This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a guest on a wine tour sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture and NC Social.
I love being from the state of North Carolina. For the longest time, my one claim to fame in my family is that I was the only Southern born and bred here. Most of my family is from Massachusetts and I used to get picked on a lot by my Northern relatives for my southern accent. So when I get a chance to tour this amazing state that was lucky enough to be born in, I jump at the chance.
So when I saw that the NC Social was putting a North Carolina Wine Tour together in a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, I signed up immediately. Because Hello Wine and Bloggers they make a great combination.
The starting point of our trip was in Durham, where a group of bloggers from all different backgrounds converged to get on the party bus. Yes, you read that right, party bus because if you are going to taste wine all day you need to be responsible as well.
As we started our journey, we all introduced ourselves. And Jack, the representative from the Department of Agriculture, gave us some facts about North Carolina wines and wineries.
- There are 200 wineries in North Carolina.
- Duplin Winery in Rose Hill is the largest maker of Muscadine Wines in the world.
- Most NC wineries are run by husband and wife teams.
- North Carolina has the largest variety of grapes in the world ranging from European Varietals to Muscadines.
- North Caroline Winery owners are a very tight-knit group that work together to help each other succeed.
Our first stop was The Grove Winery in Gibsonville, which is just outside Greensboro. I had visited this winery before when my oldest daughter attended her college orientation. Rachel, the assistant winemaker was the host for our tasting. The Grove Winery makes wines that from the European Varietals of Grapes. Think of those as a little smaller than what you would buy at the grocery store.
As we went through the tasting, I found a few that I liked. The Chardonnay and the Traminette were my favorite. I may or may not have bought a bottle of one of those home with me.
Our next stop was about two hours away from The Grove Winery, was Gregory Vineyards in Angier. This is absolutely one of my favorite wineries to go to because the place is just beautiful and the owners are so sweet. I have been there several times but it had been a while and I was excited to see all the changes. Gregory Vineyards make their wines from the muscadine grapes.
These things are huge. Think of them of being the granddaddy of the grapes in the grocery store. Muscadine Grapes are native to the southeastern United States.
Gregory not only hosted us for the tasting but also sponsored lunch for us as well.
Tasha, our wine hostess, was so friendly and did an amazing job telling us about each wine as we tasted while we ate our delicious lunch that consisted of a baked potato, salad with grilled chicken, the best bread I ever tasted and homemade coconut cake.
What I love about Gregory wines is that they name their wines after either a family member or an animal that can be seen on the property. You know how much I like unique things so this was right up my alley. I will admit that before I went to Gregory I had already planned on buying a bottle of Lee Love, my favorite wine but my taste of wine must have changed since then because that bottle didn’t come home with me. I was torn between the Mary Elizabeth, which is named after the owners’ daughter, or Sunset. Both are sweet wines and fruit based. I will say it took me a few minutes to decide but I went with Sunset. I may or may not have had a glass or two or three on Sunday night to celebrate electricity being put in my blog cabin.
After lunch, Lane, the owner, took a trolley tour through the property. We saw their wedding venue, where they make their wine, the proposal tree as well as the lakes. And we ended at the grape vines where we were able to pick and taste muscadine grapes.
Then we all boarded the bus for our last stop, The Wine Feed, in Durham. The Wine Feed was different from our other two stops as they are a wine bar. There we were able to taste three more wines from North Carolina Vineyards.
All and all it was a fun day full of laughter, tasty wines, amazing food, a party bus and a fantastic group of bloggers.
If you get the chance to visit one of the 200 wineries that North Carolina has, go and visit. I think you will be surprised with how friendly those of us in the South really is.