Winery Escapade – Weekend 50

Well this weekend due to a family event we decided to keep it local. All the wineries we visited we have written a blog about in the past. With that being said, here’s what we did this weekend.

After the family Christmas get together at my Aunt’s house, we headed over to City Scape Winery. We each had a glass, I had the Green Apple Gewürztraminer and Dennis had Müller Two-Goats. We also brought a bottle of the Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon home.

We then headed to Mountain Brook Vineyards for a little Christmas Caroling. We enjoyed a bottle of the Rambunctious Rosé while singing carols with Brin & Mir. For this vocalist who isn’t getting a lot of performance time these days, this was a lot of fun. Also, while we were there, Ruah was grazing in the vines. We also saw some deer beside the driveway but due to it being overcast, the deer were blending into the woods to much for me to get a good picture.

From there we stopped to grab something for dinner and then we headed to Old Rock Quarry Winery. As always, the wine and the company was wonderful. Had a nice visit with Debbie, Lindy and Linda. We brought a bottle of the Snap Apple Sassy and a bottle of the Strawberry Kisses home with us.

Sunday morning we went to church and then we finally took some time to do a little bit of Christmas decorating. Better late than never, right? After doing that we decided it was time to go to Biltmore for a little bit as we bought season passes and hadn’t used them yet. While on the way we decided that it had been way to long since we had been to Burntshirt Vineyards, so we made a little detour. We each had a glass of their Apple Wine and brought a bottle home.

We then made our way to Biltmore Winery and decided to do a tasting again. MaryAnn was our server and she was very knowledgeable as well as very friendly. We met a sweet cute couple who were also doing a tasting at the same time. She apparently likes wine more than he does, but he was a good sport and was trying to learn more about it. We brought both the Christmas White and the Christmas Red, (signed by the label artist – he was there signing bottles – happy coincidence for us!)  home with us as well as a bottle of the 2016 Limited Release Chenin Blanc. After the tasting we went over to the wine bar and shared a charcuterie and cheese board as well as a bottle of Zinfandel Blanc de Noir.

We drove around the property for a little bit & then headed to see the lights at the Christmas House in Inman, SC. When it comes to Christmas light displays, I swear we are like 2 little kids. We drove through 3 times!

Sadly after that is was time to go home & prepare for this work week. Until next weekend we wish you all a Merry Christmas and as always, good wine!

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Winery Escapade -Weekend 49: The Snow Blog

Ole man winter hit hard across the Southeastern United States this weekend. Many of our favorite local wineries were blanketed in a picturesque covering of fluffy white snow. The snow pictures starting showing up Friday across our social media feeds.

Josh Jones snapped the below shot of Pinot the Pig at CityScape Winery in Pelzer (Greenville County), South Carolina all bundled up for the wintry weather.

Our favorite mountain escape, The historic Old Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands, NC was looking majestic covered in soft fluffy blanket of pure white snow.

Our friend Christy Freeman King snapped the below shot of The Biltmore Estate in all it’s winter grandeur.

Yonah Mountain Vineyards in North Georgia Cleveland County posted the below winter wonderland scene which looked to be fitting for a Christmas card. Can barely make out the vines in the background.

Out friends at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards just outside of Shelby, North Carolina posted the below picture. Notice the falling snowflakes against the contrast of the red barn.

Shadow Springs Vineyard in the Swan Creek AVA up in Hamptonville, North Carolina posted the below glistening view of their snow covered vineyard.

We absolutely love the lake views from Old Homeplace Vineyards near Winston-Salem. The view was certainly beautiful on this winter weekend.

Saturday after a family gathering we took advantage of the cold and enjoyed some decaf coffee blended with a shot of Carolina Cream from Six and Twenty Distillery in Piedmont, South Carolina.

OverMountain Vineyards in Tryon, North Carolina shared this incredible shot. How beautiful are the vines with a thick blanket of snow and pure white clouds above. This is one of my favorite pictures. We were able to make the short drive up to OverMountain on Sunday and enjoyed a bottle of the 2016 Camelia white table wine.

