Last month we took a few days between Christmas and New Year's to visit the Yadkin Valley area. We are closing in on having visited every winery in the area. On this trip, we were able to visit two new wineries.
Our trip started with a visit to Windsor Run Cellars. We took a picnic lunch and enjoyed a tasting. They offer a wine flight of 4-2 oz. pours and souvenir glass for $15. Lisa, our host, led us through our tasting. She was knowledgeable and a pleasure to discuss the wine with. Windsor Run is owned by the same owners of Shadow Springs, Chuck and Jamey Johnson. Shadow Springs is an amazing winery in its own right. They are more focused whereas Windsor Run experiments more with blending and producing seasonal wines. Each person in our group chose different wines and we shared among ourselves. Their wine menu is extensive offering something for every wine taste. The Yadkin Five stood out. It is a white wine blend of grapes from 5 different Yadkin Valley vineyards. The blend consists of Vilvin Muscat from Windsor Run, Seyval Blanc from Shadow Springs, Riesling from Dobbins Creek, Traminette from Ferguson Vineyards, and Pinot Grigio from Dynamis. We also did a side-by-side tasting of Midnight Run and the 2012 Midnight Run GRAND RESERVE, winner in the North Carolina Fine Wine Competition. We brought home a bottle of both stand-out wines. They also serve mulled wine, sangria, and mead. This first visit to Windsor Run was a great start to our trip. Check out their website.
Our next stop was to see Michael and Amy Helton of Hanover Park. They have recently decided to sell the property and we wanted a chance to say goodbye. Amy was one of the first people who welcomed us into the North Carolina wine industry. We enjoyed a wine flight of 4 wines. Everyone enjoyed the 2017 vintage of 1897. It is a great wine that showcases what can be grown and bottled in this area of the Yadkin Valley. We tried the newest vintage of Michael’s Blend. It is a blend of 5 red wine grapes. Amy sat down with us and we talked through our tasting and we learned so much about pairing wine and food from her. It is nice to know that Nikki, the tasting room host will be staying on with the new owners. We brought home bottles of both Michael's and Amy’s blends. They also make Vin D’Orange, a fortified dessert wine. We have substituted it instead of water in a pound cake recipe. Amy told us how she uses it in her Manhattan. We will miss Michael and Amy but look forward to seeing what the new owners accomplish with the property. Check out their website for upcoming changes.
Our final stop for the day was to visit our friends, Chad and Crista at Golden Road Vineyards. It was close to closing time and Chad was manning the bar. A bowl game was playing on the TV of which he had an interest. We first met Chad and Crista shortly after they opened the tasting room in 2019. Crista has been a huge help in our attempt to promote the North Carolina wine industry. We bought a bottle of the Petit Manseng and watched the rest of the game. All the while catching up with each other. Golden Road is one of the most welcoming tasting rooms we have visited. We picked up a bottle of their sparkling wine, Emergency Blow for our New Year’s Day Brunch. Charles is partial to their Eclipse and Midnight. Click here for the upcoming events.
We also were the first people to stay at their brand new 2 bedroom cabin on the property. Wine Way Cottages are two cabins (a 2 bedroom and a 1 bedroom) built by Margie and Cleve Storey. The cabins are surrounded by the vineyard and a creek at the back of the property. They have created a cozy, beautifully decorated cabin that is the perfect getaway for 2 couples. The open kitchen and living room are ideal for making dinner while sipping wine. The kitchen is fully stocked with appliances, pots, pans, and utensils you might need to prepare a meal. We cooked breakfast each morning. Weather permitting, you can sit on the back deck and enjoy an amazing sunset. I particularly enjoyed my morning coffee on the deck. If you are looking for a place to stay this is the perfect option. It’s just a short walk from the tasting room and the outdoor fire pits. Margie and Cleve have created a home away from home. The beds and linens are plush. They have included so many professional details from commissioned artwork to accent pieces. Reserve your stay here.
After a great night’s sleep, we were off to explore downtown Mt. Airy. Downtown was alive with tourists and residents alike. Growing up in Mt. Airy I can say that the downtown area has changed quite a bit. Some shops that stood out were Bear Creek Candy and Welcome Home Decor and Gifts. Before lunch, we enjoyed a tasting at Old North State Winery. Old North State is an urban winery located downtown with the vineyard being just a few miles away. We each enjoyed 3 Fish Hippie ½ glass pours. It was an ample wine sample to share. My stand-out wine was the Bare Bones White blend. It drank like a Chardonnay. The “red” people at the table liked the Restless Soul. It was the perfect blend of Malbec, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon. After our tasting, we met my brother’s family for lunch. The food at Old North State is outstanding. We started out with fried green tomatoes and our entree was the soup, salad, and sandwich combination. Others at our table ordered the Maryland Style Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. Our server was friendly and able to pair each entree with a wine if so desired. Click here to make a reservation or for the menu.
After lunch, we said goodbye to my brother and his family and we headed to Stony Knoll Vineyards. Most owners of family-owned vineyards are extremely willing to talk about their wine and winemaking process. Jonah, winemaker of Stony Knoll is no different. It had been a couple of years since we had visited them. His mother, Holly, runs the tasting room and is a pleasure to talk with. As we made our way through our tasting Jonah pulled up a chair and joined us. It is fascinating to listen to farmers and winemakers discuss how they have to prepare, compensate for, and accept Mother Nature. Stony Knoll has made available the 2022 Corot Noir in the tasting. This is the first vintage of this grape that Jonah has been growing for 3 years. This was our first tasting of this new hybrid grape. Stony Knoll is one of a few other wineries in North Carolina that grow this variety. Someone once asked us who makes good Chambourcin. We immediately told them, Stony Knoll. Jonah told us that Chambourcin is the most consistent grape variety he grows. The afternoon got away from all of us and before we knew it, it was time to go. We had the pleasure of enjoying the last bottle of Viognier that was for sale. Jonah assured us, along with a lot of other people, that he will be bottling again soon. Check out their website regarding new releases.
We were in for a treat for dinner. Crista and Chad invited us to eat with them and their team. Chad prepared pork belly and salmon. It was a fun evening hanging out with the Golden Road team and hearing a particularly funny wasp story. We had to say goodbye too soon. This trip was amazing and it was fun to catch up with friends and meet so many new wine lovers.