Open that Bottle of North Carolina Wine Night

Open that Bottle of North Carolina Wine Night

We’re stealing a great idea from our friend, Frank Morgan, in Virginia.  Frank, of the Drink What You Like wine blog, is organizing an Open that Bottle of Virginia Wine Night on March 28, 2020.  This is a take on the annual Open that Bottle Night first organized in 2000 by two Wall Street Journal columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher.  The goal of Open that Bottle Night is finally drink that bottle you’ve been saving.  

In addition to supporting Virginia on March 28th, we want to support North Carolina too!  So, join us on Saturday, April 4, 2020!  With this special Open that Bottle of North Carolina Wine Night, we’re celebrating our local wine industry during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

So how can you particpate?

  1. Select a bottle of North Carolina Wine, Mead or Cider.
  2. Open it on the evening of April 4, 2020.
  3. Take a picture and post on social media.
  4. Share why you chose that bottle, who you shared it with, and more.
  5. Tag the winery, vineyard, meadery, or cidery and tag us too @NCWineGuys.
  6. And use #NCWineNight on your posts!  

If you need to purchase wines, mead, or cider, head to our COVID 19 database to find out how.  Many businesses are offering discounts and/or free shipping.

Stay safe during this challenging time!



Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
Following in the Footsteps of the Rhone

Following in the Footsteps of the Rhone

This episode features Michael Zimmerman of Junius Lindsay Vineyards!  We talk with Michael about why he’s growing grapes and how he first conceived of the idea.  As he tells it, he has a love for old world wines which came from his time in the Foreign Service.  He was fortunate enough to make several visits to France and tour around the wine regions of the country. His heart landed in the Rhone region and he still looks to them for inspiration.

After his time in the Foreign Service, he came back to his family farmland.  With a little influence from other vineyards in the area, he decided to bring life back to the farm and plant grapes.  He’s expanded his vineyard since the original 2 acres of Viognier, but he is still firmly rooted in Rhone traditions and only grows those varietals.

Michael recognizes there are two people in the winemaking business, the winemaker and the wine grower.  Michael focuses on growing the best possible fruit so that the wines reflect the vineyard.  In the best years the wines really shine and make it all worth while.  After all, Michael is following in the footsteps of great Rhone winemakers which is a great sense of pride.

Wine Class with the Wine Mouths is back.  Jesse and Jessica tell us about how we can get the most out of our tastings with a simple 5-step method.  For more information about the Wine Mouths, head to or find them on Facebook and Instagram @Winemouths.  The Wine Mouths theme was written and performed by Joshua Morris.  You can find him at

If you like this episode, please leave us a rating and review.  It really helps spread the word.  Subscribing and sharing with a friend is another great way to support Cork Talk.   

Did you know we have a Patreon page that offers Patron Only content, early access to episode, blooper reels, and more? Head to to learn more and sign up! 

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
Festivus 2019 – Airing of Wine Grievances!

Festivus 2019 – Airing of Wine Grievances!

Today, December 23, 2019, is the celebration of Festivus.  Created in 1966 by Daniel O’Keefe and popularized during an episode of the hit TV show, Seinfeld, Festivus is celebrated with Feats of Strength and the Airing of Grievances.  So, in that spirit, we’re back for the third year to air a few wine grievances.  This is our one post a year that’s not entirely positive.  Many of these grievances are the same as last year, but there are a few new ones and some updates.  So, sit back.  Pour a glass and read on!

These are in no particular order:

  • Wines that you can taste but you can’t buy.  Why do you allow someone to taste a wine if it’s not for sale to the general public?  Of course that’s the wine we want to buy, but we can’t commit to another wine club.  Just don’t offer it unless someone does join your wine club.

  • Lack of hashtags in posts on social media about wines, wineries, vineyards.  You see we’re big proponents of hashtags as a way to brand.  So, all you #NCWine folks out there, USE THE DANG HASHTAG!
  • Too many hashtags or using hashtags that don’t apply.  You don’t need 14 million hashtags on your post especially if they’re hashtags no one else uses.  And just because you’re drinking wine in a given region, that doesn’t make it a regional wine.  So, don’t post about the Apothic Red you’re drinking in Charlotte and call it #NCWine.  Wine is about a sense of place.  Apothic Red’s place is not in your wine glass.