We also got by Russian Chapel Hills Winery to visit with our friend Andrey. Snow was starting to melt, but Andrey had the wood stove burning and the tasting room was warm and cozy. The view of the chapel above the vineyards never disappoints.

The wintry view from the warmth inside at Russian Chapel Hills perfectly paired with our wine.

All considered we made the best of this cold wintry weekend. Yet we remain anxious for better weather so as we can get out and explore more wineries. I’d like to thank all the businesses mentioned for giving us permission to use their photos. We encourage you all to get out and eat, drink, and stay local. Happy weekend wining!

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Winery Escapade – Weekend 48 2017

Wow this past weekend so much fun! Honestly I did not want it to end! We left early Friday afternoon and headed to Elkin, NC.

Our first winery stop was at Grassy Creek Vineyard. We had a blast with Wayne and Joyce chatting and learning about the property. We brought several bottles of wine home with us, with 3 that are going to be Christmas gifts, a t-shirt for me and a horse shoe for Dennis. The entire property was horse pasture and the tasting room was a horse stable once upon a time.

 

We left there with a recommendation from Joyce to have dinner at Southern on Main. Man was she right! The food was fantastic and our waitress was terrific! I had pork medallions and Dennis had crab cakes. Neither one disappointed. Even though we were rather full, we did splurged and shared a Crème Brûlée for dessert. Then we walked around downtown Elkin as it was Light it Up Friday.

Saturday morning started out with breakfast at Breakfastime which was right beside out hotel. We left there and wandered around Antique Mall of the Foothills that was near by. First of all, the store is deceptively large. It just kept going and going. We were in there for well over an hour and I am certain that we missed a lot of good stuff. We came home with 2 gorgeous blue wine glasses, a beautiful crystal heart paper weight for my desk and a super cute snowman that lights up.

From there we headed to Midnight Magdalena Vineyards. This is a rather young vineyard but man were the wines good. Apparently there was a 7 vineyard event going on that you could visit them all and taste what is called a vertical flight of one of each of the vineyards wines. Midnight Magdalena was doing their Merlot, 2017, 2016 & 2015. Unfortunately we didn’t know about that event, but we were able to do the vertical flight at Midnight Magdalena. The winery is owned by a set of sisters and their husbands. The venue itself is beautiful and Krista (one of the sisters) was a delight! We enjoyed a glass each and listened to some live music.

Our next stop was Dobbins Creek Vineyard which was our 100th NC winery stop since this journey began. Dennis will be posting a special blog about this stop. We met our friends Will & Pam there along with fellow bloggers The NC Wine Guys.

 

Our final stop of the day was at Laurel Gray Vineyards. We shared wine and laughter with Will & Pam and brought a bottle of the Peach wine & their BBQ sauce home with us. Dennis & I have a soft spot for peach wine.

Sunday started with breakfast at the hotel and then we had to go on a quest for tennis shoes for me as some how I had a shoe blow out. After finding the shoes we headed to  Jones von Drehle Vineyards. This is a lovely family vineyard that has 30 acres under vine. We spent some time chatting with one of the owners, Chuck Jones. The property is so lovely and they have some amazing wines. We brought a few bottles home (yes we brought SEVERAL bottles home this trip).

Next up was McRitchie Vineyards and Ciderworks. We had a lovely time there and brought some wine and cider home. We got to chat with owner/winemaker Sean McRitchie for a little bit.

And our final stop for the weekend was Slightly Askew Wines The original purpose for stopping was to get a bottle of the Spiker Dude. We ended up doing a tasting again and getting 2 bottles of the one we went after.

As you can tell the weekend was full and we had a blast!

100 is Grand!

Our 100th North Carolina Winery. Woo Hoo! Back when I wrote our bio for WineryEscapades.Com,  I penned the following.

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.  Our ultimate goal is to promote fun at local wineries.

