Joe Brock

NC Wine Month 2017 Kickoff Event

NC Wine Month 2017 Kickoff Event

September is North Carolina Wine Month!  For the first time ever, there will be a kickoff event to get things started!  We’ve been busy helping plan this event.  Here’s a rundown of the activities.

The kickoff event is geared toward North Carolina Media, Bloggers, and Wine Industry folks.  The goal is to profile North Carolina Wines from across the state and provide media and bloggers with information to use in stories, blog posts, and social media posts throughout the month of September.

The event will be held at the Pavilion at Childress Vineyards in Lexington on August 29th.  Registration will begin at 1pm with the event starting at 2pm.  Richard Childress is scheduled to kick things off with a welcome.  Richard will introduce Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, who will make remarks.  Commissioner Troxler will then introduce Governor Roy Cooper.  Governor Cooper will make remarks.  Then he will sign the executive proclamation declaring September as North Carolina Wine and Grape Month and present the proclamation to Richard Childress.  Richard will thank the Governor and turn the event over to us!

We will make remarks of our own.  Then we will explain the tasting event that is about to take place.  A small group of wineries and one meadery from across the state will participate the tasting event.  Wines will encompass the gamut from dry to sweet from vinifera to hybrids to muscadine to honey.  The following wineries are confirmed for the tasting event:

The tasting will be a “speed” tasting.  Guests will seated at tables through the Pavilion.  Wineries will be given five minutes with each table to pour and talk about their wine and their story.  After the five minutes, the wineries will move to the next table until every table has experienced all the wines.  Guests are encouraged to:

  • Swirl – Take a moment to swirl the wine in the glass to get some air into it.
  • Smell – Stick one’s nose right into the glass and sniff.
  • Sip – Take the wine into one’s mouth, swish it around,  and see how it tastes.
  • Spit – This is important as there will be several wines to taste.  We want this to be a safe event, and we want everyone to appreciate all of the wines!  Spit cups, dump buckets, and water will be provided on each table.
  • Post – Talk about the wines on social media!  We hope we’ll have several folks posting about EVERY wine!  And don’t forget those hashtags #NCWine and #NCWineMonth!

Following the conclusion of the tasting event, wineries from across the state will be available to talk with media and bloggers.

We hope this event becomes an annual one that will move around the state and feature different wineries every year.  Follow the conversation on social media using hashtags #NCWine and #NCWineMonth!


Posted by Joe Brock in NC Wine Month, 2 comments
NC State Fair Wine Competition

NC State Fair Wine Competition

The North Carolina State Fair is held every October at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.  Each year as part of the State Fair, a wine competition is also held.  There are two categories.  One is the Commercial Category.  The other is the Amateur Category.  Changes have been made to competition.  Let’s talk about the Commercial Category specifically!

The first change involves requirements for the entered wine to be at least 75% from North Carolina.  This means wines must be made from grapes, other fruit, or honey of which 75% came from North Carolina.  It is the North Carolina State Fair after all.  The product should reflect the terroir of North Carolina.  Winning wines will have their contents verified by the North Carolina Wine & Grape Council.

The second change is the winning categories.  The new categories are:

  • Best Bunch Grape Wine – This category is for wines made from Vitis Vinifera (wine grapes) and hybrids grapes.
  • Best Muscadine Wine – This category is for wines made from a variety of Muscadine grapes.
  • Best Fruit / Honey Wine – This category is for wines made from non-grape fruits or meads.

Wines will be judged blind using the 20 point American Wine Society scale.  Here’s a break down of the scoring:

  • Appearance – 3 points maximum
  • Aroma / Bouquet – 6 points maximum
  • Taste / Texture – 6 points maximum
  • Aftertaste – 3 points maximum
  • Overall Impression – 2 points maximum

Wines will be served at the correct temperature for each varietal.  Appropriate glassware will also be used as Riedel has graciously donated tasting glasses for the event.

The competition is moving this year.  In most years the competition is held in Raleigh.  This year the competition will be held in Dobson at Shelton-Badgett North Carolina Center for Viticulture & Enology at Surry Community College.  The competition begins on Friday, August 18, 2017, with an opening reception and training for the judges.  Wine judging will take place Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20, 2017.

Speaking of judges, that’s where we come in!  We’re very excited to have been invited to judge this year’s competition.  Joining us will be American Wine Society Certified Wine Judges, other area bloggers, and area media.  Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a behind the scenes look at the competition.