  • Poor tasting glasses.  We’ll admit it.  We’re glass snobs.  Please no glasses with the “lip” around the rim.  These just don’t show wines well.  Upgrade the glass and the experience!

  • Untrained tasting room staff.  There’s nothing worse than tasting room staff who know nothing about the wines they are pouring.  We understand that getting good help can be difficult, but a poor experience affects your brand.
  • Too many wines on the list.  We see this all the time.  Wines lists with 10, 15 or even 20 wines.  We feel this is just too many to be able to focus on quality unless you have a large production staff.  So, scale it back.  You don’t need a new wine for every season.
  • “Fruited” wines.  Why do we need pomegranate, green apple, cranberry, cherry, pineapple and umpteen other fruits added to our perfectly fruity grape wines?  Wine grapes produce wines with an abundance of fruit flavors. Let the grapes speak for themselves.

  • Wine slushies.  Seriously, why is this a thing?  Ok, maybe in the summer then it’s 95 degrees and 10,000% humidity, but wine is already extra calories, do you really need all that extra sugar?
  • Wineries who aren’t forthcoming in where the grapes for their wine are sourced.  We like to know what we’re tasting and where it was sourced.  If you’re not using local fruit, admit it.  Don’t try to hide it.

  • Perfume, cologne, or other powerful scents in the tasting room.  Nothing spoils a wine tasting more than someone who’s bathed in perfume or cologne.  A majority of the what you taste in a wine is from what you smell.  If you can’t smell the wine, it’s likely not going to taste very good.

  • Children in tasting rooms.  It’s sad that this is still an issue.  This is our #1 grievance if we had to rank them.  Children can’t drink.  Don’t bring them with you to a winery.  Wining is an adult thing and many of us wish to adult in peace and quiet.

  • Parties of 6 or more in tasting rooms who have not called ahead.  This is annoying for tasting room staff and other customers.  If you’re in a group, be courteous!  Call ahead!

  • People who think cider is more akin to beer.  Repeat after us!  Cider is NOT brewed!  It’s fermented!  Thus, it is like wine!  Just because you often see is on tap doesn’t mean it’s beer.  Wine can be served on tap too.  We’d like to see more of that by the way!

  • Farm to fork restaurants who don’t have local wine on their lists.  This is probably #2 on our grievance list right after the kids at wineries.  Don’t call yourself a farm to fork locavore restaurant if you don’t have local wine on this list.  There’s just no excuse!

So, that’s our list for this year.  And keeping with this theme, leave us your comments of what’s your grievances are.  Just avoid personal attacks.

Cheers and Happy Festivus for the rest of us!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
A Special Place Where Dreams Come True

A Special Place Where Dreams Come True

This episode features the team from Elkin Creek Vineyard in Elkin, North Carolina!  We met up with Louis and Carrie Jeroslow and Jennifer and Nick White one evening.  In our discussion we listened as the two couples told us how they first discovered Elkin Creek Vineyard.  

It started at Jennifer and Nick’s wedding and a dream was soon formed.  It wasn’t long after that the stars aligned and that dream became reality.  The two couples left their day jobs in Las Vegas to pursue a shared dream.  Together they’ve shaped the vineyard into a retreat that is secluded but not isolated, a place where you can spend time reconnecting with what really matters.  

We hope you enjoy this episode.  If you like what you hear, please leave us a rating or review and share with a friend.  If you’re looking for other ways to contribute, you should check out our Patreon page at  

In our next season we’ll be adding exclusive content to Patreon with several levels of perks.  Please take a look and if you can help support our mission we greatly appreciate your contributions.  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
Mead Making Starrs

Mead Making Starrs

This episode features Ben and Becky Starr of Starrlight Mead in Pittsboro, NC! Ben and Becky caught the mead making bug after falling in love with it at a Renaissance faire. For the past 8 years, Ben and Becky have been building up their business and refining their mead making skills.

They like meads with big bold flavors and surprising flavor combinations. Visit the brand new Mead Hall and you’ll find the expected off-dry traditional and semi-sweet to flavors more exotic like a Kickin’ Cranberry Orange (perfect for the holiday table and Ben’s favorite) and other fruit and herb infused meads.

If you liked this episode, please leave us a rating and review.  If you really liked this episode, please share it with a friend.  You can find all episodes of Cork Talk on our show page: NC Wine Guys Present: Cork Talk! 

