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NC Wineries for 21st birthday in March

My first born son turns 21 during his college spring break in March 2012. He has asked us to take him to several wineries for a birthday trip.
We're most interested in the wine, of course. He enjoys the reds we serve at home from California, Rhone, Bordeaux, and Chile. But I'd like for him to be able to sample the full spectrum of what's available to help him learn what he likes.
We're also interested in the 'tasting experience' - a pretty room; a knowledgeable host; viticulture & viniculture tours, a picnic area or restaurant, etc.
We have previously visited only a few North Carolina wineries. Of these, Raffaldini is one that we will return to. http://www.raffaldini.com/visitus.php
We have not been to Childress, but plan to visit. http://www.childressvineyards.com/win...

Which additional wineries or tasting rooms do you suggest? We may drive up into Virginia.

Thanks much! We'll also need help with restaurants, delis & bakeries once we know the winery itinerary.

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    1. re: arthurb3

      Thanks. Here's a link to cellartracker tasting notes grouped by producer.

    2. There are wineries all over the state - is there a particular region you are interested in?

      1 Reply
      1. re: romansperson

        We'll be in Lexington and the Yadkin Valley and would like to stay within about 150 miles.

      2. You might consider West Bend just outside Winston-Salem. It's small, but it's a very nice property, the wines are pretty good, and the tours are very informative. They're also opening a brewery onsite, and I've heard you can sample some of the goods even though it's not open yet. Might as well introduce your son to all the options! :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: arbyunc

          the brewhouse at west bend opens this saturday.

        2. Shelton is very attractive...nice tasting room and staff.

          1. We took a tour with 6 people this fall. It was fantastic. It was not like a tour of the facilities, more like a wine tasting.

            We all sat at a table like one would do in a restaurant. We brought our own lunch and snacks. Cheese, peppers, crackers... Made quite a picnic right there at the table.

            Then your server comes out and gives you a score card and pen. She then starts with the whites. Explaining in detail about each wine. There must have been eight different whites.

            Then the card is flipped over and they start on the reds. Again, must have been about six to eight of those. Then the last one were the desert wines. Our ladies packed a wonderful picnic and we were filled to the brim.

            We stayed at Lake Gaston that Weekend so the drive was reasonable.

            After dinner you were lead out into the lobby with your score card so that you could buy any bottles of wine you wanted. We gave some for Christmas gifts and they were a huge hit. Wine bottles ranged from $14.00, $17.00 to mid twenties.

            And here is the place:


            1. I suggest staying at the hotel on the grounds of the Shelton Vineyard http://www.sheltonvineyards.com the winery is nice, wines are great, hotel even has a wine bar and the restaurant is great! With that being said, from the hotel there are about 5 or 6 wineries within 15 mins driving distance. Not sure how many days you are planning, but you could easily hit all of the wineries in a day or two.

              Since he's turining 21, check out http://www.sandersridge.com/ they have a restaurant, winery, and a zip line. I do believe it's close to all of those in the yadkin valley

              1. We started at Grove Winery in Gibsonville. Father Gerry Waterman arranged a guided tasting of fourteen "Quaffy Whites and Bold Reds," but he was out of the country on a mission trip and the class was led by Grove staff. We left with a bottle of the Traminette.

                Friday we drove south to Salisbury and Yoder's Amish Market. We bought snacks, spices and awesome sandwiches from their deli.

                Tour and tasting at Childress Vineyards in Lexington.

                Tasting at Westbend Vineyards in Lewisville, first their wines then our son tasted each of their four beers, I had a small glass of IPA, and my wife got ready to drive. Their meritage wine is delicious.

                We drove north to Dobson, checked into the nicer-than-most Hampton Inn, and had the $10 prime rib special at Surry Diner - friendly people, nothing fancy, good piece of beef, but it was cooked well past the medium rare we each requested.

                Saturday we started at Shelton Vineyards for tasting and tour.

                Drove south a bit to Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda for a tasting and some time on their gorgeous patio. We left with several bottles, we all especially enjoy the Bella Misto. The young man who served our wine there encouraged us to drive northwest to McRitchie.

                MicRitchie Winery and Ciderworks in Thurmond was the smallest, most intimate place we visited. We especially enjoyed the chardonnay and cider here.

                6 Replies
                1. re: AreBe

                  Thanks for the report. I'm kind of getting that you liked Raffaldini the best? Or is it just that the setting was the nicest?

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Liked the best? Our son's clear favorite was McRitchie with Westbend a close second for their wines and the smaller more personal tasting experience. We really like the wines at Raffaldini, the views from the tasting room and patio are stunning, and we walked under a beautiful collection of blooming dogwoods to enter the building. The grounds of Shelton are absolutely beautiful and so is their Reisling that we brought home. We like the wines at Childress, but the building is over-the-top. We like the wines at Grove and may attend a concert or two there this summer. I can't say which I like the best as they all have good points.

                    1. re: AreBe

                      Wine-wise I guess is what I'm looking for. Sounds like Raffaldini again? I'm not a fan of the sweeter wines, so a Reisling (unless it is Alsacian-style) probably wouldn't be my favorite. Thanks so much for the info - this is as great thread.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Just as an aside, Bin54 and Elaine's sometimes have Grove Winery's nebbiolo on their wine lists. Their red wines are pretty good.

                        1. re: romansperson

                          I don't know, I know wine preference is all based on personal taste and likes/dislikes but I've been to Grove and had a lot of their wines. The Traminette is pretty good and around Christmas I had one of their blushes they renamed Red Nose, but there is some aftertaste in their wine that I don't like very much. It's almost a musty taste. I've heard a lot of people say that the wine tastes like the Haw River (since it's on the river's wine trail). I still think the staff is great and the location is perfect for summer concerts/picnics (right down the street from my sister's house)!

                  2. re: AreBe

                    Thanks for posting back. That helps so many people.

                    I am glad you got your prime rib.I painted a picture of a local "place" and I am glad you enjoyed it for what it is.