Our Pick: Michael's Blend Meritage 2002 ($16)―very different, fruity, would be nice with roasted meat.
Laurel Gray Vineyards: Benny and Kim Myers welcome you to the Swan Creek area to taste wine in a former milking parlor that
is surrounded by a relaxing porch. As you sip, gaze at the view of Scarlet Mountain and a pond with cattails and ducks. Catch,
too, the last rose blossoms before the frost settles on Benny's family's farm, dating to the 1700s.
Our Pick: 2005 Scarlet Mountain ($17)―well balanced and dark berry flavors.
Flint Hill Vineyards: Owners Tim and Brenda Doub added a tasting room to Tim's family's farmhouse where Brenda cultivates the surrounding vineyards.
"My husband grew up in this house," she says. "His grandfather was a distiller here. We grow grapes to keep our farm alive."
Sweet wine lovers adore their Old Yadkin. "My husband calls it a gossip wine. The more you drink, the more you gossip," she
says. At press time, the Doubs had just added a restaurant called the Century Kitchen. If it's as good as their wines, we
are in for a tasty meal.
Our Pick: 2005 Viognier ($17)―well balanced, a good alternate to Chardonnay.
Elkin Creek Vineyard: Taste Mark Greene's wines with dinner at his restaurant, The Kitchen (the best in the valley). If you just want to sample,
drop by the basement tasting room. It's the smallest winery, and Mark arguably occupies the smallest space. He sometimes sleeps
in a teepee in a field nearby. Save time to explore his century-old mill too―one of the prettiest sights around.
Our Pick: 2005 Chardonnay ($15)―has a taste of smoky oak, would cozy up to any bottle from California.
Bonus Pick―Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery: On the north side of Elkin, Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery gives new purpose to an old dairy farm. Two couples―the Douthits
and the Rices―merge talents here. If the spirit's willing, you may blend your own barrel here for less than $5,000 (with advice
from the winemaker). Your yield: 25 cases and visiting rights while it's being made. Add your own name and label―and live
the dream of the Yadkin Valley.
Our Pick: 2005 Merlot ($14)―spicy, pair with meaty pizza or flank steak
"Carolina's Wine Country" is from the November 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.