It’s been nearly one year since several friends and I toured a few of the Yadkin Valley wineries in the foothills of North Carolina and were so impressed with the plethora of local wine spots that we decided to make the most of the beautiful North Carolina weather and hospitality by visiting each and every vineyard in the state.
One year later, however, and we are still at the starting line. I mean, we’ve been toasting to our goal for quite some time (and let’s be honest, I’ve even introduced a fair amount of German alcohol into our circle of friends recently -courtesy of some work trips to Europe- as added incentives to roll out the barrel), but there’s been zero progress…until last weekend, when we made our last toast from the comfort of our couches.
Winston-Salem hosted its annual Salute! Wine Festival and we were reminded of our worthy goal. After spending a few hours tasting the fruits of North Carolina, we rekindled our desire to tackle our target …one tasting at a time. It’s a hefty goal, to be sure. Over 100 wineries in five years.
Sure, a year ago, we thought a whoppin’ five Yadkin valley wineries was an impressive feat for a small six-hour span of time, but the real challenge is going to be to get to each and every location. Ha. You do the math while I uncork a bottle.
Can it be done? Is it possible for a budding wine aficionado to visit and sample wines from every winery in the great state of North Carolina in such a limited time frame? Yes! It’s going to take some dedication though.
It should be officially noted that this goal isn’t just about the quantity of vineyards or a strange aspiration to reach some sort of drunken Guinness Book of World Records feat of alcoholism. Sure, in every worthy goal, there’s something to be said for being able to add a notch to our belts until the collection is complete.
Yet, after several sporadic wine tastings over the years, I realized that while I know a little about viticulture, I don’t know a lot. I’ve never taken a wine class, and it has taken me years to be able to distinguish between the subtle notes of oak or steel vintages, to detect faint flavorings – fruity or smoky, crisp and acidic or rich and spicy. Butters. Aroma. Florals. Oak. Steel. Sugar contents.
A fascinating mix of horticulture, culinary arts, and chemistry.
I can’t think of a better way to learn more than to have a hands-on experience of the taste buds. If repetition is the key to success, then my goal is repetition, repetition, repetition!
Considering I haven’t yet been able to visit the California vineyards but have had some quality East Coast tasting opportunities over the years, I believe that this is not only an opportunity not only to learn more about the art of making great wines but could also become a fantastic hobby over the next few years and be something delicious to look forward to over a lifetime.
What do the vineyards of NC have to offer? This weekend’s wine festival and previous tastings have given me a sample, a taste, but there’s more to be discovered.
So here I go. It’s time for me to discover NC wines – one glass at a time.
- With good company!