Wednesday, August 30, 2017

NC Wine Month Kickoff Event -- Childress Vineyards

September is North Carolina Wine & Grape Month, and the Governor of North Carolina was on hand to sign the proclamation. We were thrilled to be in attendance for the kickoff event held at Childress Vineyards.

The event brought together media and bloggers, state officials, and winery representatives in order to better know and understand how to promote the blossoming North Carolina Wine industry. Eleven wineries and two meadery were featured. Each brought a signature wine or mead for each table to taste.

We were elated to meet some fellow bloggers, such as Joe & Matt - The Wine Guys and Bob & Jen from Wine Carolinas.  Joe and Matt put a lot of hard work into hosting this event at Childress.  We were also thrilled to meet so many others associated with the different vineyards and wineries participating. It amazes me how much work goes into growing the grapes and making good wine.  An old industry joke is that the secret to making a small fortune in the winery business is to start with a large fortune. We are so thankful for all that are striving each day to make good wine, allowing us to enjoy the benefits of their hard work. We'll continue to blog and do our best to be their brand ambassadors.

A fact sheet was handed out as part of our package. Some key NC Wine Industry facts;

- North Carolina is home to nearly 186 wineries.
- 1.1 million cases per year are produced, ranking NC 11th in the U.S.
- Duplin Winery, the largest and oldest in the state, in the world's largest producer of muscadine wine.
- Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the U.S.

I cannot stress just how much fun we have visiting North Carolina wineries. Jenni and I have to date visited 78 of the 186 in North Carolina, leaving us over 100 still to visit. Let the fun commence. Get out in September and visit a North Carolina winery. Drop me a note if we can offfer suggestions.

Happy Weekend Wining!


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The weekend

So for those of you who follow me on Facebook, I promised you a blog so here we go.

Saturday we took off to Hayesville, NC to Eagle Fork Vineyards.It was well worth the drive! We enjoyed several of the wines and brought a bottle of their Classic Chambourchin home. We also enjoyed a glass each of their wine slushy in their gazaboo. It is one of the very few slushies I can have as it does not have any fruit juice in it. Most of the vines are not on the property where the tasting room is. In fact back in May, Dennis & I had attempted to go to this same winery when we were in Highlands and the vinowine app had the old address of the tasting room. They moved the tasting room to it's current location about 2 years ago. Laura, who poured our tasting, was super sweet and very accommodating to us. We enjoyed several of their wines but had to make a choice as to what to take home.

We left there and headed to Nottely River Valley Vineyards. To say we had a good time there would be a serious understatement! The owners, Steve and Karen were very sweet and a lot of fun! We meet some wonderful people who allowed us to share in their birthday party. There were also 6 late 20 something ladies who were also a delight to talk too. Dennis and I shared a bottle of their Strawberry Wine and brought home a bottle of their Peach. I included the picture of the wanted grape stompers sign just because I thought it was funny!

Sunday we stayed close to home and went back to Burntshirt Vineyard. This winery will always be special to us for a couple of reasons. One it is the first winery/vineyard Dennis & I went to together and it is also where he proposed. They have several wines that we enjoy, but on Sunday, we enjoyed a bottle of their Sunset Sippin. The atmosphere is so nice and they have live music on Sundays. And we met a new "friend" Sunday.

We left there and headed towards home and stopped by Russian Chapel Hills that is in the Green Creek area of NC. Andrey and his wife are so sweet! The 3 dogs are always there to greet us when we get there! They are so sweet and just love the attention they get from us. Their names are Leila, Bernard and Skif (that's the order of the pictures below).

We each had a glass of his blush. Usually we get either the Chamourchin or the Mosaic, but since we had had a white earlier in the day we went with the Rosé. The vines are loaded with grapes ready for harvest.

This is a fun small little winery that a lot of people don't know about. There's a part of me that wants to keep it that way as we enjoy the tranquility there, but a much larger part of me wants to see them thrive. So I am telling all of you if you are in that area or just want to short drive, head that way.

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Notes from Dennis Below:

Thought I'd jump right in on Jenni's blog post and post a few of my own thoughts and pics.  Eagle Fork was nice. We sat under the gazebo and just chilled on the hanging swing as we sipped on our wine slushies.

We tasted Chambourchin grapes freshly picked form right off the vine. These are full of juice and ready for harvest.

Snapped this picture of the front sign as we were leaving.

Nottely River Valley Vineyards was indeed really tranquil. The view from their tasting room is of three states, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. We had so much fun making friends as we enjoyed a bottle of Strawberry Wine under their covered patio.

On the way back Saturday evening we stopped and played along the banks of the Natahala River.

As Jenni mentioned, Burntshirt is one of our favorites, they were very busy this Sunday. The weather was nice for sitting outside and a really good cover band was playing.

