Winery Escapade – Weekend 5 2018

So Dennis and had a long and much needed weekend in Savannah. We left Friday morning and headed south. We first stopped at the Angel Oak Tree in Charleston. I have never seen a tree so huge and beautiful.

We decided to go to Deep Waters Vineyard in Charleston and it’s a lovely place. Most of the wines are muscadine or a muscadine blend. The blends are muscadine with CA imported grapes. They use two types of muscadine that we had not heard of before, the Tara and the Ison. They have all sorts of animals on the property. Lots of chickens, roosters, ducks, pigs, a goat and bunnies. The goat (who’s name I have forgotten) will climb up a spiral staircase in his enclosure to get you to put some food in a little bowl that is attached to a pulley and you send it up to him & he’ll eat out of the bowl. We brought a bottle of their Magnolia, just the name of the wine not the varietal of muscadine home with us. This wine is actually made from the Carols grape.

Much to our surprise the Firefly Distillery is on the same property as the winery. So more fun there! We brought some of the Coconut Cake Liquor home. Our other favorite was the Apple Pie moonshine.

We left and headed on down to Savannah. Our hotel was amazing! We had a river view and got to see all sorts of HUGE cargo ships. They have wine and cheese every evening so that was always our appetizers before dinner. Friday night we went to B. Matthews on Bay Street for dinner and then over to Savannah Smiles for dueling pianos. To say that Savannah Smiles was not quite what we were expecting would be a vast understatement. I’ve been to a few dueling piano shows before but this one was very different. Now, just because I say it was different does not mean it was bad or that we didn’t have a good time because we did. It had just been quite the while since either one of us had a hand stamp. LOL! I had also not been to one that the players changed out periodically. There were 4 different pianists and one drummer who played on select songs. We experienced our first bicycle taxi to and from the bar and it had not been SO cold, it would’ve been a lot of fun. Both of the “drivers” were super friendly.

Saturday morning after an amazing breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to explore a bit. Again…. if it had not been so cold it would have been terrific! We both ended up buying ear muffs of sorts. The wind was brutal. I had looked at the forecast before we went and thought it would be great weather for Saturday. Not realizing there would be wind. Let me tell you, the wind coming straight off the river is COLD! But as always, we made the best of it. We then headed to Butterducks Winery. They us a combination of NC and California grapes. We had stopped there on our way home from our honeymoon and wanted to revisit. Since the winery is about 30 minutes from Savannah, it was much warmer and less windy. We had a nice time there and met some fun ladies who were enjoying a mommy’s day out. Enjoyed a glass each of their White Merlot and cheese and crackers.

Headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We went over to Tybee Island to go to the Crab Shack. SOOOO good! I had the low country boil and Dennis had the crab cakes. Both of us were STUFFED! Headed back to the hotel to get ready for our ghost tour. We decided to do The Hearse Ghost Tour because it was simply to cold to do one of the walking ones. Each hearse holds 8 people so we met some fun people. Our tour guide was hysterical! But one note. If you ever do this tour, and choose to sit in the very front, don’t sit on the left side of the hearse. Sit on the right. EVERYTHING is on the right.

After another great breakfast on Sunday, sadly we had to leave. There is so much to do in Savannah that I’m not sure even a week would be long enough to do everything. Upon checking out of the hotel., we drove around the city one more time and then headed to Hilton Head to go to Island Winery. (We went to both of these SC wineries because a) they weren’t too far out of the way and b) we needed to get them the SC Wine competition information). We found one antique store as we didn’t want to arrive exactly at noon when they opened. Between the two of us we got to taste all of their wines. They have some really nice varieties. We each enjoyed a glass and a cheese tray. We met a very lovely lady who was headed to Florida for the month.

Sadly, our fun long weekend had to end and we had to head home. Sorry for the picture overload on this one, I just had to post them all!

More fun to come next week!

#DiscoverSCWines

Winery Escapade- Weekend 4 2018

This weekend we got a late start partially because we knew we weren’t going far because we decided to stay in SC so we could talk to a couple of the wineries about our up coming SC Wine Competition and partially because we had some errands to run before we could start the weekend fun. Our first errand was of course the standard grocery trip everyone has to make once a week. We then headed to Brown’s Meats on Union Street (formerly Eastside Meats). We were thrilled that at meat market had open back up in Spartanburg. We purchased some pinwheels – pork lion sliced long ways and stuffed with Italian sausage and rolled up. We also bought some pickles to take to a friend of ours that loves spicy pickles. We left there and headed to another meat market in Spartanburg County, Foster’s Meats, where we met Jennifer McAbee who is part of the Foster family. We found out all sorts of fun stuff from Jennifer. They are producing sausage for a couple of farms using local to the farm wines, some using beer from local breweries and also some from local distilleries. This information was very intriguing to us and we are going to follow up on these and hopefully go visit the farms in the near future. She also told us of a Cidery that is hopefully going to be open to the public in the near future as well. We hope to get to speak with the cidery owner and do a feature blog on him when it gets close to his grand opening. So stay tuned!

