Raleigh, NC Recreation - Wineries!
Did you know that there are 61 wineries in North Carolina?
If you thought wine touring was exclusive to California's Napa Valley, then get ready to experience another great agricultural adventure in central North Carolina, one of the best places to live!
The most popular winery in the entire United States is the Biltmore Estate Wine Company, which has over 1 million visitors each year. But there are many small, family run wineries throughout the state. Here are highlights on a few of them to get you started!
Haw River Wine Trail
The Haw River Wine Trail focuses on five artisan wineries located along the Haw River between Durham and Greensboro.
Benjamin Vineyards & Winery is near Eli Whitney, off Highway 87 just north of Pittsboro. Set in the quiet countryside off beautiful Hwy 87, this winery was started in 2002 and focuses on Muscadine grapes, but has 7 varieties of grapes in all. Wine Tastings Thursday through Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. 336-376-1080
Next in the tour is the Iron Gate Winery, northwest of Durham near Mebane. The Iron Gate winery has just released their first Reisling (a particular favorite of mine), and has fun activities like Murder Mystery Dinner Theater offerings. Wine Tastings Mon-Fri 10-7pm, Sat 10-6pm, Sun 1-6pm. 919-304-9463
Keep driving west and find the Glen Marie winery, a family focused winery established in 2000 with 23 varieties of French hybrid and American grapes. Just north of Haw River and west of Mebane, Glen Marie offers localized wines like blackberry, muscadine, and chambourcin, along with the well-known chardonney and sauvignon. Wine Tasting Thurs-Sun noon-6pm. $3.00 per person, includes souvenir wine glass. 336-578-3938
Continue up hwy 87 to Creek Side Winery, just north of Altamahaw. Creek Side was established in 2004, and boasts the largest tasting room on the Haw River Trail. The winery offers dry whites and reds, semi-sweets, and fruit wines. There are seasonal activities planned, like the Christmas free wine tasting event. Wine Tasting: Mon 12-6pm, Thu-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 1-6pm. 336-584-4117
The last winery on the Haw River Trail is the Grove Winery, only 4 miles from Creek Side. Grove's Strawberry wine won double gold awards at the NC State Fair, with a three-generation recipe. This is the largest winery on the trail, with 55 acres, and also the oldest of the five, established in 1993. Wine Tastings: Mon-Sat noon-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Find out more about the Haw River Wine Trail and these five wineries at http://www.hawriverwinetrail.com/.
But Wait - There's More!
Don't limit yourself to these five wineries - there's at least 56 more wineries in North Carolina to check out! Many are small and intimate, others are larger. Here's a few others in the same area:
The Silk Hope Winery is off Silk Hope Gum Springs Road between Hwy 87 and White Smith Road. The Silk Hope winery was established in 2000, and grows Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, Norton, Vidal Blanc, and Traminette grapes. Wine Tastings and tours offered Sat 10-5pm, Sun 12-5pm, or by appointment. 919-545-5696
Also in Chatham County, near Siler City, is the Horizon Cellars winery, which offers "beginner" or "advanced" tours that allow guests to help in the pruning, spraying, harvesting, and trellising processes. Wine Tastings and Tours: Mon, Thurs, Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-6pm. (919) 742-1404
If you enjoy wine, or just enjoy exploring North Carolina's beautiful countryside, check out some of the local wineries and chat with the talented people who work there.
Here's an interactive map of the wineries we've mentioned today!
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