When visiting North Carolina’s wine country, there’s no shortage of beautiful vineyard views, southern hospitality and surprisingly good wine. Today, we’re covering some of the best NC wineries, vineyard resorts, tasting rooms, wineries with restaurants and wine experiences to have across the state.
North Carolina is now home to over 200 wineries spread across 5 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). That gives you ample room to roam and taste on a wine trail. You’ll get to experience the bespoke to the luxurious, all while traversing a countryside that will leave you in awe. We begin this guide with a list of wineries that offer lodging, so you can choose a starting point to get out and explore NC.
IN THIS GUIDE:
Banner Elk Winery & Villa
Our first choice for winery accommodation is certainly Banner Elk Winery & Villa. This Tuscan-inspired property comes complete with 8 suites that have either king or queen-sized beds. 2 of the suites have fireplaces. The entire villa is also available to rent for larger groups, and the minimum stay requirement is 3 days if you choose to rent the entire home. While relaxing here, you’ll be just 200 yards from the winery and vineyards, set within a beautiful valley and mountain backdrop.
Banner Elk produces a variety of dry red, white and sweet sangria-style wines. Our readers frequently rave about the outdoor patio and live music on the property. The winery is also somewhat family-friendly, so kids can roam and play on the grounds while parents sit back and sip on the patio.
Elkin Creek Vineyard & Cabins
For a delightful respite away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities, consider a visit to incredibly quaint Elkin Creek Vineyards. This boutique 4-cabin retreat crafts a number of delicious white and red wines. On Sundays, they serve some truly delicious brick oven pizza to guests. Cabins are available with porch swings and fireplaces tucked into the woods by the creek. Visitors can choose to spend a night or weekend on the property. The staff and the ambiance enhance the experience 10-fold at Elkin. If you choose to stay here, you’ll likely come back again and again.
Hampton Inn & Suites Shelton Vineyards
This isn’t just any Hampton Inn & Suites, this is a very special property operated in conjunction with nearby Shelton Vineyards. Located within the town of Dobson and close to Mount Airy, it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to explore Yadkin Valley’s wine country. Both Shelton Vineyards and Round Peak Vineyards are within a 15-minute drive of the hotel, and a shuttle bus offers transport between Shelton Vineyards proper.
The rooms are spacious, clean and vibrant, and the hotel itself has its very own wine bar downstairs. There’s a large area both inside and outside to lounge and sip wine. When it’s time for lunch or dinner, hop on the shuttle to Shelton and be sure to dine at the incredibly delicious Harvest Grill.
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For an authentic log cabin vibe located on the Grassy Creek Winery property, Klondike is a perfect choice. It’s situated in the Yadkin Valley and very close to the aforementioned Elkin Creek Vineyards, so the location is great for those looking to see the region. If antiques and historic artwork are your thing, expect those flavors in each of the 3 cabins available at Klondike. The main cabin is large, with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, entertainment and dining areas that can fit up to 50 people. There’s also a covered porch that overlooks the lake. There are two smaller cabins nearby as well. Each cabin can be rented individually or by a group.
Who doesn’t want to stay in a treehouse? Here at Winetraveler, we jump at every opportunity, especially when that treehouse overlooks a vineyard. At TreeHouse Vineyards, you have 3 options to consider. Each offers the customer a different experience. For example, the rustic “Date Night” treehouse sits 30ft up in the air and offers views of the vineyard from the porch. “Papa’s Dream” offers similar views, a deck with a grill and queen-sized bed. Horsefeathers Hideaway is a much more spacious treehouse that’s tucked into the woods near a creek. It features a 400 square foot deck and a modern design that can fit up to 8 people.
Slightly Askew Winery
Slightly Askew Winery offers a cozy vacation home on their property in Elkin that’s within 5 miles of several top wineries and breweries. If you don’t feel like traveling, you can just head over to the winery on the property, relax on the patio and order by the flight, glass or bottle. Slightly Askew has a loyal fan base and many customers rave about their wines, especially their sweet wines. However, they do offer a range of dry wines suitable for almost every palate.