First winery stop was Enoree River Vineyard and Winery in Newberry. We drove up we were greeted by the three dogs, Dusty, Tipsy and Maggie. We had a nice visit with Richard and they have some lovely wines! We shared a bottle of their great Gewurztraminer. We also got to sample a couple of wines that we had not had there before Saturday. The Sweet Tipsy Rose is 1/3 Carlos, 1/3 Vinifera White and 1/3 Vinifera Red. While discussing this wine with Claudia, Richard’s daughter, she couldn’t remember the exact varietals that were used and Richard and Dennis were deep in conversation and we didn’t want to interrupt. This is a very lovely wine that would be great to have on a warm summer day sitting on the porch. Another I got to try was the Curiously White it is named that because they are not certain of the muscadine varietal. The reason is that they had thought that they purchased all Carols vines and when the grapes matured they discovered several vines were something else. Again, it’s a fun wine that I think would be great in the summer or possibly make a terrific wine slushy. The wines are great, everyone at the winery is super nice including the dogs, apparently they have a cat named Robin, but I don’t believe I’ve seen her. We missed seeing Laura on this trip though. But Pack the Porch will be returning soon so hopefully we will get to see her then!

Dusty

Tipsy

Magg

u

We left Enoree River and after a stop to pick up some dinner we headed to Old Rock Quarry in Enoree, to visit with Debbie, Linda and Lindy. They were rather busy but we had a nice visit with Deb and Lindy. Poor Linda was stuck inside. Debbie & Lindy were in and out but we were still able to discuss the wine competition with Debbie. We had our dinner and shared a bottle of the Snap Apple Sassy (and brought one home). There was a birthday party outside and I’m not sure what the ladies inside were celebrating, but they sure had a good time! Sadly it was time to go home. If you have not been there, you really should. These 3 really make everyone feel like old friends and family.

Sunday after church and family lunch, we headed to Overmountain to take Sophia her pickles. We were pleasantly surprised at how busy they were for a rainy Sunday afternoon. We shared a bottle of the Camilla, which is their white table wine. Got to talk to some lovely people from Gastonia and hope we get to see them again! I kept thinking when I saw them that I knew them from somewhere. Turns out they had been at Cat’s Paw a couple of weeks ago when we were there. Was so great to see them at another winery we love.

Upon leaving Overmountain Dennis wanted to go to Biltmore and since we’re pass holders he didn’t have to twist my arm very much. We thought they were open until 9 but winter hours are only until 7. Our very nice and super fun waitress Jyll totally helped make the trip there for us and we hope that we get to see her again when we go back to celebrate some of our friends anniversary. Regardless of the earlier closing time, we were able to have a nice dinner and a bottle of their Riesling before having to bring this weekend to a close.

Palmetto Wine Competition at The Belmont

Jenni and I will host the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition on May 1st, featuring wine produced by South Carolina Winery Association members. We are both honored and excited for this event which provides the perfect platform for us to promote our passion (some might say obsession) for local wineries.

In our winery escapades, we are so fortunate to meet the owners and winemakers at many of the local wineries we love and visit often. Shannon Mercer, owner and winemaker at Lexington’s Mercer House Estate Winery approached us with the idea of a South Carolina wine competition. Jenni and I discussed the idea with others, Josh at CityScape Winery in Pelzer and Deb at Old Rock Quarry Winery in Enoree to gage interest in the event. The more we discussed the more it seemed the perfect event to promote local South Carolina wine.

We knew in order for the event to have ligitimacy, we’d have to ensure no bias towards any of the participants. Jenni and I knew the perfect venue in the Historic Belmont Inn in Abbeville, South Carolina. The charm not only of The Belmont but likewise of Abbeville is perfect for showcasing the artisan crafted wines. I approached Renè Smith, owner of The Belmont Inn about hosting our event and she was immediately excited to work with us.

