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.
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.
Dave and Ester DeFehr founded Daveste' Vineyards in 2003, and, after several years preparing the land, turned their first harvest into 500 cases in 2006. Today, alongside winemaker Sara Wooten, Dave and Ester continue to take a minimalist approach to winemaking, limiting their production to some 1,500 cases per year. Despite its size, the DeFehr's output has resulted in award-winning varietals, as well as both dry and semisweet whites and reds. Visitors to the vineyard may test some of that selection inside the property's rustic, timber-frame tasting room, which doubles as a gallery for local artists.
The dueling pianists at Piano Man face off, vying for applause as they blaze through the biggest hits from the last hundred years. As they hit each note with perfection, audience members holler their requests and sing along with the pros, a fact the house prides itself on. When their requests hit the stage, guests can cheers with a host of tropical drinks, including the Malibu Painkiller—a euphoric combination of Malibu coconut, black, and sunshine blended with lemonade, OJ, and sprite—or the Entourage Margarita, with Avion tequila, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. To make sure they can remember the name of their favorite song, guests can soak up the cocktails with a menu of pub food classics such as burgers and wings.
Designed to educate beginner and advanced wine lovers alike, Sip and Savor illuminates the vast arena of vino during classes, tours, and private parties. During their classes, students taste a variety of wines while learning practical skills, such as picking the perfect pairing and ordering from a restaurant's wine menu without first sneaking into the cellar to sip from each bottle. Their tours escort visitors to area vineyards, and Sip and Savor also hosts a wine club, which exposes clients to a well-curated selection of wines from around the globe.
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.