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Meads, Podcast, Wine, 0 comments

Davesté Vineyards Rkatsiteli Vertical Tasting

Davesté Vineyards’ Tasting Room

We recently held a vertical tasting of Rkatsiteli from Davesté Vineyards in Troutman, NC.  We first reviewed Davesté’s Rkatsiteli several years ago (Previous Review).  Davesté produces the only known single variety Rkatsiteli in North Carolina.  It’s become their signature wine.

Davesté opened in September, 2007.  The grapes were first planted in 2005.  Owners Dave and Ester DeFehr, whose combined first names are the inspiration for the Davesté’s name, first began plans for the vineyard and winery in 2003.  Land was purchased in 2004.  Today, in addition to Rkatsiteli, Davesté grows Traminette and Chambourcin.  Most other fruit is sourced locally within North Carolina with some coming from Virginia and California.  

Rkatsiteli grapes nearly ready for harvest at Davesté Vineyards

Rkatsiteli is thought of have originated in the country of Georgia and is believed to be one of oldest vinifera varieties.  It’s typically known for producing high acid wines.  It’s gaining popularity in the Finger Lakes region of New York and in Virginia.  

We inquired how Rkatsiteli does here in North Carolina.  Winemaker Leslie Johnson tells us, “In the vineyard, Rkatsiteli is pretty easy to manage. It likes to grow straight up instead of sprawling like a hybrid. The main disease we fight every year is downy mildew for this varietal. We like to harvest these grapes a bit earlier than others to help retain the acidity.”  

She added, “In the past, all of our Rkatsiteli has been fermented and aged in stainless steel. With our increased yields in 2019, we currently have some Rkatsiteli aging in French oak barrels to try something new.”  We can’t wait to taste a barrel aged Rkasiteli!

We tasted the 2015 – 2018 vintages of Rkatsiteli from Davesté.  Here are our notes and information about each wine.


  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • Bronze Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition
  • Nose:  Pear, lemon rind, and honey
  • Palate:  Bruised pear, preserved lemon rind, pithy
  • Finish:  Medium


  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Nose:  Faint pear and light honey; Delicate and refined
  • Palate:  Fresh pear and zesty lemon
  • Finish:  Medium+
  • Favorite overall


  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.8% Alcohol
  • Double Gold Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition and Silver Medal Winner at NC State Fair
  • Nose:  Floral, minerally, and honeysuckle
  • Palate: Minerally with notes of lemon
  • Finish:  Short and tart


  • 100% Rkatsiteli
  • 12.8% Alcohol
  • Silver Medal Winner at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition and Double Gold Medal Winner at NC State Fair
  • Nose:  Perfumy, pronounced honeysuckle, sweet pear
  • Palate:  Rose petals, lemon, lime, fresh and vibrant
  • Finish:  Medium+

Davesté suggests pairing their Rkatsiteli with pad Thai, shrimp scampi, or chèvre.  We had spinach pie, roasted vegetables with a lemon tahini sauce and various cheeses.  Rkatsiteli should do well with most vegetables and seafood.

If you’ve ever in the Troutman / Lake Norman area, stop by and visit Davesté.  Their beautiful grounds are the perfect place to relax.  In addition to wine, Davesté produces beer and has many live music events throughout the year, but be sure to pick up a bottle of Rkatsiteli while you’re there!


Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
Wright Wine Sanctuary

Wright Wine Sanctuary

In this episode we sit down with John Wright of Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg, NC.  Growing grapes on the coast may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Currituck and the Outer Banks, but Sanctuary Vineyards is proving that you can grow European style grapes and make some top quality wine.

John talks about how this really is a labor of love.  He is constantly pouring time and energy back into the vines.  He treats each vine with careful attention and it clearly shows in the final product.  John really enjoys experimenting and is enjoys listening to the environment to learn what really grows well and produces the best wine possible.  

We hope you enjoy this episode.  If you like what you’re hearing, be sure to leave us a rating and review!  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments

Jones von Drehle Petit Manseng Revisited

We have been big fans of Petit Manseng since the first time we tasted it at Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery some years ago.  This small grape can produce a full bodied high alcohol wine.  It’s often called the red drinker’s white wine.

