A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Spacious outdoor patios and decks framed by colorful gardens, rows of vines as far as the eye can see, and the sounds of nature punctuated only by the laughter of

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Spacious outdoor patios and decks framed by colorful gardens, rows of vines as far as the eye can see, and the sounds of nature punctuated only by the laughter of

The North Carolina Winery Guide: A Glass of Wine with a View

Spacious outdoor patios and decks framed by colorful gardens, rows of vines as far as the eye can see, and the sounds of nature punctuated only by the laughter of family and friends: For North Carolinians eager to find rejuvenation in a stunning setting, our state’s wineries provide a welcome destination.

With the graciousness of hosts accustomed to entertaining, vineyard owners from the mountains to the coast create memorable guest experiences through tough and temperate seasons. Discover exceptional wines and a natural respite at these North Carolina wineries with spectacular views.


Raffaldini Vineyards

Raffaldini’s expansive Tuscan-style villa tasting room and veranda in the Yadkin Valley and Swan Creek area offers a stunning backdrop of rolling countryside that inspires visitors to decompress while they discover new wines.

The Tuscan-style villa tasting room and veranda at Raffaldini Vineyards photograph by James Mieczkowski

Even more than its soothing effect, Raffaldini’s scenery brings out the flavor in the wine. “Whenever people tell me about their favorite wines, it comes easily to them,” says owner Jay Raffaldini. “You remember your favorite wine because you were in a certain place, talking and laughing with your friends, sharing a bottle of wine. That’s what makes it your favorite wine.”

Plus, the experience is seamless for guests, who don’t have to think about the logistics of social distancing. “We offer outside table seating on the balcony of the villa, on the piazza under a tent, and on the fattoria deck. We also invite our guests to bring their own blankets and chairs to enjoy the view while seated on the lawn,” he says. “The view is so commanding, folks really prefer to be outside looking at the mountains and strolling through the gardens.”


Silver Fork Winery

Just outside of Morganton, Silver Fork Winery rests on a serene, 32-acre farm. At 1,200 feet, the stunning tasting room, reminiscent of a ski chalet, overlooks the South Mountains. Saturday music, summer Movies Under the Stars, self-guided wine flights, and the peaceful valley view keep visitors coming back to Silver Fork.

“You come up the driveway and it’s absolutely stunning,” says winemaker Jennifer Fouldies, who co-owns Silver Fork with her husband Ed Wisnieski. “The property has a very special energy.”

In August 2020, Silver Fork opened its new 4,000-square-foot winery, offering private tours and barrel tastings. Don’t miss the dry Rosé made from Cabernet Franc or the 4 Dog Red, named after the owners’ original pack of four rescue dogs.


Linville Falls Winery

Wind north of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Gorge to Linville Falls Winery, a welcoming 40-acre family owned farm.

“We’ve always wanted to be a place of rest for people — a place where people can enjoy being with each other,” says Jessica Wiseman, operations manager and granddaughter of the owner. “We have rows of vines and Christmas trees, a Tuscan-looking tasting room, and an Appalachian Mountain-style barn, but it weirdly works beautifully.”

At 3,200 feet, this mountain vineyard encourages relaxation with on-site yoga classes near the big red barn, live local music, and food trucks each weekend. The dog- and kid-friendly winery offers table service for wine flights, glasses, and bottles. Be sure to try their Riesling, a specialty of the Appalachian High Country.

The red barn at Linville Falls Winery photograph by Linville Falls Winery

“People love it here in the mountains, where they can grab a glass of wine and spread out in the vineyard,” Wiseman says. “A fun spot to go is our deck in the woods. It’s a few degrees cooler up there and has views of Mt. Mitchell, Hawksbill Mountain, and Table Rock.”


Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard

Stepping out of the vines at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard in Hendersonville, a small group from the farm tour returns and heads to the food truck for refreshment. Another group sits at their tables situated in the vines and start their tasting flight: a steel-aged Vidal Blanc, a dry sparkling Rosé blend, and a Cabernet Franc.

Crisp mornings and the friendly shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains bring relief nearly year-round in the Hendersonville vineyard. “We have unbelievable views of Mt. Pisgah and we’re famous for our sunsets,” Vineyard Manager Barbara Walker says. “Our visitors are invited to roam the vines and the 29 acres of apple orchards.”

Sunset at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard photograph by Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard

Across the street from the tasting room, Saint Paul recently opened a cidery in a renovated 100-year-old barn. Every weekend, visitors set up chairs and blankets on the lawn where they listen to live, local musicians.

“This area is unique,” Walker says. “The Crest of the Blue Ridge is the only American Viticultural Area that grows on both sides of the Continental Divide.”

On the same latitude as northern Italy and Germany, the climate is ideal for growing grapes like French vinifera. And because of the cooler temperatures, wineries in this region make amazing Chardonnay.


Burntshirt Vineyards

Just down the road in Hendersonville, opportunities for outdoor tastings are plentiful at the 20-acre Burntshirt Vineyards. Between the old brick-house tasting room, a gazebo, a large covered pavilion, and well-manicured gardens, guests feel as if they have the vineyard all to themselves while they partake in flights of any five wines from the 25 varieties Burntshirt offers.

“People really enjoy going at their own pace and relaxing on the beautiful grounds,” says Derek Pross, winemaker and manager at Burntshirt. “They enjoy the less humid weather and our easy-drinking reds while looking down the rows of vines.

Views of the cross and vineyard at Burntshirt Vineyards photograph by Burntshirt Vineyards

Because of the vineyard’s high 3,400-foot elevation, they can produce wines not commonly found in the southeast. Sample the Gruner Veltliner — Pross’s favorite white — and the Altitude 3400, a unique blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Chambourcin.


Overmountain Vineyards

For French-style wines, head south to Overmountain Vineyards in Tryon. Open year-round, this reservation-only winery offers bottle and glass service on its fully covered patio overlooking the 70-acre property. Favorites include the Petit Manseng, fittingly named Epic, and their Chablis-style Chardonnay, which is on the dry side.

Overlooking the vineyard at Overmountain Vineyards photograph by Dillon Deaton

In June and July, guests can sip wine while picking their own blueberries on the farm, originally part of the U.S. National Trails System’s Overmountain Victory Trail.

“Fall is the prettiest time of year to be out on the vineyard. It’s cool, the vines have a lot of foliage, and the colors in the mountains are incredible,” says Sofia Lilly, winemaker and co-owner of Overmountain. “Guests sit on the covered patio, enjoy the vineyards and hang out with a picnic or lunch from food trucks.”

This story was published on Sep 15, 2020

Alice Manning Touchette

Alice Manning Touchette is a writer and editor living in Raleigh.