Results of the competition will be posted on the NC State Fair‘s website and the NC Wine & Grape Council‘s website.  We’ll, of course, share the results when they are publicly available.

For more details about the competition, see the official rules here.

Thanks for your support of #NCWine!  Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
June, 2017 Visit – Leicester, NC Wineries/Vineyards

June, 2017 Visit – Leicester, NC Wineries/Vineyards

We continue a look back at our mid-June wine visit to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  Day Two took us northwest of Asheville to Leicester, NC.  Leicester is about 30 minutes from downtown Asheville.  It’s an easy and beautiful drive.  Located in Leicester are Fontaine Vineyards and Addison Farms Vineyard.

Fontaine Vineyards

Stunning View at Fontaine Vineyards

After several wrong turns, we made it to Fontaine Vineyards.  This was our first visit!  Google was a bit confused that morning and had us on a wrong road.  We were glad to finally see the main entrance.  As we drove up and around the vineyard we were awestruck by the view.  Mountains were all around.  The vineyard was small and quaint.


Jackie, co-owner with her husband Michel, quickly greeted us upon our arrival.  She gave us a quick overview of their story.  Fontaine is focused on growing European grapes (mostly French) and making small allotments of wine.  They also cater to those looking to get married and function several times a month as a wedding venue particularly in the warmer months.

Tastevin used for Tastings at Fontaine Vineyards

The tastings are done inside the wine cellar.  You won’t find a tasting glass here though.  Instead, Jackie presented us with a metal Tastevin from which to drink.  A tastevin is a metal saucer like cup.  Created by Burgundian winemakers to enable them to judge a wine for clarity and color in a dim wine cellar, the tastevin certainly made for a unique tasting experience.

We tasted the following wines:

  • 2016 Merlot – Dark cherry and plum greeted you on the nose and carried through to the palate.  This wine was somewhat jammy yet quite tannic.  We left with a bottle of this.
  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – Soft cherry and black currant describe this wine well.  It also had some woodiness on the palate.
  • 2015 Riesling – A floral nose gave way to a fruity palate and just a touch of sweetness.  Soft and delicate also come to mind when describing this wine.


Ham & Cheese Crêpe at Fontaine Vineyards

Jackie and Michel make crêpes for their guests.  You can choose from savory or sweet.  We went the savory route and had a delicious ham and cheese crêpe while seated on the patio.  The crêpe was just as you would hope to find from a native French cook.  Jackie gladly poured us a glass of the yet to be release Pinot Noir Rosé.  It turned out to be our favorite wine.   The nose smelled of overripe strawberries while watermelon predominated the palate.  Sadly, we couldn’t take any with us.

As we finished out our glass, Jackie pointed out that in the distance you could see Addison Farms and clearly a storm headed that way.  We wrapped up our visit in hopes of making it to Addison Farms before the storm did.

Addison Farms Vineyard

Addison Farms Road Sign

Addison Farms is only about five minutes away from Fontaine.  However, we did not beat the storm.  Luckily, the rain was not heavy, so we ventured inside.


We began our tasting with a couple of unique wines from Alchemy Herbal Wine.  These wines are meads made with honey, herbs, and spices.  Griffin Abee, the meadmaker, works with the fine folks at Addison Farms.  We encourage you to try these refreshing and unique wines!

Alchemy Herbal Wine – Love

Here are our notes for the herbal wines:

  • Love – This mead is made with honey (of course), pomegranate juice, rose petals, ginger, cardamon, vanilla, and damiana.  A floral nose with hints of ginger and cardamon gave way to a slightly sweet and refreshing palate with just a hint of tartness.
  • Prosperity – This mead is made with honey, cinnamon, clove, star anise, nutmeg, and allspice.  The nose gave spices with a bit of a woodiness and a good smell of honey.  The palate was tart and woody as well.  We enjoyed both of these.

We then moved on to Addison Farms’ wines to finish the tasting.  Here are our notes:

  • 2015 Crown & Plough Rosé of Sangiovese – We loved this wine.  We came home with a bottle.  A strawberry nose with strawberry and raspberry on the palate make for a delightful rosé.  The palate is also slightly tart with good acidity.
  • 2013 Mischief – Tempranillo – Vanilla, leather, cherry, and a touch of caramel show both on the nose and on the palate.  Pair this with lighter Spanish dishes.
  • 2014 Five Twenty-Nine – Barbera – We adore Barbera and this one is one of the best in NC.  It was part of the NC Fine Wines Case for 2017.  Cocoa and black currant invite you on the nose.  Warm cherry with more cocoa and black currant carry through on the palate.
  • 2013 Coming Home – Cabernet Sauvignon – Notes of pepper and spice show on the nose.  Tart cherry with some leather present on the palate.
  • Smokehouse Red – This is a blend of Chambourcin and Sangiovese.  Cocoa and cherry scents greet you on the nose.  The cherry continues on the palate along with vanilla, caramel, and slight hit of smoke.
  • Gratitude – This port-style wine is made from Chambourcin.  Mocha and raspberry are key descriptors here.  When paired with dark chocolate notes of caramel appear.

