In late September, my boyfriend’s mom orchestrated a girl’s-only wine trip in the Yadkin Valley area of North Carolina. A group of 30 women, ranging from early 20s to early 80s, met early in the morning and hopped on a bus, which drove us to three different wineries during the day. I’d met some of the women before but not many, and it was really nice to get to know them.
Our first stop was Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery. We were given a behind-the-scenes tour to see how they actually make the wine, and were able to sample wines at various stages of the wine-making process to see how each step affected the taste, texture, etc.
Check out how cloudy this white wine looked – it wasn’t quite ready for mass consumption.
Our tour of Raffaldini finished with lunch inside the Italian-style villa and a wine tasting. Throughout the day, I stuck mostly to reds because I don’t normally like white wine – it was until I visited The Wine Feed in Raleigh last month that I finally discovered TWO white wines that I liked! The Sangiovese Reserve was the best wine I had at Raffaldini, so a few bottles came home with me.
Next, we made a quick detour to Laurel Gray Vineyards. This winery makes the most amazing chocolate wine sauce, and I think our group bought their entire stock of the chocolate sauce! I snagged a few pictures while everyone was inside making purchases – I thought this was the prettiest place we visited all day.
Finally, we stopped at Shadow Springs Vineyard, which recently opened about to the public a few years ago. One of the owners brought us downstairs for the wine tasting, and he was so knowledgeable about wine. An interesting fact I learned was that planting roses at the end of each row helps to show how healthy the grapes are. If the roses look sick, then the grapes are likely sick too. I always thought the roses were just for decoration, but was fascinated to learn that they serve a purpose too.
Here again I tried some delicious reds. The green asterisks denote which wines I tried. I don’t think I bought any here, but definitely enjoyed the ones I sampled.
On the way back to Charlotte, we stopped at the Shiloh General Store to stock up on sweets. It’s an Amish bakery, and just like at Laurel Gray, we cleaned out the bakery of all their huge cinnamon rolls, breads, fried apple pies and cookies.
This trip motivated me to get out and explore other North Carolina vineyards and wineries. While this state is known for sweet Muscadine wines, it produces some really great wines that I must try. I know my girl friends will be up for our own girls wine trip!