Though Stony Knoll Vineyards' first harvest didn't take place until 2002, the winery's 48 acres of cropland have been part of the Coe family since 1896, making it a North Carolina Century Farm. For most of that time, the land yielded tobacco, but now, under winemaker Lynn Crouse, its two vineyards grow grapes for 12 wines. That selection ranges from two cabernet francs to the signature SKV Plantation White, a dessert wine fashioned from handpicked chardonnay grapes.
Samples abound inside Stony Knoll's tasting room, which is nestled high in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the scenic vines below. Elsewhere on the picturesque estate, Stony Knoll hosts weddings and overnight guests in its Wine Lodge. The lodge, which was built in 1860, was originally a rural homestead, but it now offers modern amenities for its guests, including a two-person jacuzzi and flat-screen TVs.
Kersey Valley offers a range of family fun for everyone. Its laser tag course plunges competitors into military-style battles through more than 20 different firefight scenarios across 55 acres of battlefields. Lasers modeled after MP5 submachine guns fire over 1,000 feet during assassination missions or airstrike missions when the staff careens through the air on ziplines while trying to pick players off. The zipline adventure tours prove equally thrilling for Kersey Valley visitors, who glide through the skies across 14 legs of sail-ways that stretch between 200 and 800 feet per leg. Some first-time riders prefer to stretch their aerial time to the max by zipping more than 800 feet long in one run. Those who prefer to keep their amusements more grounded may frolic through seasonal, family-themed adventures, including the Maize Adventure and the Kersey Valley Spookywoods.
Wine and Design’s team of local artists organizes painting classes and get-togethers for any occasion. They provide all the necessary materials⎯including paints, canvases, aprons, brushes, and corkscrews⎯and lead students stroke by stroke as they craft whimsical pictures of subjects such as animals, landscapes, and flora. They also invite guests to bring their own drinks to the party to enhance the fun.
Travels In Wine Tours' co-founders, Kimberlee Young and Derek Schuler, share their love of wine, food, and travel with curious tourists through tours designed and led by certified sommeliers. Epicurean scenic tours of boutique wineries, personalized luxury Napa vacations, and custom weekend getaways marry viticultural education with flavorful indulgence as guests take in picturesque panoramas of vineyards that stretch to the horizon before curving upward and forming bridges to the moon.
At any given time, the Rioja! WineKeeper's handsome wooden casing houses 12 bottles in a temperature-controlled setting. These conditions keep the wines fresh and result in a full-flavored pour. A quick flick of the tap and a crisp white or bold red streams into Riedel crystal, the only glassware used at Rioja! A Wine Bar. Between these sophisticated pouring and storing methods, and the sheer immensity of the full selection—some 800 wines—Rioja!'s dedication to the appreciation of wine is palpable.
Their tapas menu was designed with elegant pairings in mind and—much like playing "spin the bottle" at the UN—highlights flavors from around the world. Prosciutto bruschetta, stuffed dates, and a chorizo and manchego plate show off the kitchen's Mediterranean leanings. South African-style jerky, on the other hand, indicates a willingness to infuse an Old World dining tradition with New World recipes. The bartenders also keep a healthy selection of craft beers from brewers such as Bell's, Duck Rabbit, and Founders.
Sometimes it's tempting to just mix all your favorite foods together in one dish, and The Vines Winery & Mediterranean-Mongolian Fuzion Grill lets you do just that. The dinner experience starts with a personal wine tasting, after which palettes are tantalized as customers choose from a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and unique sauces and sides made from scratch. All of the ingredients are freshly sliced and diced, then passed along to a chef who cooks it in an open kitchen on a huge grill right before the eyes of diners. Patrons can also opt for an array of Mediterranean specialty options such as steak, seafood, and pastas, with vegetarian, vegan, children's, and allergy-friendly options available as well. All of the dishes complement the large selection of wine, champagne, craft beer, and exotic cocktails.