July 10, 2020

The Gateway to the Yadkin Valley

The 1.4 million-acre Yadkin Valley-- North Carolina's first and largest American Viticultural Area (AVA)--  just west of Winston-Salem, is home to more than 45 vineyards and wineries. Sip your way around the Yadkin Valley--one of the top 12 wine-producing regions in the United States-- known for its riesling, chardonnay, cabernet, sauvignon, merlot, and other varietals. Come and enjoy the relaxed, intimate atmosphere of these wineries, where the person pouring your wine is often the same person who made it.

Ancillary Experiences

  1. Llama Trekking at Divine Llama: Primarily hosted during spring and fall months as the summer temps get too hot for the llamas to enjoy. Participants each walk/trek with a llama through the vineyards and surrounding woods before finishing in the tasting room with a glass of Divine Llama wine (each named after one of the furry friends on the property).
  2. “Take a Hike” with the Owner (Jay Raffaldini) at Raffaldini Vineyards: Regularly scheduled during the warmer months, owner Jay Raffaldini guides participants through the surrounding woods and vineyards for an intimate discussion of the winery’s history and what’s still to come. Includes guided hike, lunch, and two glasses of wine.
  3. An Afternoon with the Winemaker (Chris Nelson) at Raffaldini Vineyards: Winemaker Chris Nelson guides the group on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Raffaldini Winery. Learn how they craft their award-winning wines and go step-by-step through the winemaking process while enjoying a glass of current vintage wine and samples of wines in the making.

Memorable Tasting Rooms & Scenic Views

  1. Childress Vineyards: Located only 25 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Childress began as a passion project by NASCAR racer, Richard Childress, and has since become one of the leading wineries in the state. The winery offers guided tours and tastings of the 35,000-square-foot winemaking facility.
  2. Hanover Park: A restored farmhouse is home to this cute and cozy tasting room less than 30 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem. If you don’t fall in love with the wines, you’re sure to fall in love with Pearl, the winery cocker spaniel.
  3. Medaloni Cellars: Cabin lovers love Medaloni for its rustic treehouses (which you can overnight in), patio fire pits, and open-air tasting room. One of two wineries within Forsyth County, this winery is an easy 15-20 minute drive from the heart of downtown Winston-Salem.
  4. Raffaldini: The 6,000-square-foot Villa Raffaldini features traditional Italian art, architecture, and tasting rooms on both levels. Enjoy panoramic views of the Blue Ridge and Brushy Mountains from inside the tasting rooms and outside on the balconies and landscaped terraces.
  5. JOLO: JOLO’s 80-acre property showcases natural beauty with a focus on the breathtaking views of Pilot Mountain and Cox Lake located on the property. JOLO is rated #1 of the Top 7 wineries outside of California by Trip Advisor.

Notable Winery Chefs / Culinary Programs

  1. Shelton Vineyards / Harvest Grill: The Harvest Grill, located on the grounds of Shelton Vineyards, offers upscale dining with a bistro-style atmosphere. The Harvest Grill has enclosed patio seating as well as an intimate dining room. Featuring a menu that our chef has deemed "sophisticated comfort food", the Harvest Grill has been awarded the Triple-A three-diamond rating for its food, service, and decor. Harvest Grill was ranked fourth in USA Today’s Readers Choice for Best Winery Restaurant – the only North Carolina nominee and only East Coast winery to place in the Top 10 (2017).
  2. JOLO: Enjoy an intimate tapas dinner at JOLO’s End Posts restaurant. The winery offers beautiful views of the sunset over Pilot Mountain, complemented by their award-winning wine list. JOLO is an easy 25-minute drive from Winston-Salem.
  3. Elkin Creek: Sundays at Elkin Creek are for homemade brick oven pizzas! A culinary combo that can’t go wrong, Elkin Creek pleases visitors once a week with made-to-order brick oven pizzas paired with their wines. The dough is handmade each week. (The winery suggests you reserve your dough balls in advance…Sundays can get a bit crazy.)