Stopping at Russian Chapel Hills on our way home is somewhat of a tradition for us. Looking at the grapes on the vines at Russian, leads me to believe it's going to be a good year for wine in the region.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Website is Live and Find us on Social Media

Update October 11th, 2017  -- Our first month of having the blog and website both online, we had over 3,700 page views.
Our second month we are on schedule to go well beyond those numbers. Jenni and I are very excited at the reception and encouragement we have received. The next year will include for us a trip to the Finger Lakes wine region and hopefully a trip out West will soon follow. Please do not hesitate to provide feedback or recommend any wineries or other points of interest. Our hope is to continue the growth allowing us to continue our efforts to promote fun at local wineries.

A quick mention - find us on social media.

Facebook --  Jenni Mitchell Turner

Twitter --  @WineryEscapades

Instagram -- Winery Escapades

Also --- Website is live. Yay!

Happy Weekend Wining!


Friday, August 25, 2017

Eclipse at CityScape Winery

Monday Dennis and I went to the Eclipse Event that CityScape Winery held. 3 food trucks, 3 outside wine bars, plus the inside one for purchasing bottles. 3 different music acts. To say we had a good time would be a gross understatement. Josh and Deb sure know how to pull off great events! Thanks you guys for a spectacular day!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Things We Love About NC Wineries

It's safe to say our hobby has turned into an obsession. What started as a way to spend time together, has turned into a way of life.

I love that Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville was the first winery we visited together. It was also where I proposed. Love sitting under their portico, enjoying the Meritage.

Love the Hissy Fit and the Bless Your Heart at Cabo Winery.

Love the million dollar views at Raffaldini and Piccione in Ronda, and Silver Fork in Morganton, and Fontaine Vineyards in Leciester (Asheville).

Love the gorgeous grounds and world class dining at Shelton Vineyards.

Love relaxing on the beautiful patio at Jones von Drehle Vineyards.

Love that Brandon Hills Vineyards has reopened. Yay!

Love tasting out of the French tasting cups at Fontaine Vineyards near Asheville.

Love brick oven pizza Sundays at Parker Binns.

Love Friday night concerts at Daveste Vineyards.

Love that overnight accomodations are available in a treehouse at Treehouse Vineyards.

Love that Duplin Winery is the largest muscadine only winery in the USA.

Love that Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the country.

Love that Belle Nicho is "unpretentious."

Love the llamas at Divine Llama.

Love the music on a Saturday (and beer) at West Bend Winery and Brewery. 

Love the Killer Bee spirits from the distillery at Windsor Run Cellars

Love Fish Hippie at Old North State Winery. 

Love love love the Yadkin Valley!

Love the "five" in the Columbus- Tryon area - Parker Binns, Green Creek, OverMountain, Mountain Brook, and Russian Chapel Hills.

Love the Bordeaux style at South Creek Vineyards.

Love shopping for antiques at Lake James Cellars.

Love the 2008 Chambourcin at Misty Creek Farm and Vineyards

Love the bourbon barrel aged Cab Sauv at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards.

Love the Violin concerts at Adagio Vineyards.

Love hearing the Priest play the traditional bells at Russian Chapel Hills

Love the listening to the river while enjoying a glass on the porch at Roaring River Vineyards

Love the view of Pilot Mountain at JOLO Winery and Vineyards. 

Love viewing the hummingbirds from the deck at MountainBrook....and especially our own hilarious inside joke from our first visit.

Love the Nascar themes and memorabilia at Childress Vineyards.

Love Sunday afternoons enjoying a glass on the patio at Owl's Eye Vineyards while listening to the live piano music of  our friend Alex Davis. 

Love that even though we have visited almost 80 NC wineries there remain over 100 plus North Carolina wineries for us still to visit, and more opening each year.

Happy weekend wining!

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Belle Nicho Winery - Nebo, NC

Saturday August 19, 2017 - We left South Creek and headed to Belle Nicho Winery at Howling Dog Farm. This winery is special to me, it is no doubt one of my favorites. The wines are offered at very reasonable prices and range from dry to semi-sweet along with the Sweet Dog Red, a blend of Chambourchin and Cab Franc.

A true small Farmstead winery, Janet & Bridget have created something special with this small craft winery. Both sat and chatted with us as we did our tasting, even offered us some fresh corn to take home. This is not one of the more commercialized wineries, they make you feel welcome. A nice, but small sitting area awaits just outside the back side tasting room. The vineyard consist of small patches of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Cynthiana, Isabelle, and Seyval Blanc grapes. "Unpretentious" is how their website describes a tasting at Belle Nicho. I would concur. My favorites, though I like them all, was the Chambourchin, Traminette, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Rosé (Cab Franc). One thing we noticed were the solar panels. They are strong supporters of alternative energy and use only organic practices in their own vineyard. They are purchasing some grapes from other vineyards to supplement their own harvest. This one is a strong recommendation from me.  Happy weekend wining!


