Girlfriends Getaway: NC Yadkin Valley Wine Region (Part 1)

NC Yadkin Valley Wine Region (Perfect spot for Girlfriends Getaway)

It’s no secret that Southerners like their sweet tea, but we also enjoy our wine, too. North Carolina was actually the first place in the nation that cultivated the grape vine and it’s the only place in the world where every type of grape is grown.  That’s right. Every type of grape! Because the Scuppernong grape is our official state fruit and we like sweet tea, many people, even a few of our in state residents, think all of our wines are of the sweeter variety, but that is totally false.  

The Yadkin Valley Wine Region

Map of grapes grown in N.C and the different regions. N.C grows every type of grape.
Map credit:  N.C. Winegrowers Association

North Carolina also produces the European-style vinifera grapes. These types of grapes are the same grapes that are grown in California, Oregon, Washington, and France.  These vinifera grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. The majority of these grapes are grown in one particular cluster in North Carolina called the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. This region is a federally recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is located in northwestern North Carolina. In this particular area of the state which is very near the city of Winston-Salem, there are nearly 40 wineries and about 400 acres devoted to vineyards.

Elkin, N.C. in  Surry County

Downtown Elkin: #OutaboutNC NC Yadkin Valley Wine Guide
One of my favorite shots I took of Elkin that I posted on Instagram. 

For my visit, I chose Elkin, North Carolina to be our base in Surry County. Surry County is home to 17 vineyards, and it would be impossible to visit them all in one weekend. For this girlfriend’s getaway,we mainly concentrated on visiting wineries of the Upper Yadkin Wine Trail as well as Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C, which is state’s largest family-owned winery. We visited six wineries (Brushy Mountain, Shelton Vineyards, Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery, McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Jones vonDrehle, and Elkin Creek Vineyard) in about 48 hours. Yes, we were busy. 

Elkin is about a three-hour drive from Raleigh,and about half an hour from Winston-Salem, N.C. We started our trip at 1:00 p.m. and checked in to our hotel by 4:00 p.m. 

4:00 pm Friday Hotel Check-In at Fairfield Inn and Suites 

Fairfield Suites in Elkin, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region

The Yadkin Valley Wine Region has a lot of accommodations for all budgets, and many of those are adorable cabins and Bed and Breakfast Inns that would be perfect for couples. For this particular trip, since I was traveling with my friend from Wilmington, and we wanted to be close to downtown Elkin, we chose a national hotel chain that was far from cookie-cutter and bland. I selected The Fairfield Inn and Suites in Elkin, which is a great location, close to the wineries we visited and an easy five minutes drive to downtown Elkin. 

Suites at the Fairfield Inn in Elkin

This Elkin hotel has been a top-rated Marriott in the U.S. for several years in a row and is the perfect hotel for family and girlfriend getaways. It was the perfect base for us with attractive common areas. Rooms were spacious, comfortable, and a good price.  Rates are under $150 per night and include breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and wine tastings. I also loved that the hotel had coffee, food, and drinks with easy access all-day; not just for breakfast. 

5:30 pm Friday Wine Tasting at Brushy Mountain Vineyard

Brushy Mountain Vineyard in Elkin, N.C. #OutaboutNC Yadkin Valley Wine Guide

This urban winery in downtown Elkin offers modern day sophistication in the old Elkin Canning Company that operated from 1898 to 1922. With live music in a casual atmosphere, this is the place where you want to buy a glass of wine or two and spend hours.

Brushy Mountain Vineyard in Elkin, N.C. #OutaboutNC Yadkin Valley Wine Guide  Brushy Mountain is in old Canning building.

Winemaker Jason Wiseman makes the wine downstairs in a cellar-like atmosphere, and most of the wines are named after historic places in the area. 

Wines at Brushy Mountain Vineyards are named after historic landmarks and places in the area.

He has produced a fabulous Chardonnay called the “Yadkin Valley” which he has fermented in both stainless steel and aged sur-lie French oak barrels. It was a great combination and one of my favorites. 

Brushy Mountain Vineyard in Elkin, N.C.

Another favorite of mine was the “Red Bud Ridge Red” from the fantastic 2007 harvest, which had a lot of dry days and cool nights, according to Wiseman. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chambourcin. This winery’s tasting room is a must-visit when in Elkin. Brushy Mountain Winery is open Thursday through Sunday afternoons, closing at 5 p.m except on Friday and Saturday evenings. On these nights, it stays open until 8 p.m. Brushy Mountain Vineyard is located at 125 West Main Street in Elkin. 

Winemaker Jason Wiseman with Blogger, Leigh Powell Hines, founder of #OutaboutNC and Hinessightblog
Enjoying a glass of Brushy Mountain wine with winemaker Jason Wiseman

Dining in Downtown Elkin

Downtown Elkin may be a small town, but it impresses with its restaurant selection. Popular restaurants are Heaven’s Scent Restaurant, Fiddle’s Pub, 222 Public House at the Liberty, and Harry’s Place Restaurant and Bar, a local favorite that has been serving residents since 1954, serving seafood and steaks.

Harry's Place since 1954 in Elkin, N.C.

We chose Harry’s Place. It serves dinner on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings only. I decided to take some photos of Elkin and told my friend to put  our name on the list. There was a wait. She placed our name on a clipboard on the wall, and we waited for our table outside for about 30 minutes. There is nothing attractive about this restaurant at all. But, with the waiting crowd, we knew it must be good. 

Harry's Place in Elkin, N.C.

The open, short-order grill is inside the dining room. The restaurant doesn’t appear to have changed since 1954. And honestly, I don’t think the prices have changed too much either. I ate for less than $14 with a tip.  Once our food arrived, we quickly realized why this has been an Elkin dining staple since 1954.  My own Dad used to have a restaurant that rivaled this one with simple cuisine, and for the first time in 15 years, I tasted a country style steak with peppers and onions and Texas toast that was as good as what he served. If you’re a big city, Whole Foods type shopper, who can’t eat anything, but organic then you may want to skip it, but I’ve been told it has some of the best crab legs for $20 that you can eat. 

Friends Catching Up at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Elkin

Outdoor area at Elkin Fairfield Inn and Suites

The Fairfield Inn has a great wine shop, and the most perfect spot to relax and catch up with a friend.

On our next post, get ready to explore the other wineries during the weekend.  Parkway Wine Tours met us at the hotel at 10 a.m. and our driver, Billy, treated us like queens. 

Stay tuned. Be sure to not to miss a post and subscribe by email on the top right sidebar corner. 

For your trip planning:
Surry County Tourism

My thanks to Surry County Tourism for partnering with me on curating this special Yadkin Valley Wine Trip. Some expenses were my own and as always, so are my opinions

Be sure to read our other Yadkin Valley Posts
You are now reading Part 1 (Fairfield Inn and Brushy Mountain Vineyard)
Part 2 (Shelton Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery) 
Part 3 (McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery, Elkin Creek Vineyard)

Join us every Thursday on the first of the month for Instagram Travel Thursday, founded by Skimbaco Lifestyle.

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