North Carolina has a lot of things to boast, one of those being the vast production of wine. If you’re a ‘wino’ then North Carolina is your paradise! It is home to over 525 Vineyards and 185 Wineries and is ranked 11th in the US for wine production. Along with being one of todays nations top producers of wine, North Carolina was the largest wine producing state before prohibition. One great thing about visiting Boone and the High Country is that there are several vineyards near Boone.
Although NC wine history started with the sweeter muscadine wines, they have now diversified and you can find Italian varietals being grown across the state. With five federally recognized viticultural zones offering different styles of wine, the main varietals focus on the traditional muscadine grapes and European-style vitis vinifera grapes. The mountain region is home to four of these AVA zones including the Appalachian High Country, Swan Creek, Upper Hiwwasse Highlands and the Yadkin Valley. Because there are so many awesome wineries and vineyards near Boone to choose from, we have rounded up four of our favorites within 40 minutes of The Horton Hotel. Did someone say “wine weekend”?
Grandfather Vineyard was the first wine producing vineyard in Watauga County. The beautiful vineyard is a convenient 17 minutes away from Downtown Boone and The Horton Hotel.
Grandfather Vineyard is a family owned establishment that began growing its roots in 2003 when the Tatum family planted their first vines. Seven years later, they opened their doors to guests and since have been producing world class wines.
The vineyard is located at an elevation of 3,300 feet. The distinct terrain and mineral composure of the soil has allowed the family to create a flavor profile unique to others. They have found their niche of growing Hybrids, thriving in the cooler climates of the region. These hybrids produce a higher acidity wine that present bold fruit flavors.
Although a small 5 acre property, they grow 10 to 12 varietals of grapes and source grapes from around the state as well as Lodi, California to complete their wines. Some of their grapes include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, St. Croix, Lando Noir, Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc. These wines allow the vineyard to create dry whites, rosés, dry reds, sweet wines, and bubbles! They really do offer something for everyone.
Vineyard teams up with ELEVEN80 Food Truck
The vineyard even offers their very own food truck. The ELEVEN80 Eatery food truck rests its wheels at Grandfather Vineyard throughout the spring, summer and fall months providing guests with delicious modern American food on the weekends. Also check Grandfather Vineyards Event Calendar for special guest artists. With fantastic wine, magazine worthy views and tasty bites Grandfather Vineyard is a must when visiting the High Country.
Banner Elk Winery & Villa
Banner Elk Winery & Villa is less than 30 minutes away from Downtown Boone. Not only is it a beautiful Vineyard, but it also offers a 8 bedroom villa, perfect for large group trips or special events. The winery offers tastings year round at $10 per person everyday of the week, it can fit into anyones schedule.
Banner Elk Winery and Villa opened in 2005 and was the first commercial winery in Avery and Watauga counties. They produce award winning wines from their own harvested grapes as well as other locally grown grapes paying tribute to the mountain landscape. Focusing on the uniqueness of the High Country land has landed the vineyard with some fantastic accolades. The most recent award being two Gold Medals at the 2013 International Eastern Wine competition for the 2011 Banner Elk Red and the 2011 Marechal Foch.
Stay and Sip a While
With touchless meat and cheese trays and a vast variety of wines, Banner Elk Winery & Villa is a great place to sit and sip. They will even occasionally feature local singers/songwriters for some lovely background tunes. The idyllic setting and even the accommodations if you choose to stay in the Villa will make you want to visit time and time again.
Linville Falls Winery
Summer through Winter Linville Falls is a beautiful destination. What used to be an area known mainly for the beautiful gorge and cascading falls is now also known for Linville Falls Winery. Only 40 minutes from Downtown Boone and also 10 minutes away from the Linville Waterfalls Trailhead the winery is a quintessential stop for any visitor.
The 40 acre farm and vineyard offers grape varieties including Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Noiret, Marquette, Petit Verdot, Marechal Foch, and their flagship grape, Riesling. The farm also produces mountain fruits such as blueberries, heirloom apples, pumpkins and even Fraser Firs!
Enjoy Nature & Tradition in Linville Falls
The story of Linville Falls Vineyard is a heartfelt one beginning with Jack Wiseman, a High Country Native. In his mid-70’s Jack began growing grape vines alongside his Fraser Fir trees which had become his career. At the age of 80, the Winery opened its doors to the public and Jack never looked back. It has now become a family business ran by Jack and his grandchildren. In the winter, the family also operates the Red Barn Tree Farm, a choose and cut Christmas Tree Farm.
So whether you’re in town for a hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway or visiting to grab a Christmas tree, stop by Linville Falls Winery and grab a something to sip on!
Stardust Cellars & Taproom
Whats better than wine? Wine, Mead and Beer! Stardust Cellars is unique find from head to toe. Stardust taproom is located 40 minutes East on highway 421 in Wilkesboro.
They focus on ‘local’, offering 24 Carolina-dedicated drafts, including beers, a variety of meads and their ancestral foot stomped wine. Made in the heart of the Appalachia, Stardust Cellars is an off-grid sustainable meadery and winery and is the first biodynamic vineyard in North Carolina. They have been awarded the highest possible sustainability rating given by the NC GreenTravel in 2019, paying homage to their focus on organic and sustainable principles.
Introducing Mead to the High Country
Stardust Cellars creates wines ranging from the Sparking Traminette to our personal favorite the Cora del Castillo a beautiful Spanish red wine blend. If you are looking for something different, we recommend trying their mead flight tagged “Flight of the Bees”. The flight includes 4 selections of 2 oz. pours. Some of their rotating flavors currently include; scotch bonnet, rosemary beet, or rum barrel aged mead and coke. To top it off, most of their mead infusions are locally grown on the owners farm or gathered from other Wilkes County farms. Like what you try… order a glass and they will serve it in a traditional viking horn. We told you, UNIQUE!
Built alongside the Yadkin River with a dog park and cozy outdoor seating Stardust hosts special events weekly. These include trivia, special musical artists and even a comedy night! Great people, great atmosphere, and great drinks!
Plan Your Visit with The Horton Hotel
If you’re making plans to visit the Boone area and are looking for things to do, these wineries and vineyards near Boone are a must visit. The Horton Hotel makes for a fabulous home base to kick off your shoes after your High Country wine tour. Our Front Desk Associates are equipped with all the info you’ll need for your future travels. Call us today (828) 832 8060 or book online at thehorton.com.
Written by Sydney Blair, Front Desk Assistant at The Horton Hotel