On most of our tours; whether it is a winery tour, pub crawl, or scenic tour, eventually the same question usually comes up: What are the food options…Where can we eat? A perfectly reasonable and understandable question; especially if you have been out drinking for awhile on a winery or brewery tour. On these types of tours food is definitely a good thing! Stopping to enjoy a good meal helps to slow the pace and intake of alcohol (since you are eating and not drinking) and makes the overall experience much more enjoyable. It is true that variety is the spice of life and if you are going to enjoy a bunch of different wines or beers, you need to pace yourself and enjoy some food too along the way.
Asheville is quite possibly the quintessential city for Western North Carolina experiences. The location is perfectly situated in the mountains and is either the direct host of the experience or the perfect gateway to it. When it comes to wineries, Asheville is both! While it doesn’t host too many wineries, and none of them have vineyards attached to them, Asheville does directly host two wineries inside the city limits; one which has the unique distinction of being the most visited winery in America (more on this later). Asheville is also the gateway to a number a quality wineries and vineyards that are all less than an hours drive from the city. At the time of this writing, late 2019, there are at least ten quality wineries that are viable options for any Asheville wine tours. So if you are in Asheville and want to checkout the winery scene, here are some options to definitely consider:
As the holiday season approaches and you’re looking for fun festive things to do with your family and friends, why not consider a chauffeured holiday lights tour? For some, viewing the extravagant light displays put on by small towns has become an annual tradition. There are so many great locations to choose from! You could load up the family car as usual or this year, try something different, hire a transportation service, the Van in Black, to drive your group to and through any number of these great locations. A few of our favorites include:
The winery industry in North Carolina is large and still growing! There are so many high quality wineries and vineyards in the state that as a transportation company that provides winery tours as a service, it can make it very difficult to come up with suggestions when asked by clients – “What do you recommend?”. When faced with this question the first thing that needs to be determined is the region that the customer would like to visit. Sometimes this decision can make the job in answering this question easy as there may be a limited number of wineries in that specific region. That is NOT the case with the Yadkin Valley. There are a ton a wineries! And they are all great places! Furthermore, one gets to know a lot of the owners and people that work at each of the wineries. The Van In Black would like to visit all of them with every tour but unfortunately one has to choose and unfortunately some get left off the list. The list, however, does change with each tour and we try to mix it up a bit. If people have already visited one area or some of the wineries suggested, we can easily recommend others. So, with all of that being said, this list is by no means the definitive “Yadkin Valley Trail”. It is just one of the many options and varieties of trails that can be put together for a custom tour of the area. There are so many other great winery trails that we will also be describing in future posts. For now, though, we will go with what we are calling the “Yadkin Valley Overview Trail“.
Another great wine trail that is primarily associated with the Asheville and Greenville/Spartanburg areas is located in Hendersonville, North Carolina. This “Hendersonville Wine Trail” is host to three quality wineries along with with a companion cidery. Cider is just apple wine….right? This region is conveniently located less then an hour from Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina making it a great option for anyone looking for a winery tours departing from these regions. The wineries are relatively close to one another as they are all located in Hendersonville East of Interstate 26. Once you arrive in the area the commute time between wineries isn’t too long which makes for a fun day. This is an important benefit of a winery tour that many people don’t think about, but having a short commute between wineries makes for a fun day! So, which vineyards make up the Hendersonville Wine Trail?
The town of Hendersonville, North Carolina is a great place to visit. It is one of those places that is neither too small nor too large; it is just right. It is large enough to offer great restaurants, shopping, and culture but not so large that it loses its small-town charm. The downtown area is absolutely beautiful and is a great place to visit just about any time of the year. Walking up and down Main Street is always a wonderful experience and Main Street is a great place to start for the first time visitor. Despite the small-town charm, Hendersonville is large enough to boast a number of breweries within the city. Great breweries that are all making great beer that can go head-to-head against any beer from the “big city” breweries. This is not to put down the big city breweries but more to build up these smaller breweries. Their beers are good! If you want to visit Hendersonville and check-out some of these small pubs, here are four that we think make for a great pub crawl:
One of our favorite regions for a winery tour is the Tryon Foothills of North Carolina. The reason for this is twofold; one is that these are our local wineries and the second is that they are producing really great wine; close to home and great wine, you can’t beat that! The North Carolina winery industry as a whole is amazing and there are many great wineries within the state. We will definitely be highlighting more of our favorites in future blog posts but for now we are starting with some of the wineries in our neighborhood.
The Van in Black recently had the privilege of sponsoring and providing transportation services for the 2019 NC Wine Bloggers Summit that was held in the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina. This was the second annual summit. The forum of the event was created to provide an opportunity for bloggers, digital influencers and those in the wine industry to meet face to face to primarily discuss ways to improve the North Carolina wine industry through blogging and digital media. There were some other ancillary topics that were discussed but the most important by-product of this summit, in our opinion, was the fact that bloggers and wineries got together and discussed how they can help each other.
As a new year gets underway and people start making their vacation plans for the Summer many families are going to choose the Carolinas as a destination. For good reason too! Find any “Top 10” list online for popular travel destinations and both North and South Carolina will likely be represented on the list. Both of these great states are beautiful, have an excellent tourism infrastructure, and are fairly easy and inexpensive to travel to. You would be hard pressed to find a better spot to vacation than the Carolinas!
While the wines are aging away in the barrel room and the vines are dormant, you might think that the winemaker gets to enjoy some downtime and relaxing during this period but that is simply not the case. The work at a vineyard is a year round effort and continues throughout the winter. You might even say that some of the most important work is done during this period as it sets everything up for the coming growing period and harvest. With any discipline, it is common knowledge that it is much easier to end right if you start right. Wine making is no different.