Olde Farmhouse at Carolina Heritage Vineyard
For a quaint, quiet, and boutique vineyard stay, definitely consider the top-rated Olde Farmhouse at Carolina Heritage Vineyard. Here, you have the opportunity to stay in a farmhouse that was first constructed in 1928. It was recently renovated in 2018 and features a 2-bedroom 1-bath setup right next to the winery. Relax on the porch around sunset with vineyard views and the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.
All of their wines are organic, small-craft and top-notch. We personally highly recommend trying the Cabernet Franc! The tasting room is warm and inviting as are the staff. We seriously have yet to see a bad review of Carolina Heritage.
Round Peak Vineyards
Round Peak is conveniently located off the main road I-77 and is within distance of other popular and beautiful wineries like Shelton Vineyards. Visitors frequent Round Peak to relax on the patio by the fire pit and digest epic vineyard and mountain views. The wine here is sure to accommodate most palates, with a range of reds, whites and dessert wines. They even make grape-infused beers branded under the Skull Cap label.
One of our favorite aspects of Round Peak has to be their disc golf course. It’s completely free to play and perfect for the whole family.
There are two cabins available on the property, the Winery Cabin and the Vineyard Cabin. Both include free tastings if you rent them out. The cabins are both dog-friendly and have porches overlooking the nearby vineyard.
Stony Knoll Vineyards
For a cute and rustic cabin experience, consider staying at Stony Knoll Vineyards. The original cabin was built in the 1800s and was recently refurbished in 2007, but they were able to maintain much of the original classic nuances of the structure. The cabin features a king, double and single bed along with a full kitchen.
Regardless of whether you stay at Stony Knoll or not, you should definitely stop by to see the vineyard and taste the wine. Stony Knoll is known for its enthusiastic and warm staff, small bites and a great selection of wines. The vineyard itself is also beautiful to look at while relaxing on the patio.
100+ acres of vineyards, friendly staff and wine slushies are waiting for you at RayLen. This is one of those wineries in North Carolina that just has it all. Conveniently located near Winston-Salem and accessible from cities like Charlotte and Greensboro, RayLen notes that you don’t need to travel deep into the mountains to find great wine. They craft a range of reds, whites and even a rosé of Cabernet Franc. When it comes to visiting, both tastings and tours are offered. Depending on the day of your visit, you may be greeted with live music on the patio accompanied by local food trucks.
Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery
This winery was founded by Diana & Chuck Jones and Ronnie & Raymond von Drehle in 2007. An estate winery, every drop of wine in your glass was farmed from grapes grown on the property. It’s also non-mechanized for the most part, with harvest and sorting being done completely by hand.
Jones von Drehle is an upscale winery experience with a beautiful, high-ceiling tasting room and expansive outdoor deck. They’re also in the process of building a concert venue on the property, which everyone here at Winetraveler is looking forward to.
Haze Gray Vineyards
This recently established winery crafts a number of delicious wines, especially their Chardonnay, Merlot and even a Chambourcin! Friendly husband and wife team Becky and Dean have constructed a lovely tasting room with an inviting and modern ambiance inside, and a lovely porch outside looking down over the sloping vineyard. In case you’re visiting on a hot day, this is another winery that offers some delicious wine slushies to customers.
A couple of little-known facts about Haze Gray Vineyards: the founders both come from military backgrounds, and there’s also a guest cottage on the property we highly recommend crashing at if available. Be sure to ask about it and tell them we sent you!
Grassy Creek Vineyards
Grassy Creek Vineyards is considered to be somewhat of a hidden gem in NC’s wine country. They produce top-quality wines, and one of our personal favorites is their unoaked Chardonnay. It’s also a convenient winery to stop at if you’re looking for small bites, including an assortment of cheeses, crackers and charcuterie. There is plenty of outdoor seating, periodic live music, and the winery is dog-friendly.
One little insider visitor strategy we recommend is to go hiking to nearby Carter Falls and the “enchanted pine forest” from the winery. Relax later with a bottle of wine and take in some vineyard views. As we mentioned earlier, this property also features lodging at their Klondike Cabins, making for an ideal full-day and night experience.
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery
For a taste of Tuscany right here in North Carolina, definitely make a stop at Raffaldini Vineyards just outside of Elkin. The grounds here are beautiful, the tasting room and main building is gorgeously designed to mimic a Tuscan villa, and there’s a large outdoor (and covered) patio for you to enjoy a flight, glass or bottle of wine surrounded by the vines. There is also a walking path through the gardens that is impressively scenic, and you can walk the grounds with a glass of wine in hand.
