The United States has a number of wine regions, but few are within the Southern United States. North Carolina is one of the handful with a designated American Viticultural Area, earning its title in 2003. The Yadkin Valley is made up of eight counties in the northwestern area of the state.
It’s a short drive from Winston-Salem and includes towns like Yadkinville, Mt. Airy, and Wilkesboro. Dozens of tasting rooms are open to the public, offering locally produced wines and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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Wineries to Visit
There are 70 wineries and counting in this region so it’s hard to visit them all. The fields that formerly held tobacco have been transformed for new products.
Muscadine grapes grow well in this particular climate but so do traditional grapes like Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Each winery specializes in something different and the majority offer behind-the-scenes tours.
Limit yourself to a handful determined by region. Don’t miss Shelton Vineyards, a pioneering winery in Dobson that led the charge to the Yadkin Valley’s AVA designation. Sample the award-winning riesling and cabernet sauvignon. They have tours and tastings, a restaurant, and an onsite hotel. Nearby is Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery and McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks.
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery in Ronda has incredible views in an Italian-style villa. They have vineyard tours and tastings of their lineup including the Montepulciano and Sangiovese. They sell Italian charcuterie and cheeses and also have food trucks. Piccione Vineyards and Laurel Gray Vineyards are a short drive away.
Childress Vineyards in Lexington is owned by Nascar legend Richard Childress and has a petit verdot and muscadine wines. They also have their own bistro and offer tours and tastings.
Other Experiences in the Yadkin Valley
There’s more to the Yadkin Valley than just wine. If you’re traveling with non-drinkers, there are activities in the area. Horseback riding and fly fishing are popular options.
In Mt. Airy, dine at Snappy Lunch or Old North State Winery. Visit the Mt. Airy Museum of Regional History and the Andy Griffith Museum. If time allows, go on a police cruiser tour or catch live music at the Earle Theatre. Lexington is home to legendary barbecue so start at Lexington Barbecue.
The Wilkes Heritage Museum informs visitors on the history of Wilkesboro, including the famous Merlefest music festival. Call Family Distillers is one of many distilleries and breweries in the valley.