelton Vineyards
- Westbend Vineyards
- Hanover Park Vineyard
- RayLen Vineyards
As for Virginia, I think that's where most of my trip will be concentrated, so I haven't put together a list yet (more suggestions welcomed). There are so many that I can't stop by them all, so I'm getting as much input as possible to narrow it down to maybe 15 wineries.
I'm also thinking of stopping by a couple of wineries in Georgia and give their Muscadine wines a try, and haven't yet heard of any wineries in South Carolina.
In Tryon NC, near the SC border, is RockHouse vineyards. I haven't tried their wine, but they talk a good game ;-) In SC proper, near Table Rock on Hwy 11 is Victoria Valley Vineyards. They are kind enough to sponsor foot races and triathlons around here with wine for prizes, so I've had a couple of their offerings. The red was surprisingly good (I don't hold out much hope for local wines) but the white was not too good. Not terrible, mind you, but I made sangria with most of it. I have friends who enjoy going to lunch there.
Also in SC is a winery near Charleston they makes muscadine wine. I LOVE muscadines, but you better like sweet wine if you get some. I got the "dry" offering from that producer and it was sweet enough to make me wonder what the sweet ones tasted like.
Georgia has a wine trail north of Lake Hiawassee. I think that would be a pretty area to tour. I've had a Cabernet Franc from N. Georgia that was decent. I thought I remembered it having Tiger in the name, so I just googled for it. It's www.tigerwine.com , Tiger Mountain vinyards. I was surprised by the varietals mentioned on the site.
Enjoy, and please report your findings to us.
Here are a couple more suggestions
NC - Childress (Reserve Cab Franc is one of NC's best reds, and the estate is pretty impressive), Rag Apple Lassie ( Small and rustic, but very good Viognier), Rafaldini (Obama gifted Italian PR Berlusconi a bottle of their Vermentino) and the aforementioned Shelton (Very pretty property with decent wines
VA - Breaux (Possibly the best Nebbiolo in the US), Horton ( A dizzying array of varietals, with white being better than reds), Barboursville (Fun tasting room with a large selection of above average wines) and Kluge (Pronounced clue gee, very pretty tasting room and grounds. wines are overpriced and some downright suck, but half their sparkling wines are good. I think the Blanc de Noirs was our favorite.)
In both NC and VA, whites are more successful than reds, with Viognier being the clear leader. There are some surprising Rieslings (Shelton makes my favorite) and some odditites like Horton's Petit Menseng which are solid. Many reds suffer from an off flavor that trancends varietal. It's kind of like a burnt rubber characteristic, but you may like that. Some people do, especially Nascar fans.
Overall, I'm not too excited about the NC wines I've tasted (especially Biltmore - well-hyped, but not very good), but admittedly I haven't been to too many vineyards locally. I don't like sweet wines either. I think what you'll find is that there may be one or two you like at each place, but no one vineyard is going to blow you away.
Shelton was ok. I liked a couple of their wines. It has nice grounds and the food I've had there has been pricey, but decent. It's certainly convenient though, right off the Dobson exit of I-77.
I was going to mention RagApple Lassie too in the same area as Shelton. It is VERY small, but had some surprisingly good wines. They have a website if you want to vet them out. Be very careful when you do their tasting though. The first time I went, it was one price, taste many. This last time though, it was one price, but only included certain wines. Wines that had a more limited supply, you had to add on those tastings individually. It can add up in a hurry if you get too excited.
Have also heard excellent things about some of the wines offered at Chateau Elan in GA. I normally think of it like the Biltmore - more hype than quality, but a friend's opinion who I really trust was surprised by how much he liked their Cab. He bought a case. Check their tasting schedules - some days are much cheaper than others.
Your suggestions have truly helped. One week to go before I start the trip, but so far these are the stops I intend to make:
White Hall Vineyards
King Family Vineyards
[2-4 more along the way that I have yet to pick]
Old North State Winery
Ragapple Lassie Vineyards
Hanover Park Vineyards
RayLen Vineyards & Winery
South Carolina: Still looking
Georgia: Still looking
San Sebastian Winery
If anyone can add to my list, please send your comments my way.
One excellent winery that hasn't been mentioned yet is Villa Appalaccia near Mabry Mill, VA, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wonderful italan style wines...especially the aglianico! www.villaappalaccia.com/index.htm
84 Blue Ridge Cir, Black Mountain, NC 28711
138 E Birnie St, Gaffney, SC 29340
North Carolina has over 100 wineries. There are many in the Yadkin Valley. Google yadkin
valley wineries and you will directed to many of the websites. Several of the wineries have
resturants among them are Shelton just off I 77, Sander Ridge, and Flynt Hill all have excellent food at reasonable prices. There are menus available on the web. We find the NC wines to be somewhat better the VA wines. The red wines are different than California due fluctuations in
our climate. Good luck on your trip hope you take time to visit some of the NC wineries.
There are many posts and/or threads in the past with suggestions on exactly what you're searching for if you'd like to do a search. Chowhound's search engine isn't the greatest, so use Google to search Chowhound. Please check the Southeast board and the General South Archive board as well as the Wine Board.