The competition will feature artisan crafted wines produced by 16 South Carolina wineries. Judging will take place by blind tasting. Our diverse panel of judges will include, winemakers, sommeliers, chefs, and fellow bloggers. The 20 Point American Wine Society scale will be used for scoring and gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded for each category. Best of show and Palmetto signature winners will further be awarded.

The awards ceremony is open to the public. Afterward will afford the opportunity for wine tasting and food pairings and shopping of local merchants. Our hope is to promote local South Carolina wineries and the town and small merchants of Abbeville, South Carolina.

Promotion opportunities for The Palmetto Wine Competition at The Belmont can be explored by contacting us at wineryescapades@gmail.com

Winery Escapade – Weekends 2 and 3 of 2018

We got sort of a late start Saturday (1/13) due to some errands we had to take care of before we could go. We met some dear friends, Pam & Will, at Misty Creek Vineyard in Mocksville, NC. We were greeted by Bear and Merl (Barry said someone else named him for them, it’s Merl as in Merlot) when we arrived, as well as the owner, Barry, his lovely wife and his mother. Since it had been a while since we had been there and Pam & Will had not been there, Dennis & I did the tasting with them. They have several lovely wines. Our favorite is still the 2008 Chambourcin. The 4 of us split a bottle of the Syrah and also the Traminette. We brought a bottle of the Misty Rose, Syrah and the Chambourcin home. We enjoyed a hour or so hanging out in front of the fire with Pam & Will and also have nice conversations with Barry. We left there and headed to dinner at Port City Club in Cornelius. Man was the food good! We look forward to going back in the spring so we can enjoy the outside seating by the lake.

Merl
Will & Bear

Sunday (1/14) we went to Lake James Cellars. For Dennis & I this place is the best of both worlds! It’s a winery but is also and antique store. So you can do a tasting, figure out what your favorite wine was and then browse in the antique store with your glass of wine. We brought a bottle of the Fonta Flora Cranberry Blush home.

After leaving Lake James, we headed to Wood Mill Winery. This winery is primarily muscadine, but they also have some fruit wines. They have semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet variations of the majority of their wines. This winery is a beautiful location for events. They have a lovely outside space (which we did not get to enjoy as it was WAY to COLD!) and their inside space is also great and has terrific views. We brought a couple of bottle home from here as well. We got a chance to speak with the owner/wine maker Larry. The young lady who handled our tasting was also very sweet and quite knowledgeable.

This past Saturday (1/20) we met some fellow bloggers and friends at Cats Paw Winery in Rock Hill. Dennis and I have been here a few times before and it’s always such fun. You have a complimentary never ending bowl of popcorn to enjoy with your tasting and afterwards as well as bottled water. For Bob & Jennifer (Wine Carolinas) it was their first trip. We had a nice visit with them as we sipped wine and chatted. Dennis and I shared a bottle of the Strawberry Sensation and brought a bottle of the Purr-Fectly Peach and his latest port home. We said good-bye to our friends and debated about what to do next. We ended up going further into Rock Hill and having dinner at The White Horse Restaurant. This has been one of my favorite restaurants since my time living in Rock Hill. As we were sitting down, I heard someone call my name…. it was so friends who still live there! It was so great to see Rebecca & Darryl. After dinner we headed on home as it was getting late.

Sunday after church and lunch we decided to ride up to Parker-Binns Vineyard. As always Dee waited on us and was her terrific self! Karen and Roberto are on a much deserved vacation! The vineyard was in the excellent care of Kelly, their daughter, Dee and the wine maker Justin. They are currently out of the Rose that Dennis & I usually share so we had a bottle of the Petit Manseng and met some really great couples. The weather was perfect as well. While sitting outside enjoying pizza, wine and live music, we also got to meet their winemaker – Justin Taylor. Justin told us that they are soon to be bottling some wine. Some that will be new to us and some that are old favorites (yes some Rose is coming!). We learned that Justin studied at Surry and previously worked at Burnshirt Vineyards (also a favorite!).

We finished our wine and decided to make one more stop at Russian Chapel Hills Winery to see Andre. It was close to closing time but we were able to enjoy a glass each of his Malbec on the covered porch. The view was spectacular!

