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.
Taste Carolina Wine Festival's ninth annual installment fills swirling goblets with varietal wines and ears with the dulcet tones of talented musicians. Aged grape spirits hail from wineries such as Native Vines and Cellar 4201, filling complimentary commemorative stemware and the cupped hands of feral connoisseurs with samples of their signature blends. As evening descends, musical headliners The Grey Street Band jam and wail through popular Dave Matthews Band covers such as "#41, " and "Warehouse." Bottled wines are also available for purchase, and a pick-up area prevents customers from having to tote their selections around and provides bottles with one last chance to fraternize with their friends.
Under the tutelage of Merlot & Van Gogh’s talented local artists, students of all skill levels daub canvases and clink glasses in two-hour BYOB painting classes. Between sips of wine, beer, or fizzy lifting drink, painters utilize a provided inventory of brushes and vibrant acrylic hues to re-create an image or fabricate a new one based on the night’s given theme. Step-by-step instructions guide the class through creative discovery, and provided aprons safeguard participants from paint smears incurred while hugging especially well-rendered self-portraits.
Helmed by Doctor of Wine Chemistry Robert Wurtz, Stonefield Cellars Winery's team of winemakers craft award-winning, small-batch libations using grapes from an onsite vineyard, as well as from local Yadkin Valley vineyards. The winery offers wine tastings in a tasting room with dark wood accents where cheese and crackers are also available, as well as hot mulled wine on winter weekends. An array of events includes workshops that educate students on different grape varietals, as well as winemaking classes where instructors demonstrate their craft and show off limited-edition grape-stomping boots. Winemakers also guide budding blenders through a bottling program, during which they learn to mix, ferment, and bottle their own wines. Stonefield Cellars also offers regular events such as dinner-and-concert nights or wine-and-food pairings to grant visitors unique ways to taste their wines. In warmer weather, tours and revelers venture outside the tall white barn to frolic under an outdoor pavilion or on rolling green hills.:
Not ones to miss a chance to throw a party, the organizers of Wine & Dine Auctions turn their events into entertaining and educational experiences. Beer and wines from local vineyards pair with steak dinners, which are prepared on charcoal grills onsite so participants can gather cooking tips from the chefs. Next, guests wander over to the auction, where they bid on exclusive, high-grade cuts of meat and other gourmet food items, with minimum bids starting at about 75% off the retail cost.
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.