Tour with Jeff

Jeff Frisbee, co-owner along with his wife Dianne, arrived in the Tasting Room during our tasting.  He was supposed to give a tour at 2pm, but the tour folks were no shows.  Luckily for us, that meant we got the tour with just ourselves and Jeff.  Also, luckily, the rain had stopped.  We headed out for a walk to the the winery.

Addison Farms is very much a family operation.  Jeff and Dianne started this vineyard as a way to preserve Jeff’s family’s farm which once belonged to his maternal grandparents.  The first acre of vines was planted in 2009.  Another acre and a half was planted in 2010.  Currently, six acres are under vine.  Cabernet Sauvignon was the first planted.  Also, in the vineyard are Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Montepulicano, Petit Verdot, and Petit Manseng.  In addition, they manage two additional acres in Leicester and purchase fruit from other North Carolina growers.

Vineyards at Addison Farms

After the visit to the winery where Jeff walked us through crush, we head to the vineyard.  Jeff strives to make food friendly wines and makes his picking decisions based on acid rather than Brix. He produces around 1000 cases a year.  The business plan calls for having 10 acres under vine.  He says Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are the easiest to deal with in the vineyard.

Barrels in the Barrel Room at Addison Farms

We ended our tour in the barrel room which sits under the tasting room.  The barrel room has space for 50-60 barrels while another 25 or so are in the winery itself.

We finished the tour and returned to the tasting room to make our purchases and say our goodbyes.

The next time you’re in the Asheville area, be sure to carve out time to visit Leicester and these unique vineyards.  Tell them we sent you.

You can find details of our day one adventures to Burntshirt Vineyards and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards on our blog.  Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
June, 2017 – Visit to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

June, 2017 – Visit to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

We continue a look back at our mid-June wine visit to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  Our second stop was Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards.

Saint Paul Mountain is located in Hendersonville.  Luckily for us, it’s also near our first stop of the day, Burntshirt Vineyards.  This made for a quick trip.

As we drove by the old family barn, the future home of Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders, we saw a bustle of activity and hoped to be able to get a tour of the progress.  We parked at Saint Paul Mountain just as Barbara, the tasting room manager, was about to leave.  Luckily for us, she stopped when she saw us.  We chatted for a bit and then started walking over to the barn.


Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders

Appalachian Ridge is a new cider bar that will be opening soon.  Not only will it have artisan hard ciders, it will also have some artisan spirits including their take on Calvados, an Apple Brandy.  We toured the main bar area upstairs.  Then we went downstairs to see some private rooms that have been created from old stables.  Finally, we headed back outside to the new deck.  The large deck contains a full covered bar and has a beautiful view of the orchard.

Hundreds of newly planted apple tree from Normandy

The orchard itself is undergoing a bit of transformation with the addition of hundreds of apple trees from Normandy.  Like vinifera grape vines, these European apple trees are grafted onto American rootstock to allow them to thrive in the North Carolina soil.

The restoration of the barn and the changes since our last visit are amazing.  Keep your eyes out for the Grand Opening announcement.  You won’t want to miss it!


Tasting with Fran

We finally reached the tasting room and took a seat.  We were glad to find our favorite band teacher / wine taster working that day.  We met Fran a couple of years ago at the North Carolina Winegrowers Association Conference.  Fran has a bubbly personality and quick wit that will keep you in stitches.  She lead us through a full tasting.  Below are some of our notes.