Of note, many of our readers have said the wines produced at Raffaldini have the potential to rival those coming out of California. Taste for yourself and let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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For a trip to a stunning property and winemaking operation, consider a tasting experience at Childress Vineyards. Owned by Richard Childress who happens to be a former NASCAR driver, the winery is a destination in and of itself, offering a great selection of whites, reds and dessert-style wines crafted by winemaker Mark Friszolowski. There’s also a bistro on the property that serves lunch from 10AM-4PM, a beautiful patio setting overlooking the vines, shopping inside the winery and opportunities to book special events and tours.
This 1,000-acre estate is a hallmark for wine in the Yadkin Valley. Another elegant and up-scale property, this is the place to come for a luxury experience walking the grounds or dining at the legendary Harvest Grill. You’ll be greeted with sweeping vineyard views as you approach Shelton, set in front of a mountain backdrop. Both tours and a wide range of tastings are offered here, and as we mentioned before, a shuttle runs from the Hampton Inn & Suites so you can stay nearby and avoid driving.
JOLO Winery and Vineyards
For beautiful scenery and a fine dining experience, look no further than JOLO Winery and Vineyards. The venue itself is gorgeously constructed, and you’ll find yourself in awe just gazing across the property and up at Pilot Mountain. The restaurant here has been rated as one of the best 100 brunch restaurants by OpenTable and one of the top 7 wineries outside of California. We had the opportunity to dine and drink here, and we concur. Try the truffle fries and scallops over risotto and pair it with their Golden Hallows white wine blend.
The Biltmore Estate
Easily the most famous estate in North Carolina, this property offers an almost endless range of wine experiences, tours and dining opportunities. The Estate boasts 5 restaurants and 3 different lodging options, each tailored to different budgets, travel preferences and tastes. The Biltmore “experience,” as we like to call it, comes complete with dozens of variations of wine tastings, hiking trail opportunities, archery, a museum, gardens and grounds, kid-friendly activities, and even a spa. While it may be considered the most touristy thing to do in NC, we think it’s worth a visit.
As Winetraveler Contributor Sarah Phillips notes, arriving at Stone Ashe evokes a sense of ambition based on the way they decided to structure their vineyard. If French grape varieties are your jam, you won’t be disappointed in visiting Stone Ashe. The vineyard setting is gorgeous, tucked away between the mountains near Hendersonville. The tasting room feels brand new and modern yet still somehow gives off a rustic vibe. Definitely try the flights offered here, and pay special attention to the reds. Choose your favorite, buy a glass (or a bottle) and relax in one of the Adirondack chairs or walk amongst the vines.
McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks
Another Yadkin Valley winery, McRitchie is certainly more on the boutique side and is family-owned and operated. Their main focuses are small lot wine production and hard ciders. The staff here are known for being friendly, and the views tucked away within Stone Mountain aren’t too shabby either. We also highly recommend trying their cheese plate which and pairing it with your favorite red.
Closer to Asheville and in Hendersonville, a visit to Marked Tree is worth a stop to try some high-quality European varietals crafted right here in North Carolina. Definitely try the Gruner Veltliner on the white side and the Cabernet Franc for a red. This is also an ideal winery if you’re looking for small plates and cheese boards. Dishes range from Sunburst Smoked Trout plates, Roots Hummus plates, Delicious Mother Noble Pimento cheese with veggies plates and Ghost House Truffles.
Like most of the wineries we’ve mentioned on this list, Marked Tree is also known for its beautiful views. Gaze across acres of vineyards and distant mountain peaks at elevation from the tasting room.
If you’re staying in or near Asheville, you can visit their urban tasting room dubbed “The Grape” downtown.
Plēb Urban Winery
For an urban and hipster experience if you’re getting tired of NC’s remarkable countryside, be sure to stop by Plēb Urban Winery in Asheville. Natural, curious and adventurous wine lovers will appreciate Plēb, and they are constantly experimenting with over 26 grape varieties, including varieties with names like Maréchal Foch which we haven’t even heard of. You can also order cheese plates and delicious charcuterie boards when you stop here.
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