When’s the Best Time of Year for a Wine Tour in NC?
North Carolina is a wonderful state, especially if you are a wine lover. With six win regions split across two areas in the state, we boast some of the most incredible wines in the country. While many think of the sugary sweet muscadine wines, North Carolina wineries have slowly been establishing themselves as something much more.
Why North Carolina Wines?
The Tar Heel State, as it is so affectionately called, has been an agricultural haven for hundreds of years. With soybeans, tobacco, and cotton as some of the primary crops in the state's history, farmers have constantly been trying new crops to grow, and more recently, wine grapes have become a hot commodity.
The soil and environmental conditions throughout the state's five designated American Viticultural Areas are prime for the cultivation of grapes. Each hill and holler throughout western North Carolina creates its mini climatic zones. These zones allow for the vast cultivation of diverse grapes as each grower has the choice to grow what they like.
There are over 525 vineyards in the state of North Carolina and 185 wineries. This melting pot of ideas and climate zones has propelled the state forward in grape production, and the climate here is to thank for that.
When To Visit
Planning a trip to North Carolina’s wine country? The peak season for visiting is during harvest time, or August through October. However, this time of year, the vineyards will be overrun and expensive. Although, this time can provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you may get the chance to experience harvest.
If the harvest isn't your thing, springtime is another great option, as the temperatures are much milder than the oppressive heat and humidity of late summer. Also, the vines will be budding, and the surrounding hills and mountains will be set ablaze with the beauty of spring flowers.
Regardless of when you visit, many of the wineries are producing wine year-round. Make sure to book a tour in advance if you plan to show up during peak season. Otherwise, many wineries offer tastings, while some have on-site restaurants and behind the scene tours.
Where To Visit
1. Biltmore Estate
Some of our most famous wineries and vineyards are very accessible, which is something that makes the North Carolina wine scene so special. Our most famous winery, The Biltmore Estate, is home to one of the most famous single-family homes in the country. What is great about the Biltmore Estate is that you can experience history, enjoy incredible wine, and stay on-site at the Inn on Biltmore Estate.
2. Raffaldini Vineyards
Located in the Yadkin Valley, Villa Raffaldini is an Italian-style estate with a beautiful piazza out front where you can experience the beauty of the foothills of North Carolina. The wines are heavily influenced by Italian winemaking, and their terroir is very similar to that of the Lombardy Province due to the conditions of the Swan Creek region where the vineyard is located.
3. Shelton Vineyards
Dobson may be but a blip on the map, but Shelton Vineyards is a colossal part of the NC wine scene. This massive family-owned estate is over 400 acres and is located in the Yadkin Valley near Mt Airy. They produce a huge variety of different grapes, including:
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Petit Verdot
- Sauvignon blanc
Metro Wines - Your One-Stop Shop for Incredible Wines and a Plethora of Knowledge
Located in Asheville, NC, Metro Wines is an independent wine store with a huge selection of wines. We have everything from lower-cost table wines to some of the most sought-after bottles in the world. If you are interested in learning more about the local wine scene, we host a plethora of events, classes, and tastings.