White Wines and Dry Cider

  • 2015 Chardonnay – This stainless steel aged Chardonnay presented crisp and clean with notes of apple and pineapple.
  • 2015 Barrel Aged Chardonnay – This Chardonnay spent 10 months in French oak.  It had a buttered apple nose with notes of apple, pear, and light oak on the palate.
  • 2015 Vidal Blanc – This wine had a nice acidity with notes of orange and lemon along with tart green apple.
  • 2015 Laurel Hill – This is also a Vidal Blanc, but it has just a touch (2%) of residual sugar.  The nose showed pure orange peel.  The palate gave Meyer lemon and key lime.
  • 2016 Centennial Farm Heritage – This dry Riesling had a classic Riesling nose with a hint of petrol, commonly found with Riesling.  The palate presented big grapefruit.  Nicely tart, this was our favorite white.
  • 2016 Lower Vineyard – Another Riesling but this one had just a touch of residual sugar (1.5%).  The nose was floral with lots of citrus.  The flavors of sweet peach and honeysuckle predominated.
  • 2015 Rosarie – This slightly effervescent rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon had notes of strawberry and a hint of caramel.
  • Wallace #1 Artisan Hard Cider – The original hard cider produced by Saint Paul Mountain is made from seven different varieties of apple with strong apple flavors from nose to palate.

Red Wines

  • 2015 Queen – A Cabernet Franc which spent 6 months in oak, presented cherry and vanilla on the nose with cherry flavors carrying through to the palate.
  • 2014 Chestnut East Reserve – A red blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah, leather and oak showed on the nose.  The palate had flavors of cherry, plum, and caramel.  This was our favorite wine overall.
  • Jasper – Another red blend but this one has Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  Notes of plum, vanilla, and cherry showed on the nose.  The cherry and vanilla carried over the palate with a smooth finish.
  • 2013 Petit Verdot – This was another favorite of the reds.  With a caramel nose and smooth dark plum on the palate, it kept us wanting more.

Dessert Wines

  • Chestnut Gap Cottage – Our first dessert wine and made from 100% blackberries.  It showed those blackberries from nose to palate.  The pairing with dark chocolate just intensified the blackberry flavor.
  • Home Place – This is another 100% blackberry wine, but unlike the previous one, this one has been back-sweetened.  The blackberry was more pronounced on the nose than the Chestnut Gap Cottage and obviously the palate was more sweet.
  • Vin Chocolate Du Barrista – This was our favorite dessert wine.  The wine begins with a Merlot base that is infused with coffee, white chocolate, and vanilla.  Coffee predominates on the nose.  The palate is a playful dance between coffee and cherry.

Visit with Alan

Following our tasting with Fran, we took a minute to visit with Alan Ward.  He is the owner and visionary of both Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Ciders.   We discussed a variety of wine, cider and spirit topics.  Alan has a great vision for growing his business and the North Carolina Wine, Cider, and Spirits industry.  Those industries are fortunate to have someone like Alan!

Vineyards outside Saint Paul Mountain’s Tasting Room

We said our goodbyes and headed to the see Fran once more to purchase some wine to take back with us.  This concluded our day in Hendersonville, and we headed for Asheville.  Stay tuned next week for the final blog on this trip!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
June, 2017 –  Visit to Burntshirt Vineyards

June, 2017 – Visit to Burntshirt Vineyards

In mid-June, we planned a weekend getaway.  We headed to the Hendersonville / Asheville area.  The trip allowed us to relax, visit a “new to us” winery, and revisit other wineries in the area.  Here are some of the highlights from our visit to Burntshirt Vineyards, our first stop of the weekend.

After we parked, André, the new general manager at Burtshirt, promptly greeted us.  He then took us inside to get started on our tasting.  Burntshirt always treats the blogging community as honored guests.  They’re so hospitable and accommodating.


We began our tasting with the 2015 Grüner Veltliner.  Burntshirt is possibly the only vineyard growing and producing a standalone varietal from Grüner.  The tart apple notes with a bit of peach made for a refreshing start to our tasting.  We then moved on to the 2016 Vidal Blanc followed by the 2013 O Cellars Reserve Chardonnay.

Next, we moved to red wines and started with the 2014 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Franc.  We followed that with the 2015 O Cellars Reserve Heritage and the 2015 O Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  We finished with the 2014 Apple wine.

Our favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot making up the other 14%.  It had been aged nearly 2 years in 75% new French Oak.  It presented notes of tobacco, cocoa, leather and dark cherry.  This cab finished even and smooth!  We left with a bottle.

The Horse Barn at Burntshirt Vineyards


Following our tasting André took us on a little tour of the grounds.  We saw gardens, the Vintner’s Cottage (which you can rent for an overnight stay), and the Shed (where you can find unique gifts).  We particularly enjoyed the visit to the Horse Barn which has been refurbished into an event space.

