Forget what you’ve heard about California wine country and get ready to learn everything about North Carolina wine country! In the scenic state of North Carolina there are about 200 wineries and vineyards and heading to one is one of the best things to do in North Carolina!
A vineyard is where the grapes are grown, and a winery is where the wine is produced and it might surprise you there are so many in North Carolina. This state is the place where every major type of grape is grown. It’s also home to America’s first grape, as it was the birthplace of the scuppernong.
Interestingly, before the prohibition, North Carolina was the largest wine producer in the country. Yadkin Valley is the Napa Valley of the East Coast. There are actually five AVAs throughout the Tarheel State. This refers to American Viticultural Areas, where each area has a distinct climate and soil type for growing different grapes.
The grapes here are grown at a wide range of elevations as well, as the landscape ranges from mountainous to coastal. Each NC winery has its own stunning setting, array of varietals, and special Carolina character. Let’s dig into some of the best NC wineries the state has to offer.
Best North Carolina Wineries
Tucked away near the Yadkin River, Raffaldini rests on 102 acres of pastoral paradise and one of those perfect NC wineries. This winery near Wilkesboro, makes classic Italian dry wines using the Appassimento method. This is a traditional process of using dehydrated grapes in the production of the wines. It’s a difficult method but they are truly top-notch at it. Here, you will find that the reds are bold and the whites delicate.
You can go for a guided tour of the vineyard or a tasting. Peruse their gourmet deli counter for the perfect pairings with their Sangiovese Classico or Vermentino. The Tuscan Villa is transportive, surrounded by Italian herbs and ravishing roses, interspersed with fig and olive trees, all drenched with Carolina sunshine. It’s a favorite in the state, and one of the best North Carolina wineries.
Located in Tryon, Overmountain is family owned, offering wonderful estate wines from over 70 acres of vineyard. They grow French vinifera, resulting in charismatic Cabernets and Merlots. Their methods to develop these distinctive, handcrafted styles of wine are innovative, to say the least. Sipping wine on their porch and taking in the sweeping scenery of majestic mountains is a uniquely restorative experience.
Delve into the history of the Overmountain men with a tasting and tour through the lush vineyards. The tasting room is a quaint cottage overlooking the foothills. If you can’t bring yourself to leave this serene setting, we don’t blame you – stay overnight in the luxury villas on site.
Beloved in Lexington, Childress has an award-winning reputation among the North Carolina wineries. With 30 different varietals, there is something for every preference and pallet. With 15 types of European Vitis vinifera cultivars, the humid climate and red clay soil serve to create the distinctive and delectable flavor profiles of their wines.
There are three different flights to choose from for the tasting, each more enchanting than the next. They have a full-service restaurant in-house, Bistro. Don’t let the former NASCAR fame of the owner Richard Childress fool you – this is a truly luxe experience. They have many accolades under their belt to prove it.
This iconic Asheville estate boasts an impressive NC winery as well and is one of the best things to do in Asheville. Asheville is all known for its breweries, but you can also have amazing wine here. It’s in the heart of Antler Hill Village on the Vanderbilt grounds. They serve an array of reds, whites, and roses, and they offer a behind-the-scenes tour and tasting, as well as a chocolate and red wine tasting that is to die for. The on-site sommelier will take you through the impeccable selection of vintages.
The deftly designed indoor and outdoor space provides gourmet charcuterie to pair with your pick. There’s plenty to discover at the Biltmore including the largest private home in the country, endless nature trails, manicured gardens, shops, and restaurants. The breathtaking beauty of the sprawling setting and ornate home is worth the trip for a day full of classic elegance.
This family-owned vineyard is found in Monroe, North Carolina just southeast of Charlotte. Truly an enchanting experience, it’s named after the few adorable treehouses you will see delightfully scattered about grounds. The original treehouse is 30 feet in the air and overlooks the verdant vineyard, and two others have joined its charming company since. They are rented by the hour and one is even available overnight as well.
They make a mean Cab Sav and Merlot, as well as some scrumptious Muscadine wines which are native to the area. Their grounds stretch far and wide with plenty to wander and explore and many a cozy spot to relax with a glass. They also sell gourmet specialty southern goodies. Where else can you appreciate a nice glass of wine from a tiny home up among the pines?
Nestled in the famed Yadkin Valley in Dobson, this vineyard shares a similar climate to some of the best wine-growing areas in Europe. They grow several varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes including Chardonnay, Malbec, Riesling, and Tannat. The wines reflect the special terroir of the valley. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the views are unbeatable. The grounds are landscaped and the vines pruned. They also feature a sparkling pond and walking trails to explore.
An expansive gravity flow winery, they are one of the largest on the East Coast. They are committed to sustainable farming practices, something you can learn more about by touring their space. The tour and tastings are very informative and educational. There is a restaurant next door serving up southern comfort cuisine that hits the spot.
Native Vines Winery
This is the first Indigenous-owned winery in the country by members of the Lumbee tribe. It lies on 36 acres of woodland and pastures in Lexington. Keep your eye out for arrowheads as you explore the ancient native grounds.
They produce natural olde-world style wines with various Vitis vinifera and several fruit blends as well. They offer dry and semi-sweet reds and whites. They have also invented the first Green Tea Wines which are as refreshing and delicious as they are creative. Food trucks and live music are frequent affairs on their expansive grounds. Both quiet and quaint, this is the perfect low-key spot to enjoy a glass in the scenic sunshine with a real rural feel.
