The South’s Best Vineyards
The South may be widely known for whiskey and bourbon, but its growing wine scene should not be overlooked. Here are some of the region’s best vineyards—for wine aficionados and casual sippers alike
Château Élan Winery & Resort (Braselton, Georgia)
Forty-five miles northeast of Atlanta, the traffic dissipates and the scenery changes from urban sprawl to pastoral paradise, reminiscent of the French countryside. On top of a full-production winery, with 200 acres predominantly growing Muscadine grapes, Château Élan also boasts a golf course, a pair of restaurants, and a luxurious spa, should you decide to check into the resort for the weekend.
100 Rue Charlemagne; chateauelan.com
Montaluce Winery & Estates (Dahlonega, Georgia)
Northern Georgia’s rolling topography enables vines to flourish, and Montaluce’s Tuscan-style tasting room is perched atop a tall hill with sweeping mountain views. Sip your way through a flight—mostly made from European varietals—then stick around for a Southern feast at the stylish on-site restaurant.
946 Via Montaluce; montaluce.com
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery (Dahlonega, Georgia)
This sloping property occupies prime real estate in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and its wines—both reds and whites—have racked up plenty of accolades on the national competition circuit. Insider tip: Go on Sunday for the lavish brunch spread.
180 Wolf Mountain Trail; wolfmountainvineyards.com
Elk Creek Vineyards (Owenton, Kentucky)
Take a break from the distilleries peppering Bourbon Country to enjoy a tasting at Kentucky’s largest winery instead. In addition to live entertainment every Friday and Saturday and myriad other special events, Elk Creek has 15 suites and cabins available to book, so you can enjoy heavy pours then mosey on back to your room at night’s end.
150 Highway 330; elkcreekvineyards.com
Black Ankle Vineyard (Mount Airy, Maryland)
Though the barrels are French Oak, this Maryland vineyard feels more Californian than European, with its bucolic farm setting, covered porch, rustic tasting room, and plenty of cozy indoor nooks for enjoying a glass by the fireplace on a chilly winter day.
14463 Black Ankle Road; blackankle.com
Cave Vineyard (Genevieve, Missouri)
It may surprise many to learn that Missouri has its own wine country, and Cave Vineyards is worth visiting for the novelty alone: Those who purchase a bottle from the shop can take it into the natural cave below. The vineyard kitchen on the grounds has a seasonal biscotti bar offering such flavors as anise or bacon chocolate chip that complement various wines.
21124 Cave Road, Ste.; cavevineyard.com
Biltmore Winery (Asheville, North Carolina)
The historic Biltmore’s 8,000 acres include a winery producing six varietals—Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. It celebrated its 30th birthday last year. Complimentary tastings are included as part of the general estate admission, and special Vine to Wine tours are offered at an additional cost.
1 Lodge Street; biltmore.com
Shelton Vineyards (Dobson, North Carolina)
At 383 acres, the Shelton estate is North Carolina’s largest family-owned vineyard, but that’s not the only reason visitors flock here, particularly in warmer months. You can savor an award-winning Riesling and Chardonnay, plus enjoy a summer concert series and one mighty fine restaurant.
286 Cabernet Lane; sheltonvineyards.com
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery (Ronda, North Carolina)
This idyllic vineyard could easily be in Tuscany—or Mantua—rather than nestled in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, but that’s thanks to the due diligence of the Raffaldini family, who scoured the country for landscape that channeled the Italian countryside. The result is 42 acres of vines on a beautiful 120-acre estate—and a Chianti worth writing home about.
450 Groce Road; raffaldini.com
Arrington Vineyards (Arrington, Tennessee)
Less than a half-hour south of Nashville, Arrington Vineyards’ lofty perch overlooks the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee and offers ample lawn space (complete with an abundance of picnic tables) for setting up camp for the afternoon. Bonus: Country music star Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn fame, is one of the partners, so you never know who might show up for an impromptu jam session—it’s happened before.
