Updated: May 18, 2022
The gorgeous state of North Carolina is home to nearly 200 wineries. Every year it springs into May with NC Wine Month. May has become a time to recognize the wine industry's impact and support local businesses — all while indulging in good wine.
In the spirit of something to raise your glass to, I am sharing an adventure, a tasty Rosé, some fun wine facts, and a wine cocktail recipe all tied to the state of NC. Cheers!
Fun NC Wine tours: Megan Riley, of NC Wine Gals, hosts tours out of both Charlotte and Asheville to expose wine-loving guests to the hidden gems of the NC wine world.
Her goal is to change the way people see wine here and debunk their thoughts about what the state has to offer — which is that all we do is make sweet muscadine wines. Megan and I started working together at the start of 2022 on a tasty monthly tour called Sip & Savor Series, which features food pairings from local chefs during the tour. The five course wine and food menus are fun and adventurous — not to mention they start and end on a sweet note.
An NC Rosé to pair with warm months ahead: Megan blew my mind about NC wine when she first introduced me to Piccione Vineyards wine, which is out of Swan Creek. I couldn't believe I was sipping a wine from North Carolina when I had the 2019 Rospira Estate Grown Rosé made from Sangiovese and Merlot. It's such a refreshing and light rosé, with subtle hints of strawberry (the fruit you want to savor in the spring and summer time). It comes at a great price point too: $25.
Piccione Vineyard was started by Bill Piccione (and his sons) in 2010, due to a passion for wine that led him to obtain Italian citizenship for himself and his sons to not only study wine, but also become a sommelier. Bill's grandfather Giuseppe Piccione came straight from Sicily to America in 1921, where he would make and bottle his own hand-pressed wine when he wasn't working in a garment factory. This family's passion for good wine clearly shows. Piccione grows all of their own fruit on-site at the vineyard.
You can look forward to visiting their new beautiful project La Collina in 2023, which will overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains and have gathering places like a barrel room, tasting library, courtyard, event hall, and much more.
Quaint local wine bar: An exciting new local wine bar opening has happened in Charlotte’s own NoDa neighborhood. Friends and sommeliers Natalie Stewart and Jeff Kellogg opened the 1,800-square ft wine bar called Bar à Vins with the following goals: to offer affordable, approachable, and exciting wines.
Loungey, enjoy-in-house, wine-focused bars with COOL and EXCITING wines hand-selected by sommeliers who know their juice are hard to come by around here, but finally Charlotte has arrived!
You can enjoy wines by the glass and by the bottle (+ retail). During my peruse of the shelves I saw everything from $24 bottles to $118, all neatly organized.
What I enjoyed on my first visit:
A chilled bottle of 2020 COS Pithos Bianco made with organically farmed Grecanico grapes by three of the youngest winemakers in Italy at the time of being founded (1980). This orange wine has a scent of pear, and tasting notes of dried apricot and minerals with a finish of salinity (high in acid). It is unfiltered and unfined, making for an exciting experience in the glass.
You can also find nibbles to snack on like the Bread & Butter offering featuring Verdant bread, Fancy Caviar Service with Lay’s chips and crème fraiche for an approachable $18 or upgrade to fancier caviar for $36, an array of tinned fish, and more.
NC wine facts: Did you know…
The scuppernong was the first grape cultivated in the United States and is the official fruit of North Carolina?!
Biltmore Estate Winery is the most-visited winery in the U.S. with more than 1 million visitors annually?!
Fun wine recipe:
Peach Sangria Pitcher with wine, white peach, apricot brandy, and raspberries by Biltmore Wines.