It was a beautiful, Memorial Day weekend for the NC Wine Festival at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. The faithful arrived early to set up tents, pull out picnics and find the precious shade under the trees.
One disappointment: Most of the Yadkin Valley wineries didn’t come to this festival, having hosted their own wine festival in Elkin just two weeks before. So, it looks like we have many wine tasting opportunities in North Carolina, as our wine industry continues to grow. And you can’t really go wrong!
There were 31 wineries in the printed program, and a handful more that didn’t make the program. Though I certainly didn’t try them all, here are a few favorites from the day:
Stonefield Cellars of Stokesdale has several nice reds. My personal favorite was Dread Pirate Robert’s Bloody Red Wine (where did this name come from?). It was a nice full-bodied, dry red blend. Looks like they offer some interesting events at the winery, including a series of wine-making classes, winemaker dinners and monthly potluck dinners and jam sessions.
Hutton Vineyards of Rockford had a very nice Cabernet Franc and Barbera. From the winery’s website, the Barbera is described as a “fine, estate grown and produced, medium bodied red wine develops subtle aromas of blackberry and chocolate, so reminiscent of the Yadkin Valley Region. It is round and rich on the palate.” Nice complex qualities.
Starrlight Meade of Pittsboro is a place I’ve visited before, but Kyle had never tasted mead – honey wine – so we stopped here as well. The blackberry flavored and sweet traditional meads are a real treat, but I think my favorite may be apple spiced mead, which would be a great winter holiday drink, hot or cold.
Discovered a couple of wineries with interesting tourism possibilities as well:
Autumn Creek Vineyards, Mayoden, rents cabins for one or two couples.
Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery of Boonville includes an organic farm and restaurant with “seasonally influenced menus crafted around locally sources ingredients, included the vegetables and herbs from our own certified organic farm.” A friend says this is a great place to dine!
Overall, the festival is a friendly event: Small canopies and coolers permitted, free parking, a pick-up tent for your purchases, good music all day, a variety of food and craft vendors. (We enjoyed barbecue sandwiches from Bib’s in Winston-Salem.)
So if you go next year, arrive early, with plenty of water, and stay late. I’m going to have to start “gifting” all the wine glasses I’ve picked up lately.
See more photos from the NC Wine Festival on Flickr