There are about 200 wineries and 400 vineyards in North Carolina. The state ranks 10th in the US in production. Grapes for wine are grown in three regions—the Mountains of Western North Carolina, the Piedmont typically associated with Central North Carolina, and the Coastal Plain of Eastern North Carolina.
Within those three regions are 6 designated American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Some are shared with neighboring states.
Here’s a breakdown of the 6 AVAs found within North Carolina:
- Appalachian High Country: 5 North Carolina counties (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, and Watauga) share this AVA with 2 counties in Tennessee and 1 in Virginia, respectively.
- Haw River Valley: This AVA lies in Alamance County and parts of Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Orange, and Rockingham counties in Central North Carolina.
- Swan Creek: The Swan Creek AVA sits on the western edge of the Piedmont. It’s a smaller AVA and considered a “sub-appellation” of Yadkin Valley.
- Upper Hiwassee Highlands: On the far southwestern edge of North Carolina is the Upper Hiwassee Highlands. 2 counties in North Carolina (Cherokee and Clay) join three in Georgia to form this AVA.
- Yadkin Valley: Many of the best North Carolina wineries and vineyards are found within the Yadkin Valley AVA. It encompasses all of Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties and lies in parts of Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, and Stokes counties.
- Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County: While it’s still growing, this one is currently confined to the Hendersonville area.
Here are our favorite wineries in the state:
The Biltmore is the best example of an American castle, and what completes a castle like a vineyard? It is, therefore, no surprise that this estate just outside of the mountain town of Asheville would make this list. It’s also America’s most-visited winery, so you know that they’ve got a good tour prepared for you. The tasting rooms, with their barrel tables and stone walls, will transport you right to Renaissance Europe, and the sprawling hills covered with grape plants are truly a sight to behold. A trip to the vineyard at the Biltmore is truly an experience unlike any other.
Treehouse Vineyards offers daily wine tastings and tours of the winery, but you have to stay overnight to get the full experience. Why? They’re named ‘Treehouse’ for a reason. There are actually a series of treehouses built around the property, which you can rent at night and then enjoy a cozy evening overlooking the vineyard. It’s located in Monroe, North Carolina, which isn’t far from Charlotte, but you’ll truly feel like you’ve escaped from the noise and pace of modern life and into paradise.
Shelton Vineyards is located in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, and it’s one of the biggest vineyards on the East Coast. They make it very accessible to visitors, with paths winding their ways through the acres of fields and picnic tables scattered around for anyone who wants to just relax and enjoy the setting. If you forgot food, don’t worry – they’ve got their own Harvest Grill, so you’re covered. This is a particularly lush area, so it’s perfect during the verdant spring and summer months or in the autumn.
Cypress Bend Vineyards
Cypress Bend Vineyards exemplifies southern hospitality in the form of a winery. They grow Muscadine grapes, or Scuppernong as they’re known in North Carolina, which in themselves are rather unique – they’re very large, very spherical and very sweet. They have a shady veranda behind the winery building, so you can come and relax for a few hours with the fresh scent of the vineyard surrounding you. The owners are particularly concerned with welcoming guests from all over, so they’ve done a lot to make the spot comfortable and easy on the eyes.
Banner Elk Winery
Given that Banner Elk is surrounded entirely by the Appalachian Mountains, it’s no shock that the winery of the same name would find itself on this list. The deep tones of the evergreen trees around the winery and villa complement the lovely buildings and gently sloping wine-growing fields with their brighter color. Whether you want to come for a wedding, a wine tasting, or just to enjoy the striking colors of a mountain sunset, you won’t regret it. And of course, there are rooms available in the villa if you’d prefer to catch the sunrise as well.
As you can see, there is a lot of diversity in the wineries of North Carolina. From the Appalachian High Country to the Yadkin Valley, and all in-between! While your family is visiting the Outer Banks for vacation, you should try some of the selection that we carry from these vineyards at Bacchus. Our wine selection is enormous and our talented staff can find a perfect wine for any occasion. Whether it be laying out on the beach or having a grill at your rental.