A View from the Mountains: The Wineries of High Country

If you haven’t figured this out by now, we like to live by our own rules. So, what we’ve done for you is put together the three wineries we feel are our “High Country” wine trail which include Banner Elk Winery, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery and Linville Falls Winery – all within 30 miles of one another. An easy day trip! All three of these wineries have amazing views of the NC mountains as well as some good wine to boot. They’re also home to many places we like to visit while out in that neck of the woods, which include Linville Caverns, Grandfather Mountain State Park and the lovely and quaint town of Blowing Rock.

RELATED WINE TRAILS | The Crest of the Blue Ridge: The Wineries of Hendersonville

Banner Elk Winery

60 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, N.C.

Hours of Operation: Every day from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. year round

Tastings Available: $10

Established back in 2006, Banner Elk Winery made its debut in the region with its range of award-winning wines that range from its Banner Elk White to the Marechal Foch. Since 2011 the winery has taken home awards in competitions such as the NC State Fair, NexGen Wine Competition and the International Eastern Wine Competition. The winery is also known for its 8-room Villa, which is nestled around rolling hills and a blueberry orchard.

Fun Fact: Co-owner Richard Wolfe landed a grant from the Department of Agriculture to open the fist high-elevation vineyard (Banner Elk Winery sits at a elevation of 4,800 feet). Wolfe also wrote the book, “Climbing Kilimanjaro at 70” about his adventures climbing the dormant volcano in Tanzania.

Grandfather Vineyard

225 Vineyard Lane, Banner Elk N.C.

Hours of Operation: Mon - Sat 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Tastings Available: 8 Dry Wines (4 White & 4 Red) $10; 4 Dry Whites $6; 4 Dry Reds $6; 5 Sweets $7

This family-owned vineyard opened to the public in 2011, making them the first producing winery in Watauga County. Since then the Tatum family have been producing wines at their vineyard at an elevation of 3,300 feet (now we know why they call this the High Country AVA). Grandfather Vineyard is home to 10 to 12 different varietals of grapes, which produce wines such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc and many more.

Fun Fact: Stop by Grandfather Vineyard on the weekends for its Music in the Vineyard series. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday the vineyard brings in local musicians to perform while you enjoy your wine.

Linville Falls Winery

9557 Linville Falls Hwy. Linville Falls, N.C.

Hours of Operation (hours may vary):

Summer: April - October 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. daily

Winter: January - March Thurs - Sun 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Holiday: November - December 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. daily

Tastings Available: Yes

With “Old Man” Jack Wiseman leading the pack, this family-owned businesses sits on over 40 acres of land just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Gorge. Linville Falls vineyard is growing grape varieties such as Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Petit Verdot, Marechal Foch, as well as its flagship grape – Riesling! The lowest elevation of the three wineries in this AVA, Linville Falls sits at an elevation of 3,200 feet, which more than trumps Raleigh’s elevation of 315 feet or even Charlotte’s elevation at 761 feet.

Fun Fact: Linville Falls does three different styles of its popular Riesling: Dry Riesling, Riesling and a Late Harvest Riesling.