Birthday Wine tour: Yadkin Valley, NC

A few weekends ago K. Busy, and our sig figs took a day trip for my birthday up to Yadkin Valley, NC for brunch and wine tasting. We had gone up to the Elkin area back in December before Christmas and really enjoyed it. This time, we decided to venture off of RT. 77, a little farther east to HWY 601. As the designated “fun director”, and the birthday girl, I got to choose which vineyards we visited.

Yadkin looks really far away from Charlotte, but it’s not a bad drive at all. An hour and a half straight up 77 towards Virginia.  Both times we’ve gone on Sundays, and the traffic hasn’t been bad at all. Also, you can’t order alcohol in NC until after noon on Sundays, so there’s no point getting there much earlier than that!

Our first stop was brunch at the Sourwood Restaurant at Sanders Ridge. Of course it was raining, so I didn’t get any pictures of the outside of the building, but it is a super cute little lodge style restaurant with the wine tasting bar off to the side. The menu for the weekend looked amazing, and I liked that they had a good variety of wines. Between the four of us, our preferences for wines are almost as different as they can be. I really prefer spicy/peppery reds. There’s an inside joke between my husband and our friends that if I don’t like a wine I’ll describe it as “plummy”. North Carolina is known for their sweet wines, muscat/moscato/muscadine, but I really can’t stomach them. They’re too syrupy, and remind me of liquors, or worse, medicine.

Brunch DID NOT disappoint. I got pork tenderloin on house made biscuits and pepper gravy (my FAV), with eggs, and home fries (with regular AND SWEET POTATOES!!!). K. Busy got the Vegetarian Country Eggs Benedict; which hilariously came with bacon. They also served fresh from the oven biscuits with the tiniest grape and strawberry jams, and house made butter. Needless to say we were all stuffed to the gills. Which, honestly, was part of the plan, considering we were going to be spending the next 4 or so hours drinking. I had made reservations for 11:30 for four people, and was a little embarrased that we were the only people in the restaurant until abo8ut 12:30. Oh well! The wait staff was super nice, and attentive, but also gave us our space. The wines at Sanders Ridge were really nice as well. We bought a bottle of the 2011 Big Woods. I’m a bad blogger, and forgot to take a picture of the wines, or their wine awards. They also had some really nice smelling hand poured candles, and I’m kicking myself for not getting one or two.

Our next stop was Brandon Hill Vineyard. We got there right at 1pm when they opened. The owner was there, feeding her salt water tank fish! From the outside it looks really small, but the inside is a really nice and cozy peninsula bar set up, and a gorgeous back porch overlooking the vineyard. Of course it was still raining, but this will definitely be a stop in the summer. I can already imagine sitting on that porch, with a glass of wine, and a nice mountain breeze. Their wines were really good, and the woman doing the tasting was really nice, and funny. They had some desert wines at the end, and they served with small pieces of hazelnut cheesecake, and chocolate cake! We were all stuffed, but we all made room, of course! We bought a bottle of the 2008 Raptor Red, which on top of being a delicious wine, also donates $1 of each bottle sold to the Carolina Raptor Center.

K. Bendy and K. Busy … trying to take a good selfie in terrible lighting

Our 3rd stop was Laurel Gray Vineyards. There was a limo tour finishing up their tour when we got there, so we hung out on their front porch for a little while. This tasting room was also really nice and cozy. There were two separate tasting bars for busy summer months, and they also just poured a new patio in the back; we were told they were going to enclose that area,  and add a fire place. The wines here were nice, and interesting, but what really shined was house made sauces. BBQ, caramel, chocolate, and vinaigrette. I would have bought all of them had I the self control to not eat the caramel and chocolate sauces with a spoon, but we did purchase the Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ, and the Laurel Gray Artisan Vinaigrette. I’ve been using the vinaigrette on basically everything for the past two weeks. They also served squares of fresh sour dough bread that they buy from the Shiloh General Store. We were told that we need to make that our lunch stop next time because they make deli sandwiches on site. YUM!

Our last stop was Shadow Springs Vineyard. I’ll be honest, I picked this one because of the gorgeous pictures of the building online. Not only was the property and the building amazing, they had A LOT of choices for wines (a choose your own 7 or try all TWENTY wine tasting option). They had a really cute little shop area with local crafts, and the most adorable little poodle named Buddy (who had a wine named after him, DaWWW). The owner of the vineyard did our tasting and she was AMAZING. We asked lots of questions,  got the scoop on a lot of the wines, and the history of the vineyard. We bought a bottle of the Chambourcin.  The grounds were so pretty, and will probably make our list for places to come back in the summer or fall to hang out.

wines and sauce

Overall, even though it rained on us (again), I had an amazing birthday day out with my friends. I always enjoy driving up into the North Carolina mountains. The scenery is nice, and the wine and beer can’t be beat. CHEERS to a great year y’all!

~K. Bendy



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