We did a Spotlight on Petit Manseng in North Carolina in July, 2017.  In that post, we had tasted through the 2013, 2014, and 2015 vintages of Petit Manseng from Jones von Drehle in addition to giving a bit of information about Petit Manseng itself.  This time around, we were fortunate enough to add the 2012 vintage, the first vintage, and the 2016 vintage to the mix, so we tasted 2012 – 2016.  And we should note, all bottles were purchased for this tasting.

We decided to change things up this time.  We did this tasting blind.  We also added a wine from the Southwest of France to the mix.  This wine was a 2011 iLori Les Jonquilles from Domaine Brana.  Made from fruit grown in the Irouleguy appellation, it is a blend of Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, and Petit Corbu.  Bottles were covered in foil by one of us.  The other randomly assigned a number.  Friends arrived and the tasting began.

We used a chalk board to record feedback on the wines.  We discussed the nose, palate, and finish.  We tried to guess the year or whether the wine was the French one.  We didn’t do so well on the guesses of the vintages, but the last wine was clearly different than the others.  This was a big clue that it was not solely Petit Manseng.  Interestingly enough, that wine was by far the least favorite of the group.  Our impressions of it did improve when we paired it with a savory tomato cobbler.

Our group thought wine 1 was young with notes of apricot, citrus, and pineapple.  We guessed it might be the 2016 vintage.  It turned out to be the 2013.  It seems this wine might have a few years to go.

Wine 2 had more notes of pineapple and apricot.  We found banana and an herbaceous note along with a hint of minerality.  We incorrectly guessed this to be the 2014.  It was in fact the 2012.  This wine is still showing beautifully.

Wine 3 had a subtle nose.  The palate gave us mandarin orange and pineapple.  We found the finish was hot.  We thought, for that reason, it might be the 2015 which clocked in at 15.6% alcohol.  It was in fact the 2016.  

We missed numbering wine 4 on the chalk board.  This one was different than the others.  There was lots of stewed stone fruit notes.  Think peaches or nectarines.  Someone got a crème brûlée note on the finish.  A few thought this might be the French wine, but we weren’t so sure.  It turned out to be the 2014.

Wine 5 presented a yeasty note with pear and green apple.  It was silky and soft.  We thought it might be the 2012.  It turned out to be the 2015.  We were surprised by this.  We didn’t feel it was hot at all which is surprising given that 15.6% alcohol.  This one was a definite favorite.

We finally made it to the last wine, #6.  This one was clearly different.  It was green and seemed old.  The finish was astringent.  We were pretty sure this was indeed the French wine.  And we were right.  This was the least favorite of the group.

Once we finished tasting through all the wines, we did the reveals and then enjoyed some food and a bit more of our favorites.

We look forward to exploring more Petit Manseng in the future!  

To learn more about Jones von Drehle, check out our first episode of Cork Talk where we sat down with Chuck and Diana Jones.



Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
NC Wine Goes Urban

NC Wine Goes Urban

This conversation takes us to plēb Urban Winery in Asheville, NC to celebrate their 1st anniversary party!  Learn about what it means to truly be an urban winery and make wine more accessible to the masses.  From featuring grapes that grow well, to being more sustainable, plēb is certainly breaking into the Asheville scene and embracing #NCWine.  

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments
From the Board Room & Classroom to the Farm

From the Board Room & Classroom to the Farm

This episode features Chuck and Jamey Johnson of Shadow Springs Vineyard and Windsor Run Cellars.  We discuss how the they traded in the 8 to 5 corporate job for something they’re more passionate about.  Having two wineries that are just over a half mile apart provides many conveniences but also several challenges.  They view the wineries as being alter egos of each other.  Windsor Run Cellars is a bit more adventurous and likes to experiment with fun flavors and innovative beverages.  Shadow Springs Vineyard walks on the more serious side but they still know how to have fun as well.

One thing that comes across in this conversation is how passionate Chuck and Jamey are about the wine industry here in North Carolina.  When they were first getting started, the industry helped them to get their winery up and running.  Now that they’ve been in the business for almost 15 years, they’re looking for ways to “give back” to the industry to help others along the same path.  In many ways they’re still pioneers in the industry, but they’ve definitely left their mark and are looking for ways to contribute more.

Posted by Matt Kemberling in Podcast, Wine, 0 comments