Our next stop on the tour was the winery itself.  There we met Preston, Burntshirt’s new winemaker.  Preston took us on a little tasting tour.  We sampled white wines from the tank.  These wines were used in a white wine blending event that was held at the end of June.  We tasted through the 2016 Vidal Blanc, 2016 Chardonnay, and 2016 Traminette.  All were vibrant and crisp with good acidity.

We then moved on to reds.  First, we tasted a free run 2016 Merlot from the tank.  It had big oak notes with plum and caramel.  Finally, we moved to the crush pad were we sampled the 2016 Merlot again straight from the barrel.  It showed more fruity and light then the free run merlot.

As a side note, free run is the juice that flows during crushing and de-stemming but just before pressing.  Typically free run juice is combined with pressed juice for the final product.

Wine Barrels at Burntshirt Vineyards

We thanked Preston for the tour of the winery and André for being such a gracious host.  We made our purchases and headed on to our next stop.

If you haven’t visited Burntshirt, please plan a visit!  You won’t be disappointed.  Tell them we sent you! Cheers!


Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
Unofficial Wine Holiday List

Unofficial Wine Holiday List

Wine and holidays go hand and hand.  Whether is having wine to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s OR celebrating wine itself, it’s important to celebrate with gusto!  Below are is our unofficial list of wine holidays that we’ve taken from various sources.  Use this as your guide for what to drink and when!  Also, be sure to join the conversation on social media by tagging the official wine holiday pages/account.  Don’t forget those hashtags too!  They’re even more important!

Month Day Holiday Facebook Twitter Instagram Hashtag
February 18 National Drink Wine Day @drinkwineday @drinkwineday #DrinkWineDay
Last Saturday Open That Bottle Night @OpenThatBottleNight @OpenThatBtl #OTBN
March 3 National Mulled Wine Day #MulledWineDay
April 17 Malbec World Day @celebratemalbecworldday @MalbecWorldDay @MalbecWorldDay #MalbecWorldDay
24 International Sauvignon Blanc Day #SauvBlancDay
May 9 National Moscato Day #MoscatoDay
25 National Wine Day @wineday @wineday @nationalwineday #NationalWineDay
Thursday before Memorial Day International Chardonnay Day @ChardonnayDay @Chardonnay_day @Chardonnay_day #ChardDay
June Second Saturday National Rosé Day @nationalroseday @nationalroseday #NationalRoséDay
August 1 National Albariño Day #AlbariñoDay
First Saturday Mead Day #MeadDay
14 International Rosé Day #RoséDay
18 Pinot Noir Day #PinotNoir
August / September Thursday before
Labor Day
International Cabernet Day #CabernetDay
September All Month NC Wine Month @ncwines @ncwines @ncwines #NCWineMonth
International Grenache Day @GrenacheDay @grenacheday @grenacheday #GrenacheDay
October Second
Drink Local Wine Week @DrinkLocalWine @DrinkLocalWine #DrinkLocal
November 7 International Merlot Day #MerlotDay
Second Thursday International Tempranillo Day @TempranilloDay #TempranilloDay
Third Wednesday Zinfandel Day #ZinDay
Third Thursday Beaujolais Nouveau Day @BeaujolaisNow #BeaujolaisNouveau
24 Carménère Day @CarmenereDay #CarmenereDay
December 4 Cabernet Franc Day @CABFRANCDAY #CabFrancDay
5 Prohibition Repeal Day @RepealDay &
@RepealDay #RepealDay
20 National Sangria Day #SangriaDay
31 Champagne or other Sparkling Wine Day #SparklingWineDay



In addition to the holidays above don’t forget these weekly celebrations:

  • #WineWednesday – This is a weekly celebration of wine on social media.  It often trends, so it’s a great way to join a larger social media conversation.
  • #SundayFunday – This is another weekly celebration of fun things to do on a Sunday.  It also treads on social media.

And ALWAYS remember to use #NCWine (NOT #ncwines) when talking about North Carolina Wine on social media!  #NCWine has a larger post volume and is more recognizable!  Finally, #DrinkLocal is also another great national hashtag to use.  Happy drinking and posting!  Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
NC Wineries Perfect for Summer Picnicking!

NC Wineries Perfect for Summer Picnicking!

Summer is the perfect time for a picnic!  It’s also the perfect time for wine.  Why not combine the two for a wonderful afternoon of fun?  Just pack your picnic basket and head to any of these wineries (or others in the state).  Here are some of our suggestions (in no particular order) for great wine and picnic adventures.