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Introduction to North Carolina Wine - NC Wine Guys Blog Post

I was researching on the internet and came across this blog post from  Their Introduction to North Carolina Wine titled blog post is a good place to start for anyone just discovering North Carolina wine or even for those of us seeking further information. There are an estimated 190+ wineries currently open in North Carolina. To learn more, read the post on the NC Wine Guys blog.

While we're at it, there is also further information on the visitnc website.  I would further recommend taking a look at the NC Wine Growers Associations website.

Don't forget to keep an eye out for our new blog post. We'll do our best to keep you advised on our weekend wine escapades. Happy weekend wining!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

South Creek Vineyards & Winery - Nebo (Morganton), NC

Saturday August 19, 2017 - Jenni and I visited the Morganton area and our first stop was South Creek Vineyards and Winery. 

A Bordeaux style winery, owner James Rowley shared with us tales of a recent visit to several French Bordeaux Vineyards. A learning experience to ensure their wines are living up to the standard. 

Highly recommend a full tasting, costing $10. Each wine should be experienced and you're certain to find one to your liking. My favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon and I also enjoyed the Cabernet Franc. Trust me, I'm a true Cab Sauv Snob, and this one is good. 

 The winery has a nice shaded patio, where we enjoyed a glass while listening to the smooth sounds of singer, songwriter, storyteller, and musician Thomas Aaron Garlow.

We chatted with Dana Kendall, owner/executive driver of Asheville Premier Transportation. She had chauffeured a large bridal party in for a tasting.

South Creek is well worth a visit, a little slice of Southern France in Nebo. Happy weekend Wining!  Dennis

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Old Rock Quarry Winery

So kind of on a whim Dennis & I decided to go to Old Rock Quarry Winery. Best decision ever! We met Debbie & Lindy Glidden. Sadly for us, the other owner, Linda, wasn't there. We laughed, shared & tasted wine. She told us a story about Grapa from Germany that was also too spicy to drink. At the end of our tasting she asked which of their wines was our Grapa. We told her none! They have mostly sweet wines but we loved them all! A bottle of their Plum Crazy & one of the Snap Apple Sassy came home to the Turner wine collection. This is one that we will visit many more times!

Update: 9/8/2017 from Jenni:

We started our weekend with a second visit to Old Rock Quarry in Enoree after dinner since they're open until 8 of Friday and Saturday. While the attached picture is not so flattering of me, I wanted you to "meet" the two lovely ladies that own the winery, Debbie and Linda. To say we love these 2 ladies would be an understatement. They are so funny and sweet! I would encourage all of you to make the drive (short from Spartanburg, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Clinton and Columbia) to see these two. We shared a bottle of their peach, brought a bottle of that and a bottle of their Snap Apple Sassy home.

Now that the weather is cooler, Old Rock quarry has a really cool gas fire pit to help keep warm. The tables are made from wooden large cable spools and have a cut out in the center for the ice bucket to keep your bottle chilled. All makes for a really nice evening experience.

Happy Weekend Wining!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Douglas Vineyards, Kannapolis NC

Finishing up this past Saturday, August 12th, 2017, we all headed over to Douglas Vineyards   We'll really fond of Douglas Vineyards, a true family owned small farm vineyard.  This was our second time visiting, we were glad to see that they were very busy. The first time we visited, it was late and not as busy. The owners have a beautiful lab, and he was jumping up with his front paws on the bar as if to say, "hey what about me?"  We were able to find a really good groupon, to include tastings, souvenir glass, and one bottle of wine, so look for it.  Douglas is growing muscadine on site, and are also making some good fruit wines.  My favorites were the Blush, which is semi-dry, the Apple Sauce, the Starting Point (Strawberry), and the Just Peachy.  A bottle of the Apple Sauce came home with us.  The winery has a beautiful porch with tables, and some nice adirondack chairs scattered about under some shade trees. A very relaxing place to sit and enjoy a bottle with friends.  Loved this note from their website, "when you visit the “D” you are not just indulging in some delicious wine, you are becoming a member of our family."

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cougar Run Winery, Concord, N.C.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017. Jenni. I, and our friends left CABO and headed over to Cougar Run Winery  a few blocks from downtown in Concord. Cougar Run is again an urban winery. Cougar has more the feel of a local tavern, allowing the opportunity to sit around the bar. I noticed Cougar also had a large event room. Reading on the website, the proprietors sound so much like us. They attended a wine festival, fell in love the idea of making their own, and turned a hobby into a business. Our wine server was a lot of fun and the whole place has the feel of a friendly neighborhood tavern.  As to the wines,  I liked the Gentle Spirit (Bergamais), the Predator (Merlot), and the Blue Ridge Road Trip, a good red blend. However, the star of this tasting, and the bottle which went home with us, is the Telling Secrets, a Peach Chardonnay.  Happy Weekend Wining! #NCWine

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Finding Common Ground Over A Glass

The differences between our members at our small Episcopal church has me thinking a lot lately. Our small church is extremely active in our ...