Among the many things one can do during their time in the High Country, a trip to one of the area’s many wineries should be near the top of the list.
The local wineries and vineyards bring the traditional mountain spirit of craftsmanship and relying on nature’s gifts to another level. While they may not have 500 years of history, each of the High Country’s wineries has carved out a unique legacy and flavor.
While Watauga County may be the High Country’s beer garden, Avery County is the home to many incredible wineries.
Banner Elk Winery and Villa
Banner Elk Winery and Villa was the first winery in Avery after opening in 2005, and since then has made its mark as one of the premiere wineries in the High Country. It’s won awards including a gold, silver and two bronze medals for its products at the 2016 North Carolina State Fair.
Aside from the wine, Banner Elk Winery and Villa features numerous suites for guests to stay in, and is a destination wedding location.
For more information on Banner Elk Winery and Villa, visit www.bannerelkwinery.com.
Grandfather Vineyard and Winery
Starting as a hobby sized vineyard, Grandfather Vineyard and Winery in Banner Elk grew into a business and opened its doors in 2011. Talk about a scenic view, the Watauga River flows right down the middle of the property.
Grandfather Vineyard and Winery offers shipping of its products to approximately 34 states. Products range from $9.95 for the 22 ounce hard cider to the $26.95 bottles of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wineries tasting room allows guests to choose from four tasting experiences: eight dry wines for $10, four dry reds for $6, four dry whites for $6 or four sweet wines for $6. Reservations are not needed for the tasting room, and the area is pet friendly.
For a group of eight or more visitors, it’s requested to call 48 hours in advance.
For more information on Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, visit www.grandfathervineyard.com.
Linville Falls Winery
Located at an elevation of 3,200 feet, Linville Falls Winery offers a space for weddings, private events, classes and reservations.
Guests can get a tasting experience that is both child and pet friendly. For those of age, chosen wines can be tasted in 1 ounce pours with requests taken for a glass or a bottle. Guests can pair that with live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
This winery grows several types of grapes for its wine, such as Rielsing, Seyval Blanc, Noiret, Marquette, Petit Verdot, and Foch; so there’s something for everything. The farm also grows blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, heirloom apples, pumpkins and Christmas Trees.
For more information on Linville Falls Winery, visit www.linvillefallswinery.com.
Thistle Meadow Winery
Thistle Meadow Winery is the choice winery of Alleghany County. Thistle Meadow offers 30 to 45 minute winery tours as well as wine tastings, with each guest able to taste up to five wines.
There is a variety of 60 different wines to choose from; selections can be found in dry red, dry white, blush/sweet and cooking wines. Wine examples include the Bourgeron, easy-drinking taste with fresh berry flavors, the Feather Bed White, which has hints of green apple, melon and citrus and Double Black, with a taste of sweet black cherries and Pinot Noir.
The winery was recently ranked third among North Carolina wineries by the South Eastern Winery Review and scored a perfect “10” in friendliness.
Thistle Meadow can create custom wines and blends as well as private label products.
For more information on Thistle Meadow Winery, visit www.thistlemeadowwinery.com.
MenaRick Vineyard & Winery
MenaRick Vineyard & Winery is a family owned vineyard in Wilkes County that specializes in in Spanish and Portuguese varietals.
The winery chooses not to filter its products, believing that it helps keep the authenticity of the wine’s aroma and flavor intact. MenaRick is currently offering 10 wines for guests to enjoy in its tasting room, including the blackberry and peach wines, a Portuguese style Vinho Branco wine and a light red Grenache wine. Bottles of wine can also be purchased for $21 to $27, depending on the wine.
For more information on MenaRick Vineyard and Winery, visit www.menarick.com.
Roaring River Vineyards
Another winery located in Wilkes County is Roaring River Vineyards, which officially opened in 2016.
Roaring Rivers offers a selection of six wines such as its crisp Chardonnay, a French-American hybrid of its Chambourcin wine and the Traminette wine with grapefruit and citrus flavors.
Wine lovers can enjoy wine Tastings of up to six different wines for $10, a glass of wine for $8 or a bottle of wine for $24. Reservations are required for groups of eight or more.
Roaring River Vineyards also offer restaurant and lodging options.
For more information on Roaring River Vineyards, call (336) 957-2332.