Where North Carolina’s Piedmont begins to gently roll upward toward the Blue Ridge, you’ll find Winston-Salem and, to the immediate west and south, the Yadkin River Valley, home to a rich and long-established local winery scene. Winston-Salem, a city roughly three times the size of Asheville, has all the offerings of a large metropolitan city with the quaintness and humility of a small southern hamlet. The city’s commitment to the arts is renown and its history is storied, offering the intellectual traveler a chance to enjoy modern amenities, exciting new tastes and sounds and more engaging attractions that inspire the mind. Along with its neighbor, Greensboro, the Triad area is your gateway into North Carolina’s foothills.
The local brewery scene in the Triad is still growing and blossoming. Unlike Asheville, the Triad is home to but a few local breweries. Each are loved by their respective cities’ natives.
As rated by Yelp.com users, out of 5.
Natty Greene’s Brewing Company 3.5 stars
345 S. Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401
Red Oak Brewery 4 stars
6901 Konica Dr., Whitsett, NC 27377
(Red Oak isn’t a pub or tap room. It distributes its beer to other establishments, but tours and tastings are available each week.)
Foothills Brewing 3 stars
638 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Small Batch Beer Co.
Downtown Winston-Salem will get a second small craft brewery this fall. Slated to open in August or September, Small Batch will take over the hold Kopper Kitchen location on 5th St. The owners say they’ll also serve craft wines and cocktails, including small-batch whiskeys and other liquors. For more information, visit them on Facebook or at their website: smallbatchws.com.
The craft-brewery scene may just be settling in among Foothills communities, but they have long been no stranger to local and independent wine-making. To Winston-Salem’s west and south sits the famed Yadkin Valley. For decades, the valley was known for its tobacco farming. But, for nearly half a century now, enterprising farmers have begun to focus on more, shall we say, fruitful endeavors with wineries and vineyards now dotting the landscape. The area’s native grapes, as elsewhere across the Southeast, are Muscadine and Scuppernong — two wines that have been a fixture in North Carolina wine-making for centuries. The Scuppernong is even mentioned in the state’s official toast. According Our State magazine, historian Alexia Jones Helsley was able to trace North Carolina’s wine-making tradition to the early 1700s. By 2010, the state had 90 wineries, ranked eighth nationally in wine production and ninth nationally in grape production.
The Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area is home to 35 vineyards and wineries. Many have restaurants, tasting rooms, tours and even hotel accommodations!
1000 Childress Vineyards Rd., Lexington, NC 27295
Hanover Park Vineyard
1927 Courtney-Huntsville Rd., Yadkinville, NC 27055
450 Groce Rd., Ronda, NC 28670
Ragaplle Lassie Vineyards
3724 RagApple Lassie Ln., Boonville, NC 27011.
Bonus: Wine tours
Several tour operators provide guided wine tours to artisan wineries. Learn more at yadkinvalleywinecountry.com/wine_trails/wine_tours.asp.
Yadkin Valley Grape Festival, Oct. 19, 2013
Tenth annual event with wine tastings and more events. yvgf.com.
Yadkin Valley Wine Trail Mini Festivals
Mini-festivals at Sanders Ridge (Aug. 4), Cellar 4201 (Sept. 1) and Flint Hill Vineyards (Oct. 6). 336-699-4455.
NOTABLE SITES & OTHER EVENTS
In between all your brewery and winery tours, be sure to stop in at some of these iconic and favorite places and events in and around the Triad and Foothills
Historic home and garden tours, museum and other attractions in Downtown Winston-Salem.
Downtown Arts District
Packed with art galleries, bars and pubs, live music and fine food in Downtown Winston-Salem.
Triad Pride, Sept. 14, 2013
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
Step back into historyand learn more about the movement for equality at the historic Woolworth in downtown Greensboro.
134 S. Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401
Mayberry Days, Sept. 26-29, 2013
Celebrating all that is Mayberry, Mount Airy and the Carolina Foothills!
Out at the Movies Winston-Salem
Monthly LGBT-themed film series hosted on the campus of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and other venues across town.
Pride Winston-Salem, Oct. 19, 2013