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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Grapes Galore

Posted February 23, 2006

State tourism officials this week sent me the latest brochure on North Carolina ‘s wine industry. I was blown away! Do you realize there are now 53 wineries and vineyards statewide. 53! The explosive growth is happening mostly in the Piedmont. Yadkin Valley around Winston-Salem now has 16 wineries. Yadkin has been designated North Carolina’s first viticultural area. Experts say this true river valley has a unique blend of climate and ancient soils that produce world class wines. So you don’t have to go to Napa Valley in California to visit some fine wineries. Tours and tastings can be a lot of fun. But be sure to call ahead to confirm hours and tour times. Also, designate a driver.
Linda Cook, at Bouldin House Bed & Breakfast in Archdale near High Point, has developed a package unique among area B&Bs. She'll arrange for you to tour some area wineries, and she'll do the driving. Cook says she got the idea because she used to live in California's wine country and was scared to be on the roads on weekends, when many tourists had been sampling the offerings in wineries. "They didn't think they were drinking a lot because they only had small sips at each place," she says. "But they went to a lot of places."
Jim Pomeranz visited 14 wineries in two days and wrote an excellent article about his experiences, You can read Jim’s blog at: http://jimpomeranz.easyjournal.com/
Do you know the most visited winery in America? No, it’s not one of those California sites. It’s Biltmore in Asheville. Of course it helps to have the Biltmore Estates as part of the tour package. What winery claims to be the oldest and largest in the Southeast? Well, all you have to do is travel east of Raleigh to Rose Hill and tour Duplin Winery. Duplin is one of Valonda Calloway’s favorites.
I love some of the winery names. My favorite names include Chateau Laurinda, Ginger Creek, Moonrise Bay, RagApple Lassie, SilkHope, Teensy and Weathervane wineries. I hear very good things about Shelton Vineyards in Dobson. They have some great red wines.
For up-to-date information about these and the newest wineries check out the following website: www.visitncwine.com Let me know about your trips, tours and tastings! We will feature some of your favorites here on Tar Heel Traveler.
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Bill Leslie
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