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Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard & Winery – Lawndale, NC
Baker Buffalo Creek is located in Lawndale, NC just northwest of Shelby in Cleveland County.  An old dairy farm that’s now a vineyard.  Its red barn has been featured in in a couple Hillshire Farms commercials.  Picnic in the sun, under a shade tree or underneath the covered porch or milk barn.  For wine, we recommend the Barrel-Aged Chardonnnay!  It’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery – Morganton, NC
Silver Fork sits near the South Mountains in Burke County. The view is stellar any time of year. Also, you don’t even have to pack a picnic here.  Enjoy the fantastic food from Farm to Fork Eatery.  You won’t be disappointed.  For wine, we recommend the Chardonnay which comes from some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the state!

Roaring River Vineyards – Traphill, NC
Roaring River sits right on the Roaring River not far from Stone Mountain State Park.  If you’re looking for a serene getaway, this is for you.  Sit on the deck by the river and listen to the water flow.  And don’t worry about being interrupted by a phone call.  Your cell phone probably won’t work here.  As an added bonus, food is available from their onsite restaurant, so “picnic” while enjoying full service.  We recommend the Viognier for your wine choice!

Parker-Binns Vineyard & Winery – Mill Spring, NC
Parker-Binns is located in Polk County between Forest City and Hendersonville and not far from Lake Lure.  Enjoy views of the vineyard and surrounding mountains.  If you come on Sundays, enjoy free wood fired pizza from the oven.  There’s often live music too.  And say cheese, as you’re bound to get your photo taken for sharing on Parker-Binns Facebook page.  We recommend the Rosé which will pair with anything you’re eating!

Hanover Park Vineyard – Yadkinville, NC
Hanover Park is the oldest winery in Yadkin County and oldest continuously operated winery in the Yadkin Valley.  Enjoy a picnic out in the sun or under one of the large, old shade trees near the over 100 year old farmhouse which serves as the tasting room.  We recommend the Viognier.  It goes perfectly with a warm summer day.

Davesté Vineyards – Troutman, NC
Davesté Vineyards is located in Troutman, NC near Lake Norman. Picnic underneath the trees or under the covered pavilion. Live music is often featured. There’s also Davesté beer for those who prefer beer to wine.  For the wine choice, we recommend the Rkatsiteli!  Davesté is the only winery in North Carolina which produces an estate Rkatsiteli.

What are your favorite wine and picnic spots?  Leave us a comment or share with us on social media.  And on social media, don’t forget #NCWine!


Posted by Joe Brock in Food, Wine, Wineries and Vineyards, 0 comments
North Carolina Wines for Your 2016 Holiday Table

North Carolina Wines for Your 2016 Holiday Table

The holidays are here! It’s a time for celebration with family and friends which often means good food and good drink. With a growing industry and higher quality of wines, it is time to consider adding North Carolina wine to your holiday table. But where do you start? What should you pair with classic holiday foods? Well, we have some suggestions!

Holiday White Wines from North Carolina

  • Ham – Ham is a classic main course for any holiday. Riesling is a classic pairing with any ham. We recommend the new 2015 Estate Grown Dry Riesling from Dobbins Creek Vineyards ( This wine is the signature white at Dobbins Creek. It is one of the best in the state for Riesling. The nose has notes of pear and honey. It is classic Riesling. The palate continues with pear and honey before moving to a slight mineral note. The finish is crisp. The acidity is pleasing. You will not be disappointed with this pairing!
  • Turkey – Roast turkey is versatile. You can pair with a white wine or a lighter red wine.
    • For a white wine, pairing we recommend the 2014 Traminette from Misty Creek Vineyards ( Traminette is typically very floral with a nice spicy finish. This traminette is just that. The nose is almost perfumey. The palate has melon and good fruit. There are those hints of spice that you would expect as well.
    • For a red wine, we recommend the 2014 Cabernet Franc from Divine Llama Vineyards ( This wine has a nose of cherry and vanilla that carries through to the palate. There a good oaky note as well. It would be perfect with Cranberry Sauce!

