Imagine a storybook backdrop of rolling hills, lush vineyards, and distant mountains. You’re not in Napa, Sonoma, or Tuscany — you’re in Yadkin Valley Wine Country, just west of Winston-Salem. Nestled in the fertile foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the air here is cool and dry for growing fine European varietals like chardonnay, pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and zinfandel. The region’s 45+ wineries provide the ultimate setting for a spontaneous romantic weekend, or a fabulous destination wedding (what can we say, love is in the air!). Here are just six vineyards that offer the perfect setting for an afternoon of amore.
Former NASCAR driver and team owner Richard Childress married his love of winning with his love for wines and opened Childress Vineyards in 2004. Since then, he’s received 750+ medals for his wines produced in every category. An on-site bistro, intimate barrel cave, lakefront lawn, and Tuscan-style banquet hall all set the stage for an evening of enchantment and elegance. Not to mention, Childress is an easy 20-minute drive from downtown Winston-Salem.
Two couples (and friends) bought the historic site of an old grist mill to create Elkin Creek Vineyard. The pastoral property is home to rippling creeks and a gentle waterfall, creating a quiet outdoor sanctuary. On the property, guests enjoy rustic creekside cabins, a charming barn with twinkling lights – perfect for receptions and small gatherings, sumptuous brick oven pizzas that fire up every Sunday, and award-winning, European-style wines.
Fun Fact: Owners Nick and Jennifer White, and Louis and Carrie Jeroslow found each other through their experience working for the theatrical sensation Blue Man Group.
When two art teachers spent their honeymoon in the South of France, they fell in love with winemaking. They returned home to North Carolina and transformed an old farm into the idyllic Hanover Park Vineyard. Their rustic 1897 farmhouse tasting room exudes the spirit of an old-world romance. Sample of variety of fine wines reminiscent of the Rhone River Valley.
Nestled in the undulating hills of the Piedmont, JOLO Winery & Vineyards offers majestic views of Pilot Mountain State Park and beyond. Book a dining reservation at their on-site restaurant, End Posts, or turn a traditional picnic into an intimate garden party while surrounded by rolling countryside, indigenous flowers, and a shimmering lake.
Wine & Dine: Make reservations for a date night at Roosters: A Noble Grille for a Southern-inspired meal accompanied by JOLO wines.
The 22 acres of rolling hills at Medaloni Cellars provide the ideal backdrop for couples who want to watch the sunset against the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dial-up the romance with an overnight stay in one of Medaloni’s couples-only cabins for a modern-rustic getaway – each one inclusive of a bottle of wine and two souvenir glasses. Back in the tasting room, create your own perfect pairing and choose from Medaloni’s 12 red and white varietals.
Find your happily ever after at Raffaldini Vineyards. Inspired by the owner’s family home of Mantua, Italy, Villa Raffaldini features Italian art and architecture with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge and Brushy mountains. Sip and swirl on Italian varietals rarely found in the U.S., such as Vermentino. The winery also offers charcuterie boards for purchase, along with seasonal favorites including their Sangiovese brownies. Salud!
Wine & Dine: Find Raffaldini wines on the menu at Quanto Basta Italian Eatery & Wine Bar in downtown Winston-Salem.