Travel To North Carolina Appalachian Wine Country | Nik Snacks

This post is sponsored by Tabletop Media Group in partnership with NC Wine. All words, photos and opinions expressed are my own.

Guide To North Carolina Appalachian Wine Country 

You don’t have to look far to find good wine, beautiful wineries, and expansive vineyards.

Travel to the wine country of the Applachian Mountains in North Carolina is my new favorite vacation getaway. If you know anything about wine in America, you know that Napa Valley is one of the world's famous wine regions and heralded as the wine epicenter in the US. If you live in or are within driving distance to North Carolina, the only flight you have to book is one at your choice of more than 200 wineries and vineyards. Read on for where to stay, play and eat in Appalachian Wine Country.

I've never been a stranger to wine and all things fermented, but given the chance to travel for wine, I take it! I booked a long weekend trip to the Appalachian Wine Country with my partner to enjoy the expansive mountain views and sip some wine. During our trip, we had the pleasure of visiting three wineries, four restaurants and enjoyed a stay on a beautiful property on the side of a mountain! Keep reading to find more info about your new favorite wine trail!  

A scene from Linville Falls Winery

North Carolina ranks tenth in both grape and wine production in the US. Home of America’s first grape, the wine industry here has matured like a fine wine. As one of the country’s top five most visited state destinations for wine and culinary tourism, there are multiple wine trails across five AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) that encourage travel and wine experiences. 

Hiking, biking, whitewater rafting and drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway (consistently the most visited National Park in the US) are what define the mountainous region of NC but the wine trails are what hold it together. From the Foothills to the Smokies, wineries are nestled next to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and were born from the dwindling tobacco industry and the need to replace barren land with another agricultural product: grapes. 

Nearly 40 wine stops stretch across the Appalachian Mountain range including the charming towns of Banner Elk and Linville Falls (Newland).There are five established wine trails in North Carolina, but today I'm blazing a new trail.

DAY ONE: Our first stop was an afternoon at Linville Falls Winery in Newland, NC. 

Just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Gorge, 40 acre family owned and operated vineyard, winery, and farm. Throughout the farm you'll find blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and Christmas trees!

They offer table service as the primary way of serving wine to guests. And you can order wine by the glass, by the bottle, or in a wine flight. Be flighty! Pick ANY four wines and enjoy yourself. The Cherry Bounce was my favorite and we ended up taking a bottle of that little baby home. Let me know in the comments which four YOU would choose?

My boo and my wine glass

We got a snack too. Food Trucks are here every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday. 

The Accardi Brothers Famous Brick Oven Pizza Truck offered 3 different handmade pizza personal pizzas that were ready in less than 2 minutes! Every pizza place advertises that their pies are "hot and fresh" but these really were! Real, fresh tomatoes; Real fresh basil; Real, fresh mozzarella. We ordered two pizzas and they hit the spot before heading to dinner later in the evening.

This is my "I've Had 3 Glasses Of Wine" face

We had dinner at the Pedalin' Pig. Do you know the sign of a good BBQ place? The sign has a pig on it or there's a stack of wood outside the restaurant.

Two pigs on the sign = Two very good signs this is a good place to eat

This is the Brisket Platter ($18): served with your choice of two sides and Texas toast. That slab of brisket was the length and size of my forearm. We ended up eating off of it for 3 days straight. Talk about getting your money's worth! 

More toppings than fillings, the Brisket And Green Chile Tacos ($11) hit the spot. But I didn't care, I was stealing okra off the brisket platter.

Our lodgings for the weekend!

Situated right in the middle of the Appalachian Mountain area is Sugar Mountain. Known as a snow resort area for skiing and winter fun, the mountain is a great place to stay in the off-season with excellent rates.

We stayed at The Highlands At Sugar Mountain condos. The one and two-bedroom units are perfect for family vacation or a couple’s getaway. Most units are refurbished and have all of the amenities of home. Complimentary Wi-Fi and cable TV, fully-furnished kitchen, which includes cookware, and 24-hour access to clubhouse pool, sauna and billiards room. There is no central air, but plenty of oscillating fans and open windows made for a pleasant and comfortable stay. Watch the video below to see our second floor condo accommodations. Tell me you don't want to ride up to the mountains right now and get some of that fresh air:

Day TWO: we set out on an all-day trek to visit two more wineries while dodging rain storms.

Is this the Banner Elk? 

Our first stop was Banner Elk Winery & Villa in Banner Elk, NC. 

This winery is serene with a pond, large fire pit, canopies and benches for sitting and an expansive verandah with stadium-style seating that overlooks the pond. Inside of the winery is cozy and gave me major mountain lodge vibes. 

The wine list is extensive and includes a handful of sangrias available for purchase by the glass.

Our second stop was Grandfather Vineyard & Winery. When I told friends on Facebook I was visiting this winery, dozens of them commented that Grandfather was their favorite and with recommendations about what to drink while visiting.

Located at the base of Grandfather Mountain and next to the Wautaga River, the tasting room is a beautiful, welcoming outdoor space. Wine flights are only available Monday through Thursday (sorry, Weekend Warriors) but ordering by the bottle or by the glass is available during hours of operation.
The most popular selection is the Vermintino, and I have to agree. 

Overall, I loved the beautiful vistas and the fresh air of the mountains. There were no crowds, hardly any traffic and it was truly a relaxing weekend. Side ventures to Grandfather Mountain and a trek down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Price Lake near Blowing Rock, NC were other highlights of the trip, but nothing matched the wine we had.

Have you visited the Appalachian mountain region? If so, what’s your favorite winery? If not, which of these wineries would you visit? Start planning your mountain getaway today! In the meantime check out my TOP FIVE travel tips here.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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