Rainy day wine tour and grape picking

Rain falls outside the Southpoint tasting room.

Fall is a great time to visit vineyards and wineries, when the grape harvests are underway. So we set out one September weekend to see some local vineyards, while the grapes were still on the vines. With rain clouds chasing us throughout the afternoon, we only got into the vineyards briefly, but still had the chance to drink some good wine.

We packed a picnic of cheeses, crackers, fruits and chocolate to pair with wines, but no sooner had we stepped out of the car at the Vineyards at Southpoint near Durham than the bottom dropped out. It was almost a repeat of the last time I visited in this winery March, when it rained. So I still haven’t had the chance to enjoy food and wine while sitting on the deck overlooking the pond.

But our pourer that day was nice enough to let us into the “wine cellar tasting room” with our picnic that we enjoyed with a glass of Chardonnay (me) and a Cabernet Franc for my husband.

No chance to visit the vineyards here, but our pourer told us that the Southpoint Vineyards had lost most of the grapes to hungry deer. So there wasn’t really anything to see there. But this would be a great destination on a fall day, with the wonderful deck and picnic tables in an oak grove near the vines to enjoy

Benjamin Vineyards

Families pick muscadines at Benjamin Vineyards.

Undeterred by the weather, we set the GPS for Benjamin Vineyards near Saxapahaw, and when we got there, the sun was out. It was a humid Sunday afternoon, but that didn’t discourage a number of families who were making their way through the muscadine vineyards picking grapes.

Benjamin Vineyards is one of many North Carolina vineyards that offer pick-your-own muscadines in the fall. If you enjoy these sweet, native grapes, look for a vineyard near you offering you-pick muscadines.

Here, I got a glass of the Benjamin Norton, a nice, peppery red wine, with a little more fruit and cheese. And here we had a chance to visit the vineyards, though the wine grapes were wrapped tight in netting to keep deer away. We also saw hop bines that Benjamin planted this year. Some of them did well, and we managed to get a few photos.

North Carolina vineyards soon will be wrapping up their harvests this fall. With more than 100 wineries in the state, there’s bound to be one near you. Get out and visit while there’s still so much to see!

For more on picking grapes at Benjamin Vineyards and Winery, visit them on Facebook.

Wine grapes mature at Benjamin Vineyards.
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2 thoughts on “Rainy day wine tour and grape picking

  1. A similar experience happened to me once. My destination was the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Just before leaving home, “the bottom dropped out”. While deciding whether to go ahead with my plans, what look to be the storm to end all storms became within a centimeter of me changing my mind to continue the trip. Ultimately, it turned out to be a beautiful day on the parkway. The moral to the story is as in your wineries and vineyards experience, persistence does payoff. I love this story and hope I can visit some of these fine wineries and vineyards you write about in Tarheel Taps & Corks to experience the beauty they provide one day soon.

  2. Pingback: So much to do in 2012; more to come in 2013 | Tarheel Taps & Corks

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