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.
Has your business won any awards?
Muddy River competed in The Big Sip Cup Drink Expo in Greensboro, North Carolina. We won Best Spirits in 2012 and 2013, first overall in 2013, and 2nd overall in 2012 to beat out many other breweries, wineries, coffee, and tea.
We also won Best Locally Made Spirit in the Best of Charlotte Awards by "Creative Loafing" Magazine in October 2013.
Do you adhere to any sustainable or eco-friendly practices?
Yes?Muddy River Distillery recycles the water used to cool down our stills to make our mash. We're glad we can reuse the water and not waste it.
Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill pays a deep resemblance to the kind of farm one might have visited during a fall field trip, with trees laden with ripening apples ready to be plucked. But, take a turn in the orchard and you'll encounter the piney scent of something else entirely: towering Cascade hop plants. The fresh juice that flows from the apple presses ferments for six months, emerging as mildly bubbly hard cider or accidental alcoholic applesauce. Concoctions infused with strawberries, peaches, and fragrant spices spill from bottles and taps, pairing with sugar-dusted cider donuts.
At Fiddler's Vineyard, owners Mark and Sherry Crowder believe the every wine has its own melody?which is why each of their creations has a musical name. The Crowder's small, family-run winery specializes in sweet and unusual wines, including Muscadine, Scuppernong, and fruit wines. Additionally, Mark and Sherry utilize their vineyard space to entertain the community by hosting live performances, especially those featuring a fiddle and traditional acoustic instruments.
A new player on Charlotte's vibrant culinary scene, El Camino greets diners with a menu of fresh, scratch-made Tex-Mex dishes that are as innovative as they are family-friendly. Meals often start with the kitchen's signature guacamole, which contains traditional ingredients—hand-smashed avocados, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro—but with a creative addition of roasted peppers. Warm flour tortillas play triple duty; they envelop spinach and cheese to create quesadillas, hold unusual fixings, such as fried chicken or beef brisket, inside half a dozen taco varieties, and wrap themselves around nine kinds of overstuffed burritos. The El Camino kitchen prepares north-of-the-border specialties as well, including Cowboy Burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and a West Texas chili made with five varieties of peppers.
In addition to the sense of perseverance and accomplishment that comes with finishing a 5K, the organizers of the Bacon Chase have added another incentive: bacon. During their two races?the 5K Piggy Pilgrimage, which is a traditional 5K, and the 0.05K Blitz to Bacon, which is a 164-foot sprint?runners can munch on unlimited bacon bits before feasting on unlimited amounts of bacon at the finish line. Runners 21 and older can wash down the savory strips of bacon with a bloody mary, and all runners get a Bacon Chase T-shirt and a signature bacon-scented bib. The festival opens at 8 a.m. and features many bacon-themed activities, plus music.
The festive day serves a greater purpose, too. Attendees will be able to register to become a St. Jude Hero, raise money for St. Jude Children?s Research Hospital, or both.