Elkin Wineries: A day trip that's worth it
Elkin, North Carolina. It's a small town that resides in two counties: Surry and Wilkes. And, if you didn't know - it has a handful of wineries that makes a day trip worth your while. Or, if you're looking for a weekend stay, locations like Frog Holler Cabins or the Fairfield Inn & Suites can fulfill your needs for a couple of days.
But after a long week of work, Jen and I decided to take a day off, and on Sunday, Dec. 20, we drove from Raleigh to Elkin to cross off three wineries we haven't visited yet: Elkin Creek Vineyards, Adagio Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyards.
I dropped a tweet to the the NC Wine Guys, and asked for a few good places to eat. The guys got back to us, saying we have to try the pizza at Elkin Creek – but that they only serve pizzas on Sundays. Well, that's great, because we're going on a Sunday afternoon. But just to let you know, call ahead to reserve your pizza dough ... which we did!
And that takes us to our first stop of the afternoon – Elkin Creek Vineyards. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the winery is a "hidden gem in the Yadkin Valley with quite a story to tell." And with our first look of the winery, we were impressed. But it's the wine that makes a winery, not just its ambiance. And Elkin Creek has both.
One by one we went through the list of wines, from the Mistela (blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Viognier) to the delightful bend, Rossa. The two I really enjoyed were the Vin Doux and Vino Limone. Both of these dessert wines really hit the spot. The Vin Doux is a port-style dessert wine made in the French tradition. While the Vino Limone is crafted in the style of the classic Italian Limoncello.
After the tasting we ordered our pizza. But word of advice – if you are in town for just a day, order your pizza as soon as you arrive. The pizza is served to perfection in a small wood-fire oven and could take some time. But the pizza is worth it. We ordered the Bacon and Brie pizza and enjoyed every bite. Elkin Creek is a place as soon as we walked out the front door said this is a place we'd bring members of our wine & beer club to share in the experience. Plus, it doesn't hurt Elkin's reputation when Southern Living magazine calls the kitchen " ... the best in the valley."
Our next stop took us to a relatively new location: Adagio Vineyards. Also located in the town of Elkin, this winery features an adequate-sized 2,400 square-foot tasting room which features a variety of locally handmade arts and crafts, as well a stone fireplace.
We were greeted as soon as we walked into the tasting room by Douglas Sanders, Adagio's tasting room manager and events coordinator. A very insightful host, Douglas told us a lot about the history of the vineyard all whilst pouring us samples of the 7 wines available that afternoon.
We already knew the theme of Adagio Vineyards was of a "musical" nature – with both us having musical backgrounds. But that afternoon we also learned that co-owner Jan Wahl is a trained violinist, and actually builds her own violins – several of them were on display in the tasting room. We also learned that Jan, along with her husband/co-owner, Tim, both work in the dental field in Winston-Salem.
Towards the end of our tasting, Douglas, in almost a low, secretive voice, asked us if we wanted to head downstairs and try a sample of the latest version of Vivace, which still resides in large stainless steel tanks.
"Sure." Who in their right mind would not want to sample a wine that's still in the making?
The three of us made our way down a flight of stairs and down to where all the fermenting goodness takes place. After showing us where the bottles are filled and labeled, we had the opportunity to sample what's soon-to-be the 2015 Vivace. After we finished our sample, Douglas went into another small room and came out with a barrel thief and asked if we wanted to try a new Chardonnay straight out of the barrel.
"But of course."
I donned the barrel thief as if I were a master wine maker, and poured out a sample for both Jen and myself. This was fun, and we greatly appreciate Douglas giving us this experience.
Adagio Vineyards, even though it's one of the state's newest wineries, has a lot to offer, and is worth a visit the next time you find yourself in Elkin. Things can only mature from here.
Last on our agenda for the day, we paid a visit to Grassy Creek Vineyards. This winery was founded in 2003, and it was nice to finally get a chance to try the wines they offer. Inside, we made our way to the bar where we started our tasting.
For $5 you get to select six wines from the selection of 11 that were currently available (the 2013 Barbera was sold out). And for an extra $2, one could also sample Grassy Creek's 2013 Perfect Pear dessert wine.
We sampled the following: 2012 Pinot Gris, 2010 Red Barn Blend, 2008 Chambourcin, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Ruby Slippers, Klondike Farm Golden Guernsey and the Klondike Farm Guernsey Red.
The Chambourcin was my favorite of the bunch, but the novelty lies in the two Klondike Farm wines. The two Guernsey wines are actually bottled in 750ml glass milk bottles.
Although they're a little too sweet for my taste, they would have made perfect stocking stuffer or gift for family or friends who are fans of sweet wines.
– Dathan Kazsuk