By Bridget Huckabee for the SNAP
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 —
This weekend and in the coming weekends take time to explore Stanly County’s wonderful world of wine. Vineyards and viticulture, a form of agriculture, are not new to our county. There were many wineries at the turn of the century that shut down with the onset of prohibition. Now it has become a thriving industry once again, attracting tourists from a wide area.
Everyone, from the connoisseur to the casual taster, can enjoy following the county’s wine trail to taste the wide variety of wines available. On the rolling acres of farmland, the stony ridges of ancient mountains and on verdant creek sides, each of our local vineyards produces its own unique taste. All offer very reasonably priced wine tastings, well-stocked gift shops and have facilities for catered events.
Chad Andrews of Uwharrie Vineyards on Austin Road in western Stanly County opened his business in 2005 and now has 74 acres planted in vines. Like most of the county’s wineries he produces wine from vinifera grapes, originating in Europe and muscadine grapes that are native to North America. The winery is also an Audubon sanctuary and wildlife thrives around the gently rolling hills of his property. Wine tastings are available all year round.
Dennis Vineyards, family owned and operated, is situated near the Endy community and began by producing wines only from the native muscadine grape. Today the winery produces fruit wines, Merlot, Chardonnay, and several other varieties. It hosts wine-tastings and seasonal events.
Across the county, vines march down a rocky hillside overlooking the Yadkin/Pee Dee River. This is the Stony Mountain Vineyard owned and operated by Ken and Marie Furr. The couple started their winery in 1996 on 62 acres near Morrow Mountain State Park. Wines range from Chardonnay to Reisling and from Syrah to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They have now added fruit and muscadine wines to the wine menu. Wine tastings can be enjoyed at the long bar or out on a deck overlooking the river valley and the Uwharrie National Forest.
On the western edge of the county, on the banks of Big Meadow Creek as it flows to the river from which it takes its name, Rocky River Vineyards is another thriving family winery. Begun in 2003 by the Elliott family, the business offers a variety of wines and is a popular venue for weddings, banquets and dances. And although technology has produced an efficient grape-pressing method, wine fans can come out to the vineyard at harvest time to take part in a good old fashioned grape stomping.
Morgan Ridge Vineyards is not within Stanly County, but is well worth the short drive. Situated near Gold Hill and owned by Tommy and Amie Baudoin, the business grows, harvests, and processes seven varietals on site. A newly built winery features a tasting room for connoisseurs and is available for weddings, parties, corporate gatherings and other events. A full catering service is located on site.
Last but not least, the Old Stone Winery located near Salisbury, is also worth the short trip. Owned and operated by Darin and Naomi Griffin, wines range from sweet to dry and both red and white and have won many awards. Look for their label at Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Total Wine to name a few of their sales venues.
No two vineyards produce the same taste and this is what makes an exploration of our local wineries fun and exciting.