NC Wine month concludes, but momentum can only build

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By Jennifer Primrose

It’s a wrap! 

N.C. Wine month 2017 is officially over, but that doesn’t mean planning those visits out to the wineries has to come to an end. We hope that as bloggers we were able to shine a light on the wine industry here in our state. After living here for over 20 years, I have indeed discovered love in wine, both abroad and here in the state I call home. It has been an interesting journey watching the wine industry evolve here in North Carolina. However, at least here in the Triangle, there is still work that needs to be done when it comes to highlighting these wines.

North Carolina has five AVAs, with a sixth one on its way. Stretching from the coast all the way to the western part of the state and encompassing approximately 180 wineries, it can be hard to keep up. As for us, we have now visited, at least, 75 wineries – three of which are now closed. From the mountains to the coast, the state also offers a range of wine styles from the sweet Muscadine or Scuppernong variety to the European-style, viniferous wines that can hold their own against even the best in California. Some of these wineries also produce craft beer, such as Westbend Winery & Brewery, Round Peak, and Morgan Ridge Vineyards & Brewhouse, while others are producing ciders, such as McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and the new kid on the block, Botanist and Barrel.

So, how did we celebrate N.C. Wine Month? We kicked it off at the inaugural N.C. Wine Month Kickoff event hosted by Childress Vineyards and N.C. Wine Guys – fellow bloggers. We were honored to be invited to this event, geared towards media, bloggers and the wine industry, where we heard Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, speak on the state of growth in the industry and announced that the State Fair, for the first time, will allow flights of craft beer and wine for purchase in the new Our State Public House.

Following Troxler, Gov. Roy Cooper spoke to the crowd and officially declared September as "N.C. Wine Month."

Governor Roy Cooper declares September N.C. Wine Month

Governor Roy Cooper declares September N.C. Wine Month

Next, came the speed tasting. Yes, you read that right! Like speed dating but with a glass, or glasses, of wine! Wineries in attendance were given 5 minutes per table to talk about and pour one of their signature wines. It was a great way to learn a little more straight from the wineries themselves on the products they produce and serve.

Related Story: Nothing Can Be Finer: Wine and Beer to be served at NC State Fair

Aside from enjoying N.C. wine in the comfort of our own home and finishing up our summer series, Rosé and Sorbet, we also discovered a new winery/cidery that recently came on the scene, Botanist and Barrel, located in Cedar Grove. We enjoyed our time there talking with the owners and enjoying a couple of flights. To learn more about this place, see our Five Questions With … we did with them in September.

Related Story: Five Questions With ... Botanist and Barrel

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We also introduced our California family to N.C. Wine Country on a day trip that took us to four wineries - Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, Piccione Vineyards, McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks and Jones von Drehl. We packed up our picnic basket and headed out on our 2-hour road trip for some tastings on a beautiful Fall afternoon.

Having been to all four of these wineries multiple times, and wine club members of three-quarters of them, it was second nature for us. But we enjoyed introducing our family that North Carolina is more than just BBQ and NASCAR. We also have a wine country. I must say though, that my favorite of the day was Raffaldini. We've been several times and as the popularity soars for this winery, so do the crowds. Depending on when you go, if the tasting room is crowded, the staff can only spend so much time with each person before the next group arrives. However, on this early Friday afternoon, we had probably the best hospitality we have had there and learned more about Raffaldini than ever before. Denise was very attentive, gave tons of information about the winery, Yadkin Valley and even California! 

We ended up having a wonderful afternoon at all four of these wineries and loved having a picnic lunch at Piccione overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Now that harvest is just about over for the vineyards, hurricane season is hopefully wrapping up soon and the crisp Fall air is starting to settle in. This remains a perfect time to relax with a bottle of N.C. wine. It's been a wild 30 days of keeping true to North Carolina wine, and posting daily on our Instagram site. We've had the pleasure of drinking some amazing wines and visiting breathtaking wineries in September. We encourage you to get out there and pay a visit to any of these local treasures and experience what the Tar Heel state has to offer.