This Wilmington winery is a conundrum to North Carolina wine
OUR ROAD TO 100 NORTH CAROLINA WINERIES ...
One reason we love our state of North Carolina, and being located in Raleigh, is that we are roughly 2 hours to the beach and a little more than 2 hours from the mountains. Being centrally located gives us so many options for weekend or even day trip getaways. When it comes to North Carolina wine, there is no exception. Our coastal region boasts 12 wineries from as far north as Jarvisburg with Sanctuary Vineyards to as far south as Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach. The typical wine varietal that you will find in this region is the muscadine – the oldest cultivated grapevine in America. As for us, we prefer to head west towards the mountains but every once in a while we like to head to the beach. Back in August, we did just that and while we were visiting Wilmington, we decided to stop into Noni Bacca Winery, our 80th winery on our Road to 100 NC Wineries.
After relocating to Wilmington from Buffalo, New York, Toni and Ken Incorvaia opened Noni Bacca winery – an urban winery – to hone in on their wine-making skills learned and developed through their family history. We arrived on a rainy afternoon to this urban winery, and perused the shop area before finding a seat at the tasting bar. We were greeted by Ken, who took us through the tasting menu that day.
Perhaps we did not do our homework prior to planning this trip, but we were surprised to not see any wines with grapes sourced from North Carolina. Listed on ncwine.org we made an assumption that all the wineries at least sourced some or all of their grapes from North Carolina. This began our conundrum … would this winery be considered an NC winery or not? And better yet, does it matter?
The wine blends they are creating are unique and tasty. The grapes are sourced from all over the U.S. and beyond. Noni Bacca produces 60 to 70 varietals of wine on premise and have won 170 international medals since 2009. Everything from Old and New World reds including Chianti, Sangiovese and Merlot; whites including Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Grigio; fruit wines and dessert wines, you will definitely find something to love for all palates.
We had a great time talking with Ken and learning about their history and background from back in Buffalo to how they welcomed Wilmington as their new home. As we were talking, you could not help but notice all the bottles of wine adorned with medals. Ken very proudly informed us of all the medals they have won from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition over the years. But what struck me was when I saw a Goo Goo Dolls label affixed to one of the wine bottles. I had to ask and as it turns out, the Incorvaia’s are friends with the band from their days in Buffalo. Back in 2012, they teamed up and asked fans to design a wine label for a limited-edition Goo Goo Dolls vintage produced by Noni Bacca which was later auctioned off for charity.
With a list of so many wines to choose from, it was hard to decide what we wanted to try. There were interesting blends and we ended up taking home a bottle of Grigionnay, a blend of Italian-style Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Not fans of Chardonnay, we both agreed the Pinot Grigio added an element that softened the harshness that we sometimes get with 100 percent Chardonnay.
So, as NC Wine Bloggers, we did walk away scratching our heads as to whether Noni Bacca would be considered a true NC winery, but as wine lovers, we walked away liking what we tasted and curious about the ones we did not try, like the Pumpkin Porta Pie, Porta Caffe – a double gold medal winner or the Pink Hooters, a pink grapefruit wine. It almost feels more like what you may find in a craft brewery when it comes to flavor creativity.
Next time you make your way out to Wilmington for a day at the beach, go check them out.