Down the road a piece as my grandmother would say is the Yadkin Valley. I’ve never liked North Carolina wines – too sweet – but some folks suggested I give Yadkin Valley wines a try. Italian wines are my favorite so I decided Raffaldini Vineyards would be my first foray. The Raffaldinis hailed from Italy (feeling good about them already) some generations ago and are growing Italian grape varietals (you had me at Sangiovese). My boyfriend and I headed out from Winston toward the Yadkin Valley and 45 minutes later we were headed up a driveway toward a villa that looked like it could have been plucked from the Italian countryside (so far, so good). We’d arrived at Raffaldini Vineyards.
Overlooking the vineyard from the villa’s terrace it felt for a moment that I had been transported to Italy but then the bite on my ankle and oppressive North Carolina heat told me otherwise. I made my way to a tasting station inside (oh air conditioning most blessed of things) and for $12.00 I sampled 6 wines. Sangiovese is one of my favorite grapes and the Sangiovese Classico and Bella Misto, a blend of 8 grapes but primarily Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Petit Verdot, were exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed most of the wines I tried except the Moscato (sweet) but from the oohs and aahs from folks around me, those would loved sweet were loving it. We wanted something crips and light to enjoy on the terrace so we bought a bottle of the Girasole, a dry rosé made from Sangiovese and Montepulciano, and headed out.
On weekends they have live music and a food truck in addition to offering other food items in the tasting room. We settled in for an acoustic guitarist and Triangle food truck Porchetta was serving up sandwiches. It was a great afternoon sipping wine and listening to music. As we drove back to Winston-Salem I made note of all the wineries we passed. I’m looking forward to my next exploration of the Yadkin Valley and discovering more non-sweet North Carolina wines. This winery is definitely worth a return visit too.
The Yadkin Valley is 1.4 million acres. That’s a lot of wineries. Here’s a handy map.
Lodging is available in nearby Elkin or stay at my new fave, the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston Salem.