EXCLUSIVE: Top-Selling Wines in North Carolina's Swan Creek AVA
North Carolina's Swan Creek AVA is located in the northwestern portion of the state in the Piedmont region. The AVA was established on May 27, 2008, and the petition was submitted by Raffaldini Vineyards on behalf of the vineyards of Swan Creek.
Currently, Swan Creek is home to 7 wineries all within a 10-mile stretch. In that drive you can try many award-winning and stellar wines. On a perfect July afternoon, which was not to humid, Triangle Around Town paid a visit to all of these wineries and asked one simple question ... "What's your top selling wines?"
Our question was answered – and we bring to you – the results!
LAUREL GRAY VINEYARDS | 5726 Old U.S. 421, Hamptonville
At Laurel Gray we talked with owner Kim Myers, who selected 3 wines for us. Laurel Gray's Cabernet Sauvignon has been flying off the shelves at the winery since it was selected as one of the winners in the 2018 NC Fine Wines Competition. Myers also selected the estate Chardonnay. She said in these warm days of summer, the Chardonnay is always a big hit. Finally she selected the Scarlet Mountain red blend – a customer favorite.
WINDSOR RUN CELLARS | 6531 Windsor Rd., Hamptonville
The gang at Windsor Run Cellars had so many medal-winning wines and fortified wines that they couldn't decide – so they grabbed them all! The Chambourcin/Cabernet Sauvignon blend of WRC's Guilty is a taste of blackberry, cherry and plum in each sip. Others include the rich and hefty fortified wines such as Hillbilly Holiday (apple mead fortified with 170 proof brandy) and the Midnight Run (an 18% port-style wine with hints of chocolate, mocha and black currants).
RAFFALDINI VINEYARDS | 450 Groce Rd., Ronda
Raffaldini's tasting room manager, Thomas Salley, personally told us that the winery's Montepulciano Riserva and Liguria are the two choices here at the winery. Its flagship red is a full-bodied wine with unparalleled structure. The Liguria is a Vermentino-based wine with subtle flavors of both grapefruit and lime – a perfect summer beverage.
PICCIONE VINEYARDS | Cedar Forest Rd., Ronda
Right around the corner from Raffaldini, resting on top of a hill overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll find Piccione Vineyards. The Italian-style wines produced by Piccione are something you wouldn't expect to find in North Carolina (other than at Raffaldini Vineyards). So, it comes to no surprise that their top selling wines are the Nero and the Vermentino. Both wines are an important part to Sicilian culture and grow well here in North Carolina.
MIDNIGHT MAGDALENA VINEYARDS | 5109 Howell School Rd., Jonesville
The latest winery to be added to the Swan Creek AVA is Midnight Magdalena. There, Jim and Tauny Zimmer are already making some worthwhile wines. When asked what their top selling wines are, they reached for the 2016 Traminette and the 2017 Corot Noir? Never heard much of the Corot Noir? That doesn't come as a shock – MMV is the first winery in the state growing this grape that's a hybrid that came to life by grape breeder Bruce Reisch at Cornell University in New York.
SHADOW SPRINGS VINEYARD | 5542 Crater Rd., Hamptonville
Born in April of 2005 and serving its first wines out of its tasting room in 2008, Shadow Springs Vineyard is the brainchild of Chuck and Jamie Johnson. The winery is right down the road from the Johnson's second-owned winery, Windsor Run Cellars. When talking to co-owner Jamie Johnson, she picked out the following wines as Shadow Springs top sellers. First, is the Seyval Blanc, a light, crisp white wine with highlights of mango and peaches. Next is the Meritage, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. And finally, the Dark Shadow. This wine has a warm chocolate cherry flavor – a fan favorite according to Johnson.
DOBBINS CREEK | 4430 Vineyard View Lane, Hamptonville
Resting high atop Hemric Mountain inside a German-style log tasting room you'll find Dobbins Creek Vineyards. Serving up wine since late 2007 the winery has a great view of Swan Creek, and on a clear day, the top of Grandfather Mountain. When asked to select their top-selling wines, the 2015 estate grown Merlot Reserve was at the top of the list. This limited release is great from start to finish. Dobbins Creek Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon were also two others selected as a go to wine from its repertoire.
So there you have it. The top-selling wines of Swan Creek, straight from the wineries themselves. The next time you're looking for a NC wine to enjoy at one of these wineries – our research might help you out some.