- $17 for a wine tasting for two plus a take-home bottle of Girasole 2013 ($30 value)
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery
The Raffaldini family has been making wine since before Shakespeare started writing plays. Centuries later, their North Carolina vineyard carries on tradition, hosting more than 8 grape varieties on highly specialized soil.
In fact, the location is so key to the wine's flavor that the family looked at more than 60 prospects before deciding on the Swan Creek AVA in the Yadkin Valley. Its microclimate produces unique grape clusters that are then sorted by hand, macerated, and aged. But the wines aren't the only remnant of Italy that the Raffaldinis brought with them: they also built a Tuscan-style villa, complete with Italian art and a tasting room with mountain views.
Guests to the vineyard can explore this remarkable building during tours and events, such as seasonal tasting dinners. The outdoors are just as welcoming, and the villa's spread of picnic-ready food encourages visitors to snack and drink on the grounds. The vineyard also houses its own certified wildlife habitat, so be on the lookout for butterflies, birds, and herds of migrant corks.