Don't let Pittsboro's Silk Hope Winery's outsides fool you ... the wine is pleasing
By Dathan Kazsuk
The old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” is something to keep in mind when you make your first visit to Silk Hope Winery in Pittsboro.
We didn’t obey this adage our first time there a couple months ago, so I’m telling you now, don’t make the same mistake we made. Don’t let the outside appearance of this winery scare you away. There is no ambiance. There is no amazing view. There is no glitz or glam when you walk inside the tin “workshop” that serves as the tasting room.
I even cracked a joke, telling Jen that I should post on Facebook that this is our last stop of the afternoon, just in case we go missing. But seeing a couple cars parked on the lot and laughter coming from the tasting room, we decided to suck it up and check this winery off our list.
“You open the door,” says Jen, as she’s probably assuming I can be the first to get hit with shotgun spray as the door opens wide. Of course that never happened. And expecting to see some old workshop and take in the strong aroma of fermenting grapes, I was pleasantly surprised to see a spread of chairs and tables lined up ready for wine tasting. However, this isn’t like walking into a grand chateau.
An older gentleman wearing cut off jean shorts and a plaid shirt approached us, extended out his hand and introduced himself as Wally. I shook his hand and through deductive reasoning figured he was the owner/winemaker of Silk Hope Winery. He directed us to a table to conduct our tasting.
Silk Hope offers 13 wines in its tasting (7 whites and 6 reds). The fee is $7 for your choice of seven wines, or you can sample all Silk Hope has to offer for $10. One can even save $1 per tasting if you forgo your souvenir wine glass to take home. We selected the 7 wine sample – and off we go.
My selection included the following: Traminette, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, 2013 Norton, 2005 Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and the 2011 Grand Vista. But thanks to Lala, our hostess for the tasting, she demanded we taste all the reds, so I also got to try the 2012 Chambourcin and the Vineyard Brothers Satisfied.
I wasn’t too fond of the whites I tried that afternoon. The Traminette had a chemical smell to it, and the wine itself tasted rather “homemade.” And while I wasn’t a fan of the two other whites – it was the reds and the two White Chambourcin wines that were on Jen’s sample list that surprised me.
Let’s start with the White Chambourcin. They offered two: a French-style and an American-style. Both were a pleasant surprise, with the French-style being our favorite, featuring a nice “tart” finish. And for $13- and $14-dollars respectfully, they were both a good deal – we picked up a bottle of the French-style Chambourcin.
Now onto the reds. From sample to sample, the red wines at Silk Hope impressed us, as well as the two guys at our table who came from Maryland to catch a Carolina Hurricanes game later that evening. Among my favorites were the Norton, 2005 Chambourcin and the Cabernet Franc.
“Is this your first time here,” ask Jason, one of the two here for the hockey game.
“Yes and no,” I said. “The first time we saw this place we didn’t come in, but this is our first time coming in and doing the tasting.”
“Yeah, we were a little scared as well,” said Jason.
But again, the moral to this story is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Sure, Silk Hope isn’t my favorite winery in the Tar Heel State, but I never would have given them a chance if it wasn’t for a friend telling us in advance that they make some good wines. So I am hoping we can do the same to you. Don’t let the unkempt area around this winery, and the broken down cars and the tin tasting room keep you from spending an hour of your life checking out this unpolished but hidden gem in N.C. wine community.