With so many exciting wine events nearby and with NC Wine Month right around the corner, it was hard to choose which event we wanted to explore last weekend. We decided on the Toast of Kannapolis Wine & Beer Festival, which featured eight NC wineries and three NC breweries. In addition to excellent beverages, there were also raffles, unique local vendors, and tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Starting our tour of NC wineries, we stopped at Rocky River Vineyards and enjoyed a refreshing Peach Bellini slushy. Rocky River has been growing Muscadine grapes since 2003 and has over 45 acres filled with a variety of grapes.
Save the date for their upcoming events: September 9th – 10 Year Celebration, 1–7 pm; September 24th – Dog Day at the Vineyard, 1–5 pm; October 28th – Hall-O-Wine Festival, 12–7 pm.
Must Try: Rockin’ Red (Muscadine), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay
Our next stop was Douglas Vineyards, which we’ve been wanting to try for months. Not only was it great to meet and talk with Doug (one of the owners), but we thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of wines as well. In fact, their wines were so nice, we decided to visit the winery after leaving Toast of Kannapolis. Stay tuned for our winery review!
Must Try: Bitchin’ Blackberry, Enochville Gold (Estate Grown – 2016 Gold medal), and Freeze Road Red (Estate Grown – 2016 Bronze winner)
We were excited to try wines from Cougar Run Winery after hearing great reviews about the wines as well as the winery. We were able to try a variety of their wines (reds, whites, and sweet). Not surprisingly, we were drawn to what they described as their Christmas wine (Dickens). We’ll be sure to share it at our next holiday tasting.
Must Try: Thunderhead (Blend – Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah) and Dickens
Family-owned and operated, Dennis Vineyards was welcoming and informative when we stopped by for a tasting. They offer Muscadine wines, French varietals, and fruity wines. Make sure to visit the winery, which opened in 1997 as Stanly County’s first winery.
Must Try: Midnight Merlot (aged in French Oak), Nectar (Niagra), and Spring (Blend of 10 different varieties of Muscadine wines)
Stony Mountain Vineyards was a popular table. Located at the lower end of the Yadkin Valley within the Uwharrie Mountains, Stony Mountain Vineyards produces a variety of wines from mineral rich vineyards. We found quite a few favorites and can’t wait to visit the winery and try more of their wines that weren’t offered at the event (Syrah and Riesling).
Must Try: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon
Offering about 35 wines at their Concord location, Cabo Winery provided a unique and relaxing tasting. We opted for the more fruity wines since we had already tasted quite a few dry wines. Their fruity wines were quite refreshing with crisp, clean finishes.
Must Try: Bless Your Heart (lime notes) and Over Yonder (chocolate covered cherry port)
WoodMill Winery was a pleasant and refreshing surprise. Starting with a half acre of vines in 2001, WoodMill Winery has grown to about 14 acres which include Muscadines and Scuppernong. Any fruit that is used in the wines is either produced on the property or harvested nearby. Not only did our wine server share information about the winery and wines, but she explained the many benefits of Resveratrol connected with Muscadines. Make sure to stop by and visit them in Vale, NC.
Must Try: Mon Amor and American Jubilee
Started in 2004, Morgan Ridge Vineyards and Brewhouse now produces seven acres of seven different varietals and also offers craft beers. Morgan Ridge offered a wide range of wines from dry reds and whites (Chardonnay and Sangiovese) to fruit wines (Applelicious and What the Fruit).
Must Try: Chambourcin
Our final stop of the afternoon was Cauble Creek Vineyard, North Carolina’s 100th Vineyard. The vineyard covers 36 acres and includes three main Muscadine varietals and many European varietals. Our past favorites include Amos John (Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec) and Mae Belle (Doreen Muscadine).
Must Try: Phyllis Ann (Carlos Muscadine) and Wiffer (Cabernet Franc)
Even though the Toast of Kannapolis is a smaller NC wine festival, we thoroughly enjoyed the wines, wineries, and breweries that were represented. We picked up a few new releases that weren’t available for sale at the wineries, as well as a couple of holiday wines that aren’t sold at the wineries until the holidays roll around.
We recommend the Toast of Kannapolis to anyone wishing to go local and drink Carolinas. Cheers! 🍷