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.
Falderal Winery welcomes guests into the oak-study tasting room twice a month to expound upon the scientific miracle of fermentation. Instructor and vintner Paul Kovacich, a native of the terroir of western North Carolina, wields his experience at Thistle Meadow Winery to aid the public during fermented endeavors. Paul's class covers the winemaking process, from the addition of yeast to bottling to making labels out of cartoons from the New Yorker. Reservations are recommended, as the winery caps classes at eight students.
Inspired by the rustic cuisine of the South, the menu at Chateau Morrisette is home to hand-made, savory beignets; a house take on surf and turf; and boards piled with cheese and charcuterie. Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the restaurant and winery invites guests to experience a taste of old-world elegance with a bottle of one of its many varietals, ranging from summery Blackberry Wine to classic Merlot.
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 semi-sweet 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.