Bob and I went north about 3 hours into NC to the Yadkin Valley. I know this is only the first of many trips to this area and another one a little more east of here.
The federal government approved the Yadkin Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA), effective February 7, 2003 and just this last May 2008 added Swan Creek as a seperate area. There are a couple dozen wineries within quite close driving distance. http://www.yvwt.com/ and this for all NC wineries http://www.visitnc.com/. The weather was beautiful and we had a wonderful time. The country looked much like the California wine country but greener. Most of the wineries were very new and the wines are usually not available outside NC so we started our collection. Most are small but there are at least three larger ones. We visited several small ones and one larger one. They make all sorts of wine including to wineries who specialize in Italian wines and one that does some German wine. There is even one, not in Yadkin Valley but not to far away, that is owned by NASCAR driver Richard Childress http://www.childressvineyards.com/home.asp.
Here are a few facts I found interesting. Yadkin county is a dry county. Don’t ask me how they can make and sell wine in a dry county. North Carolina was the leading producer of wine until prohibition and is now number 10 in the nation. Once prohibition started the focus went off wine and switched to the harder brews (moonshine). Remember my previous post on Dark Corner? The story goes that when the G Men started coming into NC there cars, it led to high speed chases int he mountains and here is where NASCAR was born.
To keep you from laying awake like I did, here is the list of the top ten wine producing states..
•At 2.18 billion liters, California accounted for 89.25 percent, followed by
•New York with 106.8 million liters (4.37 percent),
• Washington with 75.9 million liters (3.11 percent),
•Oregon with 15.6 million liters (0.64 percent),
• Florida with 6.6 million liters (0.27 percent),
•New Jersey with 6.3 million liters (0.26 percent),
•Kentucky with 4.7 million liters (0.19 percent),
•Ohio with 4.2 million liters (0.18 percent),
•Virginia with 3.7 million liters (0.15 percent), and
•North Carolina with 3.5 million liters (0.14 percent).
These two photos are from Raffaldini Vineyard, one of the larger ones. It is gorgeous on a hill with an incredible view. They do Italian wines. We bought a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers and had a relaxing lunch by a big fountain. Visit their web site to get the full story on this impressive place. Mr. Raffaldini was quite involved in Swan Creek recently getting their AVA qualification. http://www.raffaldini.com/
These next photos are various wineries and tasting rooms.
Daveste. We bought a couple bottles of wine here and shared a wine tasting because it was only 10 a.m.
Laural Gray. Laural Gray was so charming. We bought lots of wine and gifts here.
There is also a small Amish store in this area that was doing a fantastic business.