 

Winery Escpade – Weekend 1, 2018

 Saturday we head out to Morgan Ridge Vineyards in Gold Hill, NC. I had wanted to go back there for quite sometime and Dennis made it happen this weekend. We first stopped in Historic Downtown Gold Hill and met some really interesting and fun people. We shopped in the antique store and found a Merlot key hook that we had to have. Then we headed over to the general store. We found some black bean and corn salsa for Dennis. He had found some in another little town that he really liked but the ones in our local grocery store were not as good. He tried it when we got home and said it was amazing!
We then headed on over to the winery. Just as a side note, in the historic area, there is a tasting room for Morgan Ridge. I think the next time we are in that area we will visit there.
Maggie did our tasting and was so sweet and knowledgeable. We did the premium tasting that was $10 each & we got to taste 10 wines each. They have 13 wines to choose from so between the 2 of us, we were able to taste them all. We had several favorites, but picked the Joile Blanc and the Applelicious to bring home. We also got to meet Kim the manager. Everyone there was so nice. We decided that we needed a little snack and asked for recommendations from the staff. They all said the brisket nachos. Let me tell you they did not disappoint! Our server for the nachos was Tara. We met some super sweet people there and had a great time mingling with everyone. We also found the cutest sign that we just had to buy to take to Josh & Deb at City Scape. It said Peace Love and Pinot. It was a must for them!
We decided to head over to another winery that we had been to before, Old Stone Winery. The tasting room is another that has the old diner feel to it. Shannon did our tasting and she was much fun! All their wines are muscadine, even the pomegranate and peach have muscadine in them. They had a white muscadine grape that we were not familiar with. It’s called Sweet Jenny. Even though Jenny isn’t spelled the way i do, of course I’m interested in this grape. They have 13 wines, 7 dry and 6 sweet.
Sunday after church and lunch, we headed over to City Scape to take the sign to Josh & Deb. Sadly Deb was not there as she has been under the weather. However, Josh was there and just loved the sign! We shared a bottle of the Mueller Two Goats, visited with some of the other patrons and then headed to Greenville to the Spice and Tea Exchange. I needed some more Tuscan spice blend and we also brought home some southwestern spice and cilantro.

Abiding Vine Vineyard – Laurens SC

Winery now permanently closed.

………………………

A new vineyard and winery just recently opened in South Carolina. We are very excited to see industry growth in the state and therefore were excited for our first visit. Located on rural family property in Western Laurens county, Abiding Vine is the dream of David Barnes.

David has planted six varieties of muscadine, about 230 plants total. Three whites including Carlos, Magnolia, and Welder, along with three reds, Noble, Creek, and Regale. Plans are to plant additional vines in the near future and also offer some sweeter fruit wines.

David, an educator by trade, is truly enjoying this new venture. He loves to interact with customers and has many interesting stories to share. The small winery has inside seating and a small patio with outdoor seating. The rural setting and good wine make for a very peaceful experience for one that locals and travelers alike are sure to enjoy.

Abiding Vine and CityScape Winery in Pelzer are approximately 30 minutes apart. Siri knows the quick way taking you through some beautiful South Carolina countryside. We highly recommend a Saturday day trip visiting both of these rural craft wineries. Both small businesses are locally owned. Happy weekend wining!

Last Weekends of 2017

So with Christmas and New Years we decided to combine the blog for those 2 weeks. So… here we go.

After doing a tiny bit of last minute shopping on Saturday the 23rd, we decided to head to Waldensian Heritage Wines. Very quaint tasting room and they had some regulars enjoying wine and football. Since it had been quite a while since we had been there, we decided to do a tasting again. We ended up bringing 3 bottles home as they were having a really nice sale.

We then headed to Shadow Line Vineyard . Marvin & Geba are such lovely people. We also met a very sweet couple who are neighbors to the vineyard and had such a nice time chatting with them. This was the second time we went to Shadow Line and both times it was rainy. We are going to pick a very pleasant, sunny day the next time we do so we can enjoy the patio area they have. If I am not mistaken, we came home with 3 bottles from them. Yep restocked the wine racks!

Sunday being Christmas Eve, we went to church, had family lunch, I wrapped gifts and then we headed to Russian Chapel Hills. Andre was doing a special tasting with oysters that Dennis did. I  am not an oyster fan so I just had a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc.

Last Saturday we went to a new winery in Laurens, Abiding Vines Vineyard. Owner David Barnes is so personable. Come to find out he works with someone that I grew up with. Small world! This is a young vineyard/winery and he is currently producing all muscadine but is wanting to make some other fruit wines in the future. He had a two varietals of muscadine that we had not had before the Creek and the Regale. We brought a bottle of the Regale home with us.

We then went by City Scape to get another bottle of the Winemaker’s Cab Sav since I had given the one we had as a retirement gift. As always the winery was hopping and we enjoyed a glass each and a cheese board and got to see Pinot for a few. He was dressed all snuggly in a sweater. We made a quick stop at Happy Cow Creamery as Dennis wanted some of his milk and we also picked up some cheese, natural peanut butter and a spaghetti sauce that I thought looked interesting.