That in a nutshell is how this adventure began and remains our focus. Our escapades the past two years so far have taken us to visit local wineries in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and even Florida. It has however, been in North Carolina where most of our weekend winery escapade fun has been found.

The winery industry in North Carolina has exploded. One hundred and eight-six wineries are listed in the 2017 North Carolina Winery Guide. Jack Nales with North Carolina Agriculture Department recently advised that the current unconfirmed count is at or near two hundred North Carolina wineries,  Thereso, this weekend we celebrated the halfway point, visiting for us North Carolina winery number one hundred!

We were honored to have friends join us to celebrate. Fellow bloggers and friends Matt and Joe, The NC Wine Guys, along with our winery adventure friends Will and Pam Rotz. We all enjoyed a tasting, which cost $8.00 and included about eight different wines.

Dobbins Creek Vineyards was a great choice for number 100. The log cabin tasting room sits atop Hemric Mountain offering spactacular views of the Swan Creek and Brushy Mountains of the Yadkin Valley  On a clear day, from the tasting room one can see the skyline of Winston-Salem some 40 plus miles away.

Inside the tasting room, quite a crowd was enjoying wine and warmth from the stone fireplace. The nostalgic vocals of Elegantly Altered set the festive mood.

This journey began a little over two years ago with our first winery visit together at Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville. Burntshirt will forever be special to us as their Meritage was our wedding toast wine. There have been ninety-eight others in between and we have thoroughly enjoyed every weekend winery escapade. We encourage you to check our website and read about our winery escapades as we strive to visit each and every local winery in the South and beyond. Happy weekend wining!

Jenni & Dennis

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Winery Escapades -Weekend 47

This past weekend was full of fun! We started Friday by trying to locate some fajita seasoning but for some unknown reason the part of the Blue Ridge Parkway we needed to get to was closed. So…. Dennis & I regrouped and decided to go to one of our favorite wineries in Morganton, Belle Nicho. Janet and Bridget are so fun. We had a bottle of the Sweet Dog Red and ended up bringing home 2 additional bottles – a bottle of Sweet Dog Red & a bottle of Catawba.

From there we went to Urban Orchard Cider Co in Asheville. They had GREAT cider as well as some tasty heavy appetizers.

Saturday morning I had to sing at a funeral so we got a little later start that we had planned, but still managed to make to see Shannon at Mercer House Estate Winery. We are working on a couple of projects that involve Shannon so we needed to go see him. We did a tasting there as it had been over a year since we did a tasting there. We brought home a bottle of the Blue Perry and the Bloody Mary (sounds strange I know but it’s really good if you like bloody mary’s!).

We left there and stopped by Hollow Creek Distillery that we just happened to see a sign for on our way to see Shannon. Meredith did our tasting and tour. We bought 3 bottles, 2 for us and one as a gift – 1 Simply Strawberry which is a brandy & 1 bottle of Salted Carmel. The gifted one was also the Simply Strawberry. We left there and went to watch the Carolina / Clemson game with some of Dennis’ buddies.

Sunday after church and lunch, we headed to Parker-Binns to a charity event they were having. The winery partnered with Warming the View for a coat drive. Talk about a small world! We walk in to hand off the coats we had brought to donate and who is there for Warming the View but Lisa Nyberg Moser! She and Dee are best friends! Dennis and I had a good time listening to Champagne Charlie and sharing a bottle of the Pea Ridge Red.

We left Parker-Binns and stopped by Russian Chapel Hills and had a nice visit with Alla, Andre and the dogs.

Goat Yoga & Wine Tasting

We recently met Terri at Cats Paw Winery in Rock Hill, S. C. We were so enthralled with the whole idea of Goat Yoga that I begged her to write a guest blog for us. I was thrilled today to find the below in my email inbox.

