Wineries are interesting places. I love visiting them but some winemakers take their craft so seriously they’ve sucked the fun out of tastings. Others offer little guidance at all. Divine Llama is in that sweet spot and I’m not going to lie, they had me at llamas. These Seussian creatures are at turns funny, affectionate and surly. If they were people, we’d be besties. It’s hard not to relax when you’re snuggled up to one of these odd endearing creatures with their knock knees, big cow eyes, camel bodies, a serious underbite and all that shaggy fur.
On 5 acres a bit out of Winston-Salem in the town of East Bend sits this whimsical, fun winery. Everything about it is low-key. It’s a place that calls you to relax and have fun. I’m not a fan of North Carolina wines generally but have been finding those produced in the Yadkin Valley are appealing. They’re not sweet and are often produced from European grape varietals. They are not California wines. They’re not European wines. Once I got past that hurdle in my head I could appreciate them. I enjoyed the Divine Llama wines with my favorites being the Cabernet Franc and Chardonel.
The tasting room features a nice wide porch with indoor and outdoor seating. Tastings are $8 and usually include 8 wines though on the day I was there they were out of their white blend, Mustang Sally so I only sampled 7. 7 wines people! 7! For $8. I love this place. They produce Traminette, Chardonel, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, a red blend and 2 styles of Rosè. I enjoyed these wines because they were not muscadine based so they didn’t have the sweetness I associate with North Carolina wines. I feel like a bad North Carolinian every time I say that but while Muscadines make a great jam they’re not a wine grape to me. If you prefer non-sweet more California styled wines you might enjoy these. After the tasting I chose a glass of the Chardonel – crisp, refreshing and with a hint of oak, bought some snacks and then went to meet the llamas.
They had just finished a llama trek (guests can pay to walk a llama and get an in-depth behind the scenes tour of the vineyards) so the llamas were hanging out at the tasting room. Guests are also encouraged to walk the grounds and a short walk down the farm path led to more llamas and miniature horses.
Visiting Divine Llama Vineyards was a great way to spend the afternoon. For families this would make a great inexpensive outing since it’s kid friendly and you can pack your own picnic. Adults get wine, kids get space to run and everyone gets llamas.
Fun Facts: Llamas can learn simple tasks after only a few repetitions.
They have 2 lower teeth that are used for chewing vegetation. Useful and adorable too!
Llamas have little odor so snuggling up to one is quite nice.
Divine Llama Vineyards
Tasting Room,5349 Macedonia Road, East Bend, NC 27018
Friday & Saturday
Jan/Feb-Open Sat/Sun Only
or by appt. call
Lodging: Stay at the Kimpton Cardinal in downtown Winston-Salem. There is lodging around the winery but I’m a sucker for a Kimpton.