6211 Patton Road; arringtonvineyards.com
Grinder’s Switch Winery (Centerville, Tennessee)
Sweet wine lovers will dig the hints of apricot and peach in Grinder’s Switch Winery’s Blondy, while those looking for something a bit mellower can indulge in the lightly oaked Chardonnay. Up and running since 2006, this country-style vineyard based in rural Tennessee recently opened a second tasting room in Nashville’s historic Marathon Village.
2119 Hwy. 50 West Loop; gswinery.com
Reedy Creek Vineyards & Cellars (Kingsport, Tennessee)
Tucked between two mountain ranges, the Smokies and the Blue Ridge, Reedy Creek capitalizes on East Tennessee’s high elevation and mineral-rich soil to produce a bevy of quality reds and other interesting blends like its award-winning Frost (Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Albarino, and Viognier).
1901 Meadowview Parkway; 423/765-9676
Duchman Family Winery (Driftwood, Texas)
Driftwood, just outside Austin, may be famous for its barbecue joint the Salt Lick, but the Hill Country climate also makes it ideal for producing diverse styles of wine. Duchman focuses on wines influenced by unique Italian grape varieties. Their oak-shaded picnic area is a great place for enjoying a bottle while soaking up a balmy Texas afternoon.
13308 Ranch to Market Road 150; duchmanwinery.com
Becker Vineyards (Stonewall, Texas)
Texas is in the top 10 in the United States for both wine production and number of vineyards. Becker Vineyards, a beautiful, sprawling Hill Country estate, has a little bit of everything: 46 acres of vines, a veranda and outdoor bar, a stock tank, a windmill, lavender fields, a picnic area, and an impressive “library” in the barrel reserve that houses 20 years’ worth of their finest wines.
464 Becker Farms Road; beckervineyards.com
Veritas Vineyard & Winery (Afton, Virginia)
If the world-class Viognier (Virginia’s official white grape) isn’t enough to get you to this small family-run vineyard along the Blue Ridge, its Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyards & Winery should be. Monthly, in summertime, this outdoor delight features live music, dancing, and, of course, plenty of wine.
145 Saddleback Farm; veritaswines.com
Barboursville Vineyards (Barboursville, Virginia)
Like much of the area, Barboursville is steeped in Jeffersonian history—the former President designed the 1800s mansion for Virginia Governor James Barbour—and now operates as a winery and inn. Damaged in a fire in the late 19th century, the home’s ruins are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on full display for visitors who tour the vineyard.
17655 Winery Road; bbvwine.com
Blenheim Vineyards (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Back in 2000, having released the first of a string of chart-topping albums, Dave Matthews also found time to establish this winery in his adopted Virginia homeland. (Born in South Africa, he had started his band in Charlottesville in the early nineties.) The timber-frame tasting room’s glass floors allow visitors to spy on the wine production below, while picture windows peer out onto the vines and hilly terrain.
31 Blenheim Farm; blenheimvineyards.com
Michael Shaps Wineworks (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Michael Shaps has long been a consultant and contract winemaker for a majority of Virginia’s top vineyards. Now, his own family-run production on the outskirts of Charlottesville is gaining traction, thanks in part to a recently upgraded tasting room where you can fill a growler full of Mon Bidon blanc or rouge and enjoy a top-notch sample.
1781 Harris Creek Way; michaelshapswines.com
Stinson Vineyards (Crozet, Virginia)
The Charlottesville area boasts more than 20 wineries, but Stinson’s stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains—and a well-stocked farm store with local produce, cheese, and grass-fed meat—makes this pet-friendly, boutique vineyard one of the best around.
4744 Sugar Hollow Road; stinsonvineyards.com
Keswick Vineyards (Keswick, Virginia)
This family-friendly vineyard with an on-site dog park and plenty of lawn games is situated in a well-shaded hollow just down the way from Keswick Hall. Picnics are heavily encouraged.
1575 Keswick Winery Drive; keswickvineyards.com