By Terri Gustin

Winter here on Critter Creek Farm is a slower time…the goats are all bred and no planting needs to be done. The colder winter months – even in South Carolina – are usually a time for reflection and planning for the following season. I am always trying to find ways to bring the farm to people. Critter Creek has several programs that involve our chickens, and I was trying to find ideas involving the goats.  Last January, as I was searching the internet and brainstorming, I came across some small farms in Arizona and Oregon that conducted goat yoga classes. Brilliant! With all the goat babies due in the spring, what a great idea to promote the farm to people experience.

I really wanted this to be a unique and memorable event – something people would get really excited about. I went to John Burks the owner of Cat’s Paw Winery and pitched the idea of a combined event involving goat yoga followed by wine tasting at Cat’s Paw. During our research and discussions early in 2017, we discovered that no one else was offering this curious mixture of activities.

Baby goats, craftsman style wines, and yoga….who wouldn’t love it?

After my discussions with Cat’s Paw, I met Tammy Calvin, who is a certified yoga instructor with a passion for bringing yoga to people who have never tried it. She is not only an incredible instructor but also great talking and getting to know our customers.. Tammy enthusiastically agreed to work with us to bring our goat yoga & wine tasting idea to life. We were ready.

Our first goat yoga and wine tasting event was in March 2017 and sold out quickly – way faster than any of us expected. I was a nervous wreck and wanted everyone to have fun. To be honest, I also really wanted them to love my goat babies, but I had no idea how much they would be loved! Most people only have the petting zoo experience of goats attacking them just for food. At the farm, we raise both Nigerian Dwarf goats and Mini Fainting goats; with this combination, you never know what will happen!  But our goats are very friendly, and love to be held and pet. During Critter Creek Farm events, I enjoy having the opportunity to educate people on the types of goats we have, as well as their distinct personalities and traits. I have always trained my goats from birth – yes, that is possible, and it’s not unlike training a new puppy. As the summer went on, my goat training continued and evolved a bit, as we became more experienced with the interactions between the yogis and goats. Since they weigh only about 5-15 pounds, our goat babies are allowed to jump freely on folks during the yoga sessions. Once they are about 3 months old, the goats are taught not to jump until I have my training pouch on – this is their cue for proper behavior. Our goats are skilled at posing for Plank, Wheel, or whatever fancy yoga poses you wish to strike!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the goats don’t enjoy this event as much as people do – they literally line up at the gate with excitement when they see the trailer coming ready to leave the farm to go to the winery!

Goat yoga and wine tasting is a 2 to 2.5-hour event. We start with 1 hour of yoga with the goats roaming around, laying on your mats, babies jumping on your back, and adults waiting for Warrior or Down Dog to use your body as a tunnel to walk under. After yoga, I put on my training pouch, and the goats know it’s time to pose. We get everyone in a circle on their hands and knees and have a goat walk the circle on peoples’ backs – we may have 2 or 3 goats doing this, depending on the ages. We stay as long as needed for everyone to get pictures in their favorite pose with a goat on them.

After pictures, folks go into the winery for a tasting of 5-6 wines made locally at Cat’s Paw. Each wine is truly outstanding, which makes it difficult to choose a favorite. Everyone not only takes home a Cat’s Paw logo wine glass, but also lots of lasting memories. I take pictures during the session and post them on Facebook for everyone to see. At the end of the 2017 season, we moved from the lawn to the cow pasture in a permanent fenced area. The cows love to come to the fence and check us out. After picture time, we also allow the public in to see the goats (remember that if you can’t get a ticket for goat yoga!).

Now, the 2017 season is sadly over – time for more reflection and planning.  But we will be back in March 2018!  Come spring, the goats that were babies in 2017 will all be mothers. Babies goats are expected each month from February until April, and of course our new brood will become part of the yogi crew. We’ll be at Cat’s Paw Winery every Saturday starting in March 2018. Tickets can be found at www.goatyogasc.com and be sure to check out our pictures on the Critter Creek Farm Facebook page.

Mercer House Estate Winery-Lexington, SC

Mercer House Estate Winery is a true rural farmstead winery. Producing field blended artisan crafted dry to semi-sweet muscadine blends and fruit wines. Owner and winemaker, Shannon Mercer, utilizes traditional Native American and time honored techniques. An estate winery only uses those grapes which it grows itself.