Botanist and Barrel
This is an experimental winery making their own rules as they create new and exciting offerings. There are tours of the winery as well as u-pick flowers on site. They aim to create minimalistic wines with no additives, no sulfites, and no filtering using the most local, organic, and sustainable ingredients.
This is raw and live wine, which is hard to find anywhere else around. They contain little to no residual sugars and are low calorie. They make dry fruit wines to be savored in their cozy tasting room or lush outdoor space – feel free to BYOB (bring your own blanket). New on the scene, they have already made quite the splash.
Cypress Bend Vineyards
Hidden away in Wagram, this vineyard grows three different types of the classic Muscadine grape. They offer 16 varietals of wine ranging from dry to semi-sweet, all finely balanced. Committed to exploring the possibilities of the Muscadine, this wide selection includes Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
They have a tasting room and boutique, both with a warm and comfortable atmosphere. The tasting space features a sweeping veranda for idyllic views of the vineyard. We recommend going for Jazzy Fridays for the full experience. You also get a complimentary wine glass with your tasting for a fun souvenir.
They have been granted many awards for elevating the sweet profile of the muscadine to soaring new levels in the wine world. A relaxed and familiar environment, this is one of the best North Carolina Wineries to visit.
Duplin is the oldest winery in the state, starting in 1975 and drinking wine here is perhaps one of the best things to do in North Carolina. They can be found in the cute hamlet of Rose Hill, in Eastern North Carolina. Visit their state-of-the-art production facility for a tour of the largest indoor enterprise on the East Coast. You can witness the process firsthand, from start to finish.
They have a range of award-winning sweet wines. During the tasting, you will learn about the 5 Ss of wine – sight, smell, swirl, sip, and savor. Enjoy more than a dozen samples while discovering the nuanced ways of the wine connoisseur. As soon as you walk in the door, you know this winery specializes in Southern hospitality. Chock full of history and rustic charm, you will fall in love with these sweet wines from coastal Carolina.
The tasting room at Daveste is something special. It’s a vaulted open-beam frame overlooking the natural wonders of a sparkling pond and cascading waterfall. It also features an art gallery with selected works from local artists. They produce reds and whites including, a Chambourcin and a Viognier. Be sure to try their fan favorite, Portrait wine.
They host many outdoor events throughout the year, such as live music and vendor fairs. All of their wines are created in small batches for a more curated craft feel. The beverages here are available in any form – glass, bottle, or flight. Tucked away in Troutman, bliss and harmony await you at Daveste.
Divine Llama Vineyards
Heading to the Divine Llama Vineyards is one of the best weekend getaways to have in North Carolina. On almost one hundred acres of serene rolling hills in Yadkin Valley, this winery is more than meets the eye. It’s home to the largest llama farm in the Southeast, making for an incredibly unique vineyard experience. They grow four different varieties of grapes – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonel, and Traminette, creating 11 types of wines.
Hike two miles along Miller Creek with one of their furry friends, starting and finishing at the tasting room, where a glass will be awaiting your arrival. During the weekends, it’s food truck heaven for all kinds of local tasty fares to try. This East Bend gem is one-of-a-kind.
Linville Falls Winery
Family owned and operated, this winery has been a flagship in the North Carolina Highcountry for many years. Nestled in a fertile valley close to the Linville Gorge, the vines are thriving in this lush Appalachian environment. Their flagship grape is the Reisling, but they’re also growing Seyval Blanc, Noiret, and Petit Verdot, to name a few.
At 3,200 feet in elevation along the Blue Ridge Parkway, they are part of one of the newer AVA’s that has been established. Their sprawling farm is also nurturing many kinds of berries as well as apples, pumpkins, and Christmas trees seasonally. Enjoy the tasting bar or table service in the breathtaking backdrop.
The falls themselves are a short hike or quick drive away, and we highly recommend making the journey as it’s all part of the magic. Their relaxing atmosphere and triumphant tastes create the perfect place to slow down and appreciate what nature can offer.
Acclaimed as one of the best North Carolina wineries, JOLO is known for making revered East Coast wines. They use stainless steel to ferment their whites and roses, and oak for their reds. The estate is a picturesque, pristine scene that focuses on the natural beauty of the site, which features Cox Lake and Pilot Mountain.
There are many nature trails to explore the jaw-dropping landscape of the grounds. The grape varietals for the whites are Traminette and Vidal Blanc. For the reds, there are petit verdot, cynthiana, and merlot, to name a few. They are all dry and were selected specifically for the particular climate of the area. The standard flight here is seven wines – a sparkling, a white, a rose, three reds, and a dessert wine. The End Posts restaurant on-site serves up fabulous fares for any meal.
The patios at Burntshirt overlook the vineyards and the Blue Ridge Mountains at the highest altitudes around. This is our favorite vineyard to view the sunset, as they seem to be endless from this vantage point. Somehow, the reds taste better with the fiery, glowing sun sinking in front of you. They have their own food truck for pairings as well.
They offer Sweet and Dry Riesling, Malbec, Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, and more. There are two fabulous flights available at the tasting room. The vineyard is dog friendly so feel free to arrive with a furbaby in tow. Hunker down here in Hendersonville for a good time or check out their Chimney Rock location for a charming retreat.
Their production facilities feature cutting edge equipment, including a crush pad where freshly picked fruits are de-stemmed and pressed for all the natural juices. Take a tour to learn more about the technical process at Burntshirt.