Holiday Red Wines from North Carolina

  • Duck – Ah, duck! It is poultry that has the umph of a steak! Classically you would pair duck with a Pinot Noir. But, if you can’t find Pinot Noir, Chambourcin is a great substitute! We recommend the 2012 Chambourcin from Dover Vineyards ( This wine is made in same style as a New Zealand Pinot Noir. The nose has dark fruits with hints of spice. The palate is light cherry and hints of vanilla. The acidity of this wine is the perfect balance to the fattiness of duck.
  • Roast Beef – Roast beef is another holiday classic. Of course, this calls for a hearty red wine! We recommend 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mountain Brook Vineyards ( The nose is herbaceous with notes of cherries. This wine is big and bold with fruity notes along with hints of vanilla. It is perfect with roast beef or any red meat.
  • Lamb – Lamb is one meat where you either love it or hate it. We happen to love it. A classic pairing with lamb is a wine from the Rhône Valley of France. These wines are classically earthy. The recommended pairing of the 2013 Mourvèdre from Hanover Park Vineyard ( is just that! From the nose to the palate, there is an earthy quality throughout. There are also notes of cherry. This wine is velvety, but light. It is perfect with lamb, mushrooms or manchego cheese!
  • Roasted Vegetables – We don’t want all of our pairings to be wine and meat. Vegetables should be a big part of any holiday table. Some of our favorites are roasted carrots, parsnips, celery root, garlic, onion, sweet potato and/or butter number squash. This calls for a full-bodied white wine. We suggest the 2014 Barrel Aged Chardonnay from Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard & Winery ( The nose gives nice notes of oak with hints of butter. The butter carries through to the palate with notes of apples and pears as well. It also pairs well with any winter squash soup!

Holiday Dessert Wines from North Carolina

  • Palate Cleanser – Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from heavy food and cleanse the palate. A classic palate cleanser is lemon granita, but that can a lot of work. Continuously taking the granita out of the freezer, scraping the crystals with a fork, returning it to the freezer and the repeating the process for hours. Why not go with an easier route? We recommend chilling a bottle of Vino Limone from Elkin Creek Vineyards ( in your freezer. Take it out and give your guests a small serving to cleanse their palates. Or use this wine as dessert itself. It’s lemon wine fortified with brandy. The nose has notes of charred lemons. The palate is tart lemon with a slight sweetness. The lemon allows it to maintain a nice acidity. It’s perfect to cleanse the palate or just enjoy with dessert!
  • Chocolate Desserts – Decadent chocolate desserts call for port-style wines. They are perfect with rich chocolate or just by themselves on a cold night. We recommend the Midnight Run from Windsor Run Cellars ( This wine is made from Chambourcin and Petit Verdot and then fortified. There are notes of chocolate on the nose. The palate is warming with notes of cocoa and dark fruit. It’s the perfect way to end any holiday celebration!

Let us know your thoughts on these pairings! We’d love to hear what you think and what pairings you’ve come up on your own. For other food and North Carolina wine pairings, please see an earlier article on our blog. You can find it here:

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it be merry, bright and filled with North Carolina wine!


Posted by Joe Brock in Food, Wine, 0 comments

Lodi – Post-Wine Bloggers Conference Adventures

We made it through the rest of the conference. The sessions were good, but the networking and connection with fellow bloggers and the Lodi wine community were invaluable. We’re so thankful for the experiences we had.

With the conference over, we decided to head out and explore a bit more of the wine scene in Lodi. We also wanted to pick up wine to ship back to North Carolina. We first needed food, so we walked to downtown Lodi and grabbed a Panini at Wine Social ( After that we walked back and got in our rental car and headed out to gather wine and explore.

We decided we’d head east a bit. We needed to see some gently rolling hills after days of flat land. Our first stop was Bokisch Vineyards ( Bokisch specializes in Spanish varietals. They were tasting three of their Albariños side by side. Each was unique. We were really impressed by all of them. We moved on a few reds and then finished with our favorite wine, the 2014 Tizona Late Harvest Graciano. It was delightful with notes of dried cherry and spice!


Next on our list was Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards ( We just had to stop in here as we’re big fans of Rhône Valley style wines. Acquiesce did not disappoint! They only do white wines and a rosé made from Grenache. It was a perfect day for cool, crisp wine! We loved them all, but our favorite was the full bodied 2015 Roussanne. Its nose was apricots, almond and pear with a palate of pear and honey and a mineral-like finish. We also enjoyed a few freshly picked Viognier grapes and some freshly pressed Viognier juice! It was another unique experience in Lodi wine country!


The next stop was The Lucas Winery ( We had visited here on Thursday, but we need to pick up some wine. Sara greeted us again and offered us a small taste of the 2014 Chardonnay. It was perfect! We also shared with Sara and Mitra Lucas that Wine Enthusiast had shared Jameson Fink’s (Wine Enthusiast’s Senior Digital Editor) post on their 2001 Chardonnay. We tasted it during Live Blogging on Friday of the conference. They were delighted. Mitra was kind enough to offer us a bottle of that Chardonnay. We can’t wait to try it again! We made our purchases and moved along.