The tasting room just an old farm building, made cozy by Shannon and his wife Kim. The entire operation is truly a labor of love. The floor of the tasting room is laid over real pennies, each placed by hand by Shannon.

We sat down to enjoy a tasting with Shannon. A couple of ladies had just arrived ahead of us and we were able to catch up.

Our favorites were the Neal Anne, the BluePerry, the Sagaree, and the Bloody Hell Mary, Brought a bottle of the BluePerry and the Bloody Mary home. I mean, Bloody Mary Wine, so unique! Shannon makes the tasting a fun experience as he shares his knowledge of history and wine.

The winery sits on 12 acres and cultivates grapes from five onsite vineyards. A one mile walking nature trail winds the property and is open for winery customers to enjoy. The trail circles past the five vineyards, five scenic ponds and two serene creeks, offering the perfect city get-a-way. Stop by, grab a glass of wine and enjoy the nature trail.

West of Lexington, just minutes outside the city of Columbia. The winery is rural in every sense of the word, and I mean that as a huge compliment. Get out to the country, enjoy some hand crafted artisan wine, and enjoy nature and nature’s bounty at Mercer House Estate Winery. As we always remind, use the VinoWine app for details and directions.

Winery Escapade – Weekend 46

This past weekend was a lot of fun! Friday night we checked out a new restaurant in downtown Spartanburg called Mezcal. It was really nice and the food was great. We then checked out the new wine bar, Bond Street Wines, also in downtown Spartanburg. We met some fun people and had a very nice Merlot there.

Saturday morning started with breakfast at The Crepe Factory. So very tasty! We then headed toward the Charlotte area. Took a short detour to the antique store in Grover. Found some very nice wine glasses, a neat ice bucket and a lovely antique ring for me.From there we headed to Newton, NC to meet our friends Will & Pam at Catawba Farms Winery. The tasting room has not been open very long, only since August, but man do they have several lovely wines, the 4 of us shared a bottle of the Peach for the Stars and the Puh-leezeling – both of which came home with us! We also shared a cheese plate that consisted of pita bread, pimento cheese, a beer cheese, and hummus that was so very good!. We WILL be going back!

On the property there is a lovely bed & breakfast called the Peacock Inn at Catawba Farms. We hope to get to stay there sometime. Room rates are very reasonable.

On the 34 acres of the Farms, there are peacocks, this is Henry

bunnies,

goats,

pigs,

chickens,

one rooster,

2 cats – Sister Kitty & Lily Mouse

and one horse whose name is Major Tom

Michael (pictured with the rooster), one of the partners, was kind enough to let us meet all the animals on the property & tell us some of the history of the property and the winery.

We spent quite a while here, looking at animals and enjoying time and wine with our friends. I strongly recommend this winery to anyone who loves good wine, fun with friends and animals.

Winery Escapade – Weekend 45

Friday evening we had the pleasure of dining in Tryon, N.C. at an old favorite. The Caro-Mi Dining Room offers family style servings of Southern comfort food in a rustic cabin along the banks of the Pacolet River. The Caro-Mi does not serve alcohol, however brown bagging is allowed with a small service fee. So don’t hesitate to bring a bottle of your favorite local wine. I could perhaps pen an entire post about the Caro-Mi, but why not just go partake in this incredible dining experience for yourself. Keep in mind though, reservations are highly recommended.

Saturday our plan was to visit a couple which we had yet to get to. First stop is one we previously planned to visit, but ran short of time. Little River Winery is a beautiful historic property which also doubles as Summer Duck Farm. Owned by John Georgius, surrounding land acquisitions have expanded the farm to nearly 1400 acres.

The Greek revival style historic home, built in the early 1870’s, sits stately above the entrance driveway and vineyards.

