Yadkin Valley is revered for its ability to grow European-style grapes. (Courtesy Tourism Partnership of Surry County)

Road Trip: North Carolina Wine Country

By Hannah Frail on 03/28/14

Referred to as the “Napa Valley of the East,” Yadkin Valley spans more than a million acres just north of Charlotte and is home to more than two-dozen wineries. Even with all that the Queen City has to offer, consider these picks for your next day trip.

Carolina Heritage Vineyard

A 35-acre organic vineyard and winery, Carolina Heritage was established by Clyde and Pat Colwell in 2005 to indulge in their enthusiasm for the environment. Bottling eight types of wine and using mostly native grapes, this vineyard offers tours and tastings each weekend to share their passions and their wine. 170 Heritage Vines Ways, Elkin, 336.366.3301

Childress Vineyards

Owned by NASCAR celebrity Richard Childress, this 35,000-square-foot winery near the Richard Childress Racing Museum is a definite tourist destination, with 100 acres of vineyards that produce 21 varieties of wine, a nationally acclaimed head winemaker and the delicious Bistro at Childress Vineyards. 1000 Childress Vineyards Road, Lexington, 336.236.9463

Elkin Creek Vineyard

On the site of a historic grist mill, this quaint, 6-acre winery produces eight different wines, while The Kitchen at Elkin Creek boasts a hearty wood-burning brick oven. Whether renting a creek-side cabin for wine tasting or booking an elaborate rustic wedding, this vineyard offers a picturesque backdrop to a relaxing Shelton wines getaway. 318 Elkin Creek Mill Road, Elkin. 336.526.5119

Old North State Winery and Brewery

The first winery in the state to become a licensed brewery, Old North State produces handcraft pale ales, with four beers on tap at all times, in addition to the 20 popular wines. This winery offers tours throughout the week, so don’t miss out on the story behind its building and why a “restless soul” appears on the labels. 308 N Main St., Mount Airy, 336.789.9463

Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery

The 6,000-square-foot Villa is reminiscent of the Raffaldini family’s origins in Italy, and the gorgeous panoramic views don’t disappoint either. Producing 12 wines and offering Shelton Vineyards tastings and tours of various parts of the property, this producer of “Chianti of the Carolinas” transports you to Tuscany for the day as you sample while overlooking an amazing landscape view. 450 Groce Road, Ronda, 336.835.9463

Shelton Vineyards

Founded by brothers Ed and Charlie Shelton, this 33,000-square-foot winery and roughly 400-acre property is the largest family-owned estate winery in the state. Daily tours of the extensive winery educate visitors about the gravity flow system and how Shelton manages to bottle more than 2,000 cases of wine each day. Home to monthly concerts, local festivals and the winner of many awards, Shelton Vineyards is a standout of the Yadkin Valley. 286 Cabernet Lane, Dobson, 336.366.4724