Somehow, fall seems to be the ideal time for wine. Wine knocks the chill out of the fall air, warms the heart and soul.
If you're looking for a wine event on a fall day, you can look forward to the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival on Saturday, Oct. 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. in Yadkinville.
The Yadkin Valley has its own appellation — a legally defined and protected geographic area where the grapes are grown. And there's plenty of excellent wineries in the area, ranging from sweet fruit wines to French and European varietals.
Here are the wineries scheduled to participate:
Allison Oaks Vineyards, Yadkinville NC
Brandon Hills Vineyard, Yadkinville NC
Brushy Mountain Winery, Elkin NC
Carolina Heritage Vineyard, Elkin NC
Cellar 4201, East Bend NC
Divine Llama Vineyards, East Bend NC
Dobbins Creek Vineyard, Hamptonville NC
Flint Hill Vineyards, East Bend NC
Grassy Creek Vineyards, Elkin NC
Hanover Park Vineyard, Yadkinville NC
Herrera Vineyards, Dobson NC
Laurel Gray Vineyards, Hamptonville NC
Menarick Vineyard, Elkin NC
Native Vines Winery, Elkin NC
Olde Mill Vineyards, Dobson NC
RagApple Lassie Vineyards, Boonville NC
River de Vine Vineyards, Boonville NC
Sanders Ridge Vineyards, Boonville NC
Shadow Springs Vineyards, Hamptonville NC
Slightly Askew Winery, Elkin NC
Stony Knoll Vineyards, Dobson NC
Surry Cellars, Dobson NC
Surry Oaks Vineyards, Pinnacle NC
Weathervane Winery, Lexington NC
Windsor Run Cellars, Hamptonville NC
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. To order, go to http://yvgf.com/
I've tasted or visited 16 of those on the list and you will find some excellent wines among them. Brandon Hills has a Raptor Red that's nice. Sales of it benefit the Raptor Center outside Charlotte. Divine Llama is a fun place to visit, but I'll bet they don't bring a llama to the festival. Dobbins Creek has a beautiful view and intriguing wines - check them out if you haven't recently. Flint Hill also does some luscious reds. Grassy Creek has a nice variety from sweet to dry. Hanover Park is one of our all-time favorites, with treats like port and vin de l'orange, a wine with vanilla and orange flavors, among its mix of dry and sweet. Laurel Gray wines have been around for several years, as has Rag Apple Lassie, both of whom have won awards for their wines. Sanders Ridge, if you ever get to visit the tasting room, has a restaurant and a lively cabernet franc that's not too tannic. It's been a long time since I've tasted what Stony Knoll is doing, so it's time to revisit. Weathervane has a wide variety of fruit flavors and Windsor Run is becoming known for its delectable cherry wine (it used to be Buck Shoals).
Of course, you can't taste all of it and you shouldn't try. Pick no more than 4, I'd say, or 5 if you take a break and have something to eat. If I get to go, I'd like to try Menarick, which is new and wants to specialize in Spanish wines or River de Vine, whose website says the owner previously grew tobacco, wheat, soybeans and corn, then started with grapes in 2001.
It's good to visit old friends and familiar wines, but take this chance to try something you've never tasted before.