Some of the wines offered which we most enjoyed included a German Riesling, and the silver medal wining Big Johns Red, a bold medium bodied blend with the Crawdad Creek label. Two different Cabernet blends, the silver medal winning Synergy which is 100% estate grown and the Infusion blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Island Breeze, a pineapple wine is also bottled under the Crawdad Creek label. We brought a bottle of the Riesling and the Big John’s Red home to add to our collection.

We left the winery and decided to stop at Town Creek Indian Mound state historic site. The site was incredibly interesting, informative, and fun.

We headed back towards Ablemerle and our final stop of the day, Stony Mountain Vineyards.

The winery sits atop Stony Mountain, part of the Uwharrie Mountain range. The winery offers incredible views from their tasting room and a small deck. The view looks out over the vineyard and valley below and upon a neighboring mountain. We were able to watch deer playing and grazing just below the vineyard. You can see the deer in the below pictures.

Winemaker Ken Furr owns the winery with his wife Marie whom we were fortunate to speak with. Daughter Laura poured our tasting, and we also met son Devron. Devron explained that their Chardonnay is extra crisp, so they like to describe it as more of a ChardonnHEY! European reds and whites are offered, and the winery is making some good fruit wines. The view is awesome and we look forward to getting back one day and taking a tour of the entire property. We enjoyed a bottle of Strawberry at the winery, and brought a bottle of the Songbird Blush home with us.

Sunday our super talented friend Alex Davis was playing at Owls Eye Vineyard. We are saddened that the winery is closing at the end of this month, yet we just couldn’t past the opportunity to see Alex perform. As his website states, Alex certainly isn’t your average piano bar man. Alex is a fellow alum of the University of South Carolina, and one the nicest individuals we know. He plays at wineries up and down the East Coast and certainly has began to build a following. We are thrilled to announce that Alex has agreed to write a guest blog for us. Look for it soon, and check out his Website for upcoming shows and to listen to his original music.

Another weekend Escapade comes to close. One note I want to pass on, as of this weekend Jenni and I have visited a total of 95 North Carolina wineries. We’re looking for recommendations as to which one should be number 100. Hoping to make a big deal out that special visit. Happy Weekend Wining!

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Winery Escapade – Weekend 44

Saturday Jenni and I headed toward the North Carolina Yadkin Valley AVA to revisit a couple of wineries which we had previously really enjoyed.

First stop the alluring French inspired Roaring River Vineyards in Traphill. The winery offer a diverse selection of wine, plus beer on tap. Chez Josephine’s, the onsite bistro offers small sandwich and charcuterie plates. We enjoyed a bottle of the Traminette on the porch patio while relaxing to the soothing sound of the rapids of the Roaring River.

The winery offers several cabins available for overnight accommodations plus an event venue. The cabins offer a real rustic elegance.

The scenery along the river is simply spectacular. We were fortunate to be given a tour by owner Tom Silvey.

The blog on their website is a very interesting read. Detailing owners Tom and Josephine Silvey’s planning and development of the vineyard and winery. Time to get going so we procured a bottle of the Traminette and the Viognier to take home with with us.

We headed back toward Yadkinville to visit Brandon Hills Vineyard. This winery first established in 2005, closed up for awhile. Purchased by Larry Müller, the tasting room was completely remodeled and the winery is back open for business. Brandon Hills has an excellent White Merlot which we were more than excited to try again. Larry is great fun to visit with and we expect him to enjoy much future success. The view from the porch overlooking the vineyard is fabulous.

We couldn’t resist bringing a bottle of the White Merlot home, and also the gold medal winning Amoretto Amore.

Sunday we drove over to see our friends Charles and Anne at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards just outside of Shelby. They were hosting a 75th birthday party for a young lady and thereby quite busy. We got a glass of wine and relaxed in the back barn where we made some nice new friends.

Just couldn’t leave without picking up another bottle of the CD Baker 2016 Cab Sauv Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Read our blog review about this bold wine.
With that another weekend escapade comes to a close. Happy Weekend Wining!

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