Sip your way along Lexington's Wine Trail

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While Lexington has long been known for its BBQ, this area of the North Carolina’s Piedmont is also earning a reputation for its wine. Six wineries make up the Southern Gateway Wine Trail, highlighting their location as an entry point to the Yadkin Valley.

On Aug. 17-18, the Southern Gateway wineries come together for the first Food & Wine Pairing Weekend. The ticketed event includes a wine and food pairing at each location.

“Since the inception of Childress Vineyards in 2004, we have grown as a wine region, and wine has become an important part of the Lexington experience,” says Robin Bivens, executive director of Lexington Tourism. “Each winery has its own following, but this event encourages people to visit wineries they haven’t experienced before. Each one has its own flair.”

Participating wineries include: Childress Vineyards, operated by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress; Curran Alexander Vineyards, a newcomer that recently opened its doors; Junius Lindsay Vineyard, a French-style estate-grown winery; Native Vines Winery, the first American Indian-owned winery; Old Homeplace Vineyard, a lakeside oasis with a sprawling event space; and Weathervane Winery, a lively spot for local music and good times.

The six featured wines are as varied as the locations. The lineup includes Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chambourcin, a Bordeaux-style red blend, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blueberry port.

“You find a greater difference in styles here than you find in a lot of wine regions,” says Michael Zimmerman, owner of Junius Lindsay Vineyard. “I hope the weekend gives people an appreciation for the diversity of the six places.”

The Southern Gateway wineries are part of the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), North Carolina’s first federally designated wine region. The Yadkin Valley contains approximately 40 wineries that all produce different styles, but the region is primarily known for its European vinifera grapes.

Hours for the Food & Wine Pairing Weekend are 1 p.m. through 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in advance. Tickets include a souvenir Riedel wine glass and a two-ounce pour of the select wine at each winery paired with a specialty food. To purchase tickets, go to www.VisitLexingtonNC.com. For more information, call (866) 604-2389.