There are ample vineyards in North Carolina to satisfy every sipping need for a holiday weekend and throughout the summer. Here are three low-key wineries to get started — suggestions for sips and snacks included.
Elkin Creek Vineyard
318 Elkin Creek Mill Rd., Elkin, NC, 28621
This cheerful vineyard stretches across the site of a historic grist mill that was constructed in 1896 and is still visible on the property today. Opt for a getaway in one of the four cabins with modern amenities like kitchens and soaking tubs, or simply escape with a glass of wine in the winery. The winery has views of The Big Elkin Creek and the Elkin Creek Mill, and the vineyards carry four grape-filled acres for merlot, sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon. Red wine lovers, rejoice.
Specials today! Hard-wood Smoked Pulled pork, Mac and Cheese, Caramelized Onions with a bit of BBQ sauce. Smells divine! Pairs perfectly with our 2015 Chambourcin. Also thrilled to have local organic greens from @foothillsnaturefarm! Get it while supplies last #elkincreekvineyard #ncwine #yadkinvalleync #yadkinvalleyava #brickovenpizza #pizzaand wine
Spring/summer sipping suggestions from the staff: Start with the Soft White 2017 vintage made from Niagara grapes. It’s fruity on the nose with a dry finish. Then venture into the reds with the red chambourcin 2015, made with a French-American hybrid grape. This red has fruit and chocolate notes, soft tannins, and potential to pair nicely with smoked meats and pulled chicken (Hello, barbecue season).
The element of food: The vineyard has a kitchen onsite that hosts made-to-order, brick-oven pizzas on Sundays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with the wine beginning to flow at noon. The pizza dough is made weekly, and guests can call to reserve their dough balls in advance. Try a signature pizza like the Bacon Brie with sauteed garlic spinach, caramelized onions, bacon and brie cheese; or aim for an antipasti plate (available Thursdays-Sundays) with Italian meats and cheeses, olives, mini quiche, chocolate, fruit and artisan sourdough bread with Greek olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Fun fact: The sourdough starter was passed down to the owners and has been going for more than 40 years.
301 Bay St., Monroe, NC, 28112
For a breath of fresh air away from the city, park the car on this sprawling farm that’s been family owned for 200 years. Rent a treehouse by the hour for a hangout or overnight for a retreat, or keep it casual with one of the daily wine tastings and tours. The land features six varieties of muscadine grapes across eight acres, and the vineyard also brings in juice, mostly from the Yadkin Valley, to diversify the wine offerings. Tastings are $8 and feature a flight of dry and sweet wines.
Spring/summer sipping suggestions from the staff: Indulge in the Liquid Sunshine, a dry sauvignon blanc blend that is light, crisp and refreshing. Red lovers can try the Sunset Hills, the No. 1 seller that is described as sangria-esque in flavor and transcends all seasons. Also worth trying: The WinoRita, a wine slushy made to order based on varietal preference.
The element of food: While sipping, nibble on a limited supply of snacks like gourmet Boar’s Head and pimento cheeses, dips and crackers. Visitors can also pack their own picnics or look out for food trucks that frequent the farm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Uwharrie Vineyards & Winery
28030 Austin Rd., Albemarle, NC, 28001
What could be better than being surrounded by 75 acres of grape vines like muscadines and scuppernongs while cozying up to a tasting bar? Uwharrie also imports grape types like cabernet, merlot, pinot noir, riesling, and chardonnay to the 14,000-square-foot facility to craft a diverse array of wine selections. Sit back with a tasting session of 15 wines that’s only $5 and includes crackers. Chip in $3 extra to keep the tasting glass (always worth the souvenir).
Spring/summer sipping suggestions from the staff: Reach for the dry Riesling for a white preference and a softer mouth-feel, the pinot noir for red drinkers seeking a dry finish, or the blackberry wine made with 100-percent fresh blackberries for fruit fanatics.
The element of food: Polish off the tasting with a turkey, cracker and cheese basket, or browse other snack options from salsas to chips, to soft drinks. A beer selection is available as well — but come for the wine.