We have so many reasons to enjoy the month of September. Fall is getting closer. It’s harvest time in the vineyards. It’s also a full month of celebrating NC wine—in case you don’t celebrate during the other eleven months of the year. An added bonus for us is having our wedding anniversary during all of the NC Wine & Grape Month fun. To kick off this special month, we’ve decided to share some of our favorite NC wine moments from the past year. Cheers!
One of the highlights is attending the NC Wine Month kickoff event. Although we weren’t able to attend this year, we learned so much about the NC wine industry during the 2017 event. If you want to learn more about this year’s event, check out info from NC Wine Guys and Triangle Around Town. In addition to the kickoff event, we gained a wealth of knowledge from both the NC Wine Bloggers Summit as well as the NC Wine Summit.
The NC Wine Summit included great discussions for improving the perception of NC wine. Dr. John Nowlin, a former instructor in UNCG’s Geography Department, shared exciting points about NC wine. North Carolina was the largest wine producer in the U.S., pre-prohibition. It has the largest muscadine winery in the world (Duplin Winery) as well as the most visited winery in the U.S. (Biltmore Estate). Nowlin affirmed, “we span the breadth of European wine in regards to climate.”
North Carolina is fortunate to have climates that will allow us to grow a wide range of varietals. Elevations range from 7 feet to 4,050 feet. We were blown away by the amount of research that Nowlin shared about the connection of NC geography and NC wine. We should be proud of the “varieties of varieties” and excited about the continued elevation in quality of NC wine. The grapes, wines, and winemakers continue to grow in richness, balance, and complexity.
A common thread shared amongst everyone in the wine industry is the importance of the experience with NC wines, whether it be at a winery, a festival, or an event. Many people seem to be unaware of all that NC has to offer with wine. Not only are there close to 200 wineries, but North Carolina is getting more recognition for the great quality of wine they’re producing. Both Wine Spectator and USA Today have called attention to NC wines. The Yadkin Valley AVA was recently listed as a top ten winner in USA Today’s 10 Best Wine Region awards.
We love touring our state, visiting wineries, and sipping NC wines and often find ourselves wanting to share our experiences with others. Sure we can write reviews, but this summer we decided to do one better. We brought the wines to our family and friends with three casual wine tastings, allowing us to offer a glimpse of our experiences by sharing more information about each winery and wine.
For our rosé event, we took guests to Burntshirt Vineyards, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Childress Vineyards, Midnight Magdalena Vineyards, Hanover Park Vineyard, Parker-Binns Vineyard, Piccione Vineyards, and Raffaldini Vineyards.
At our Christmas in July wine tasting, we sampled holiday wines from Cougar Run Winery, Rock of Ages Winery & Vineyard, Duplin Winery, Windsor Run Cellars, Locklear Winery, Shadow Springs Vineyard, Rocky River Vineyards, Dennis Vineyards, Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery, Fiddler’s Vineyard, and Biltmore Estate.
At all events, our guests were thrilled to find new NC favorites. It was exciting reaching friends who didn’t have a great perception of NC wine and watching their opinions change as they were open to trying different varietals.
Another shift for us this year has been visiting more restaurants that highlight NC wine. At the NC Wine Bloggers Summit, we discovered how rare it is to find local restaurants supporting local wine. This was surprising to us, especially since there is such a huge push to “support local” businesses and the farm to table movement. If we’re supporting all things local, where’s the NC wine? Two of our favorite finds are The Loyalist Market in downtown Matthews, NC, and Heirloom in Charlotte, NC. Both locations not only support local beverages but also support local food.
At The Loyalist, you can choose a bottle of NC wine and allow the cheesemonger to create a special charcuterie board just for you. If you want to host your own wine party, highlighting local wine, take one of their awesome evening classes to learn more about wine pairings for cheeses, meats, and chocolates.
We had the opportunity to visit Heirloom during Queen’s Feast and were able to try beautiful wine with each of our courses. Chef Clark Barlowe, executive chef and proprietor, has an incredible mind when it comes to creating delicious foods. His career is extensive with experiences all over the world, including beating Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Chopped.” Not only does Chef Barlowe support local foods—even foraging his own mushrooms—but he has a stocked bar with wine, beer, and distilled spirits all from North Carolina.
Throughout this month, we’ll share a few (because there’s just too many to highlight in one month) of our favorites NC wines, NC wineries, and local restaurants featuring NC wines and events.
We’d love to hear about your NC wine experiences as well. Let us know your NC favorites: wines, wineries, and restaurants.
Until our next glass…
Go Local. Drink Carolinas. 🍷