Southern hospitality, breathtaking scenery, and a full spectrum of quality wines are the hallmarks of wine tasting in North Carolina. The state boasts 185 wineries and 525 vineyards stretching from the Atlantic coast to the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Tar Heel State’s most acclaimed wine region is Yadkin Valley, the first American Viticultural Region established in North Carolina. Moderate elevations and the proximity to the Yadkin River equal prime growing conditions for a variety of grapes. There are dozens of wineries in close proximity, making it an ideal location for your wine tasting in North Carolina.
The Best Yadkin Valley Wine Tours & Wineries
Take a look at our top picks for the best wine tasting in North Carolina.
Located on top of a hill overlooking a 100-year-old mill and a rushing creek, this winery offers natural beauty and a peaceful setting to enjoy a range of wines to suit all palates. The flagship wine is Rossa, a Bordeaux-style red blend. We’re partial to the Dornfelder, a German grape that has just a touch of sweetness. Another popular wine is the Vin Doux, a port-style dessert wine fortified with brandy.
On Sundays Elkin Creek serves up its famous brick-oven pizza. Located in Elkin, the winery is just a few minutes from the Carter Falls hiking trail.
Pick up one of our wine carriers for your next wine tour through Yadkin Valley!
Jones Von Drehle Vineyards and Winery – Thurmond
At about 1,600 feet, Jones Von Drehle winery sits at the highest elevation in North Carolina’s famed Yadkin Valley. The reputation of the winery, which crafts wines from its 30 acres of estate vines, is also gaining altitude.
The tasting room sits on a hillside overlooking the estate vineyards. Inside the tasting facility is a first-class operation with a spacious bar, numerous tables, and a light, airy feel. Just outside is a seating area to enjoy your wine while feasting your eyes on the scenic view. Every wine in the lineup is a winner, but we suggest the Petit Manseng (a white grape originally from Southwest France) and Steel and Stone, a luscious red blend of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks – Thurmond
Sean McRitchie’s skills and experience were honed at wineries in some of the world’s top wine regions: Alsace, Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, and Australia. After years of growing grapes and making wine for others, he and his wife opened their own winery in 2006. Today he focuses on European-style estate wines with a dry finish.
Apples grow well in North Carolina and Sean noticed an unfilled niche. McRitchie became the first hard cider producer in the state. He produces dry and semi-sweet cider, each lightly carbonated. Our wine picks include Ring of Fire, a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot blend, and Fallingwater White, a Traminette blend.
North Carolina is also featured on our list of the best places for wine tasting near me!
Piccione Vineyards – Ronda
Piccione Vineyards has a wine history with roots in Sicily stretching back to the early 1900s. It’s a scenic outpost of wine excellence in North Carolina’s wine country. The Piccione hillside location has a commanding view of vineyards and farmland stretching to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. The outdoor patio makes you feel like you’re sitting on top of the world.
Bill Piccione founded the winery in 2010, but never forgot his grandfather’s homemade winery with a hand press, oak barrels, and manual bottling machine. Piccione grows eight grape varieties with an emphasis on Italian grapes that thrive in the North Carolina climate. Our favorite picks are both red, the Sangiovese, and the L’Ottimo, a Super Tuscan style wine with Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Montepulciano.
Raffaldini Vineyards – Ronda
The Raffaldini tasting room is situated in a striking villa that would look right at home in Tuscany. Walking to the tasting room visitors are struck by the scenic surroundings. Perched on a hill overlooking sloped hillside vineyards, Raffaldini’s tasting room and large terrace have a panoramic view of rolling fields and the silhouette of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tasting room is first-rate, decorated in Tuscan yellow and dark wood.
Raffaldini is known for producing Italian-style dry white wines and red appassimento wines. Appassimento is the process of drying the grapes before fermentation to create deep, concentrated flavors. The Sangiovese is some of the best we’ve had in the US. For your tasting enjoyment, check out the Grande Riserva, a blend of Montepulciano, Petit Verdot, and Sagrantino grapes, and the Auguri sparkling wine.
Serre Vineyard is located on 70 acres of farmland at more than 1,300 feet in elevation with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 30,000 square foot tasting barn is built in the modern farmhouse style with European accents. Be sure to check out the best spot at the winery: comfortable Adirondack chairs with views of the mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Cumberland Knob.
The winery opened in 2020 and is well on its way to becoming a North Carolina favorite. It features live music and other special events. Our favorites include Knockout Rosé, which is made with Sangiovese in a frizzante style with light bubbles. The Early Blend is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and a splash of Barbera.
You can also take a tour through the AVA’s and wine trails of North Carolina here. Which winery are you heading to first?
A little more about our Guest Author
Dave Nershi is the publisher of the Vino-Sphere wine blog. A former newspaper and magazine editor, Dave is an award-winning writer with a focus on wines, wineries, and related travel. Currently based in North Carolina, he travels extensively for stories (South Africa, British Columbia, Spain, and even locations closer to home). He has authored more than 2,300 blog posts.
Vino-Sphere was selected as a 2020 Top 100 wine blog by Feedspot and Dave was named one of the Top 101 Wine Writers in the world by Corking Wines. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and has served as a wine judge at several competitions including being a guest judge for the Indianapolis International Wine Competition. He is a board member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. A certified specialist of wines from South Africa and Argentina, he is also a member of the Wine Century Club. When not writing, taking photos, or traveling, Dave enjoys playing tennis.