2001 Chardonnay from The Lucas Winery

2001 Chardonnay from The Lucas Winery

We decided with the heat we should drop off our wines at the hotel before heading to our next stop, Harney Lane Winery ( Our favorites from this stop were the 2015 Albariño and the 2013 Petite Sirah.


We ended our day at McCay Cellars ( We had the fortune of sitting at one of the McCay tables at the Saturday night dinner at the conference. Linda McCay was at our table. Her husband Mike McCay (also the winemaker) was at the other table. Given the wines we had sampled the night before, we were interested in seeing the rest of the lineup and to purchase wine to ship back to North Carolina. Our favorite was the 2013 Cinsaut. This Cinsaut was made from grapes that came from vines that were planted in 1886.   We certainly can’t find that in North Carolina!

We ended Sunday night early. We had more plans for Monday.

We started our day on Monday at Michael David Winery ( We were familiar with their wines as their flagship brands (7 Deadly Zins, Petite Petit & Freakshow) are readily available in North Carolina. We were very interested in seeing what else that had to offer. We also wanted to grab a bottle of the 2013 Inkblot Cabernet Franc. We had tasted it on Saturday during the live blogging event.


After we finished at Michael David, we head back to Van Ruiten Family Winery ( We just had to get some of their wines to ship back to NC. Akaylia greeted us in the tasting room and took us through all the reserves wines. We had some of them during the Friday night dinner, but it was good to see the rest of the lineup. Our favorite was the 2012 Reserve Ancient Vine Carignane. It was woody and earthy on the nose with notes of cherry jam on the palate.


Talk then turned to the tree in the parking lot. Akaylia walked us outside and had us try to guess what kind of tree it was. We weren’t successful with our guesses. It turns out that it a California Cork Oak, a real cork tree! It was super cool!

Cork tree up close!

Cork tree up close!

During our tasting Bill came in to greet us. He took us back to the crush pad where Chardonnay was being pressed. We also got to taste a few grapes!

Chardonnay heading to the press!

Chardonnay heading to the press!

We finished our tasted, selected our purchased and head out to Livermore Valley. We found a few good wines in that area and would love to explore there again. However, it didn’t compare to the experience we had in Lodi.

Lodi, thank you! You were warm and welcoming! It was an experience like none other. We will always remember you fondly and hope to visit again soon!

Downtown Lodi, CA

Downtown Lodi, CA

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 1 comment
Celebrating NC Wine and Grape Month!

Celebrating NC Wine and Grape Month!

September is North Carolina Wine and Grape month! It was proclaimed by Gov. McCrory to celebrate the wine and grape industry’s contributions to our state. With a $1.7 Billion economic impact, 525 grape growers and 180 wineries, this industry is vital to our state. It deserves to be celebrated!


So, how do you take part? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few of our ideas!

  • Visit a local winery. Go for a tasting or an afternoon picnic or both! Visit to plan your trip!
  • Buy local wine! Either at a local store or better yet, from the winery itself!
  • Drink local wine! Celebrate with your favorite bottle of North Carolina wine. Dry, sweet, red, white or rosé, there’s something for everyone out there!
  • Ask for local wine at restaurants and wine bars. It’s NC Wine Month! Encourage restaurants to do their part.
  • Encourage your friends and family to join in. There are plenty of folks leaving in NC who have know idea that we’re 10th in wine production in the country!
  • Talk about NC Wine on social media! Be sure to use the hashtags #NCWine and #NCWineMonth! Let’s get them trending!
  • Take a picture of what NC Wine you’re drinking! Share with us on Social Media! We’ll do our best to retweet or repost! Don’t forget the #NCWine and #NCWineMonth hashtags!
  • Follow us! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Just search for @NCWineGuys. We’ll give you tips on where to go and what to drink!
  • Follow the official North Carolina Wine accounts on social media! Find them at “North Carolina Wine” on Facebook and @ncwines on Twitter and Instagram!
  • Join us for #winechat on Twitter. We’re going to be talking all about #NCWine and #NCWineMonth on #winechat on Twitter. Our session is scheduled for September 28th at 9pm ET. Just follow the #winechat hashtag to join the conversation! Let’s get #winechat and #NCWine trending!
  • Help with harvest! Many local vineyards will be harvesting in September. Most of them harvest by hand with the help of volunteers. Go volunteer!

Let us know if you have other ideas!  Cheers!

Posted by Joe Brock in NC Wine Month, 1 comment