We then drove up to Victoria Valley. Such a beautiful place! The owner and winemaker Les Jane’s daughter Brittany did our tasting and we had a lovely chat with some locals/regulars. We brought a bottle of the Table Rock Rose home with us.

Sunday after church and lunch, we drove up to Parker Binns for a little bit before heading to Greenville for our traditional New Year’s Eve dinner & comedy. BTW, if you’ve never tried Uber, you must! It’s fantastic! Since it was so cold, we were pleasantly surprised to see how busy they were. Sadly they were out of our favorite which is the Rose, but we enjoyed the Lulu Red for a nice change. As we were leaving sweet Dee was there, enjoying a glass on her day off on the OTHER side of wine bar!

So after all the festivities on Sunday night, we got read

y, check out of our hotel and headed south to GA. Thinking the weather would be better that way. Dennis wanted to go to The Dillard House in Dillard, GA. On the way, we ran into some snow, but it wasn’t too bad but it did concern us for a little bit. About 15 minutes later we were out of it and got to enjoy a MASSIVE lunch.

We had planned to go to a winery that we had not been to before, but they were closed for the day, so we headed to Habersham Winery and Vineyard. Did a tasting facilitated by the very lovely and sweet Sydne. We decided to shared a bottle of the Gewurztraminer and met two super fun couples. Sadly we had to tell them good bye and head home. All in all I would say the holiday weekends were a great success and much fun!

Press Release – Palmetto Wine Competition

PRESS RELEASE
January 04, 2018

RE: Palmetto Wine Competition at The Belmont

Dennis and Jenni Turner, bloggers at WineryEscapades.Com, will host the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition at the Belmont Inn in historic Abbeville, South Carolina. The event is scheduled for May 1st, 2018 with additional details forthcoming.  The inaugural competition will feature wines produced from South Carolina Winery Association members.  Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals will be awarded by a panel of highly qualified judges ranging from many different sectors of the wine industry. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Dennis and Jenni Turner at Wineryescapades@gmail.com.

10 Awesome Reasons to Visit North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley AVA

Why should you visit North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley?

1, The Wine

Practically every variety of grape can be grown in the Yadkin Valley producing a diverse selection of world class award wining wines. Bold reds such as Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Barberra, Montepluciano, Sangiovese, Malbec, Chambourchin, and more. Crisp whites such as Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Viognier, Traminette, Cynthiana, Seyval Blanc, and so much more.

2. The Vineyards and Wineries

From Raffidini’s Tuscan Villa to the river rapids at Roaring River, each Yadkin Valley destination winery is unique. Shelton Vineyards offer picturesque landscaping while Grassy Creek maintains the charm of historic horse stables and diary farm.

3. The Terrior

A mild climate and rich soil combine to create a superb region for growing high quality grapes. The proof is in the bottle. North Carolina’s first AVA, Yadkin Valley wines have won awards in major competitions all over the globe.

4. The Views

Nestled in the rolling foothills, offering spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, picturesque farm land, and stunning mountain streams and rivers.

5. Fine Dining

Several Of the areas wineries offers fine dining establishments, Don’t miss the Harvest Grill, an upscale bistro at Shelton Vineyards. Old North State Winery in downtown Mount Airy offers lunch and Dinner. Southern on Main in downtown Elkin offers an Elegant Comfort dining experience.

6. Overnight Stays in Vineyard Cabins

Many of the area vineyards offer upscale rustic cabins for overnight accommodations. Roaring River offers cabins right by the river, while Elkin Creek has several secluded cabins just below the winery.

7. Locally and Family Owned

You won’t find large commercialized mass production wineries in the Yadkin Valley AVA. Even the largest producing wineries are family owned. Many of these families have roots deeply planted in the region.

8. Charming Small Towns

From Mount Airy, the small town of which Andy Griffith’s Mayberry is based, to Elkin which features charming downtown restaurants and small retail shops. The alluring character of the regions small towns is worthy of a travelers admiration.

9. Many Other Fun Activities

Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain state parks offer adventurous hiking and spectacular Mountain View’s. Camping is available at both parks.

10. Napa of the South

Yadkin Valley isn’t Napa or Sonoma, and that’s a good thing. The AVA is gaining national recognition for its ability to grow all types of grapes. This region is though in the realm of Napa, Sonoma, & the Finger Lakes, absolutely a must visit for any wine lover.