What I Love About…NC Wine Country
It’s nearing the end of September and yet, the other night was muggy and a bit too warm for a September evening. So, I decided to chill a bottle of 2008 Viognier from Westbend Vineyards and have a glass out on the back deck. Perfect.
Over Labor Day Weekend, we were supposed to be out at one of (if not my absolute) favorite vacation spots – the North Carolina Outer Banks. Thanks to Irene, our weekend getaway was nixed. So, my husband and I decided we’d partake in a couple of “day” activities with our first “day” being Saturday, September 3rd. We trekked two hours west to the outskirts of the Yadkin Valley to visit three wineries – Westbend, Misty Creek, and RayLen Vineyards. Our first stop was Westbend.
Westbend Vineyards – Lewisville
Pleasantly surprised. Loved the atmosphere. It did not have this gorgeous grand entrance like some of the others I’ve been to but what it lacked in grand, it made up for in comfort.
There’s a lovely windy drive past rows and rows of vines down to the main building. The entrance is hidden by a extensive pergola with ample seating underneath. Enter into the store and you’ll find a long bar for wine tastings as well as many items for purchase.
We loved each wine we tasted, including that Viognier. My husband and I are red wine drinkers more so than white. It’s very rare we’ll find a white wine we like but this Viognier had a refreshing flavor.
This Viognier has vibrant aromas of apricot and pears dipped in honey with vanilla overtones. (Description taken from Westbend Vineyards white wines.)
Needless to say we ending up purchasing two bottles of red and the one white even going so far as to enjoy the bottle of Les Soures Reserve (my favorite of the reds) underneath their pergola occasionally strolling amongst the vines.
Misty Creek Vineyards – Mocksville
Our next stop was Misty Creek. It was only a fifteen-minute drive heading south from Westbend. The main building is a short drive past rows of vines from the road. It too had a lovely outdoor seating area and on this particular Saturday, they even had live music.
Upon entering the building, you are immediately surrounded by a variety of items to purchase including original artwork by one of the owners…and it’s some gorgeous artwork to boot! Here we tasted their red selection and again, we found ourselves purchasing a couple of bottles to take home – a 2008 Merlot (my choice) and their Barrel House Blend (my husband’s favorite).
Each wine offered something unique to the pallet. I usually don’t prefer a Merlot but theirs went down smooth with a minimum after taste. Their Barrel House Blend (not featured on their website) is a relatively new addition and a blend of three of their reds (I believe). I really can’t remember what it tasted like, but my husband loved it!
Ray Len Vineyards – Mocksville
I wrote about Ray Len last year so I won’t reinvent the wheel here. The main reason we stopped in was so I could show my husband the beautiful landscape it sits on with acres and acres of vines along the windy drive in and out of the property.
We attempted to stay for a wine tasting and even begun one, but then somehow we were forgotten. They were really busy and closing at 6pm. I wasn’t impressed with the lack of appreciation of all customers who entered a half an hour before closing. It seemed as though they were more concerned about the 6pm closing time than about providing the best customer service for their potential clients. Last year, I bought a bottle of red. This year, we left before we could make a purchase. I was sad.
Even with the bad customer service experience, I’d give them another whirl again. My first experience there was so good that perhaps it was just a bad day.
So to sum it up
But, I don’t want to end this post on a sour note (pun intended). NC Wine Country has so much to offer. The Yadkin Valley produces some really tasty wines. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, you should. Take a day trip like we did (the outskirts are only a couple hours away) or make it a romantic weekend. There are several wineries near some of the most lovely Bed & Breakfasts too.
Experience NC Wine Country and you’ll see what I love about it!