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.
What are the best food options when on a tour?
While this sounds like this would be an easy question to answer, sometimes it can be a little tricky. While most pub crawls are in or around major cities with plenty of food options, wineries are often out in the country and can have limited food options available near the wineries themselves. There are, however, options available you just need to know what those options are and plan around them. So here are some of our recommendations that we often share with clients looking for food options while on a winery tour:
The Humble Food Truck
What used to be referred to as the “roach coach” or “gut truck” in the final years of the 20th century is simply no longer the case. The food truck has made a remarkable turnaround and is now one of the coolest hippest food options just about everywhere you go. Even inside the big cities where there are plenty of brick-and-mortar restaurants there are food truck alleys sprouting up where all of the best area trucks congregate together for a fun night of variety. Most wineries and even the breweries in the cities will have food trucks onsite during peak periods. This is usually on the weekends or sometimes just a Saturday although it will vary by location. Some may have trucks all week during the summer but only on the weekends during the cooler months. Your best bet is to check the websites and social accounts of these establishments as they will post their schedules online.
Onsite Restaurants or Cafes
Depending on the area where you are touring you might get lucky and run across wineries or breweries that actually have restaurants or cafes onsite. This is by far the best option because it will be a reliable food source regardless of the day or time of year. If they are open, there will be food. Here are a few of our favorite places that have restaurants onsite:
Parker-Binns Vineyard – In 2019 Parker-Binns added food to their menu when they opened their onsite burger bar. Parker-Binns was already a popular stop on winery tours of the Tryon Foothills and this really enhanced the entire area as there were not too many other options available. The food menu at Parker-Binns is reasonably priced with gourmet menu options, the food is prepared quickly so it doesn’t impact your schedule, and it can be enjoyed with your tasting. The food is very good, like their wine, it doesn’t disappoint! The burgers are incredible. Our favorite is the “PB Burger” and we get one just about every time we visit Parker-Binns.
Roaring River Vineyards – Winery tours in the Yadkin Valley are always popular and we are up there for tours quite often. People always love the experience but are sometimes amazed at the remoteness of the region. Some of the vineyards can be very remote and far from many basic services like restaurants. This obviously isn’t the case for all parts of the Yadkin Valley as the area is quite large (the AVA is almost 1.5 million acres!) but some sections, especially in the Northwest, can definitely limit your food options. This is why we love stopping by Roaring River Vineyards when we are up in that area. Not only is Roaring River a beautiful winery but they also have a great cafe onsite that prepares amazing dishes that are reasonably priced. We always suggest a stop at Roaring River as a mid-point of any tour so that everyone can enjoy a great meal in their wine tasting day.
Sierra-Nevada Brewing Company – One of the popular, must-see stops of any Asheville brewery tour or pub crawl, Sierra-Nevada also has a great restaurant with plenty of food options. We have also included stops here on winery tours of the Hendersonville region which is just south of Asheville and the Sierra-Nevada Brewing Company location. It is a popular stop for just about anything we are doing in the area, it’s a great place to hang out and folks love the food here too!
When All Else Fails…
If you are unsure of the food situation for any tour, whether it be a winery tour or a pub crawl, you can always pack your own food. Most places are completely fine with you packing your own; especially if they don’t have something to offer. We have plenty of room in the back of our vans and have had groups take advantage of that and pack quite the spread. Your options are almost limitless and we always encourage people to ask a lot of questions leading up to their tour so that everything is covered with regard to their experience. Some people prepare as if they’re having a large tailgate party. We encourage the elaborate spreads or small plate snacks, whatever experience you want, it’s up to you!
Hopefully this helps explain why food is a good thing on tours that involve alcohol consumption and what some of the options are for you to consider. With all of our tours we try to provide as much information up front as possible and are always here to answer any questions you may have. We always want your experience to be top-notch and will do everything we can to ensure that it is.