Joan and I had a wonderful yearly trip to Elkin, NC. We were located in the heart of the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area that is home to 47 vineyards and wineries that encompasses an 1,400,000 acres in the Yadkin River valley. This is our 5th trip to this area and we looked forward to returning to some of our favorite places and are constantly amazed at how many new places we visited adding to our RV life adventures.
Byrd’s Branch Campground
We’ve stayed at several campgrounds in the Elkin and Mt. Airy, NC area, and Bryd’s Branch Campground has become a favorite. Located near the center of the Yadkin Valley wine region, we can make short trips to visit the vineyards, meet the wine makers, and soak up the beautiful scenery.
Byrd’s Branch Campground is a family owned and perfect for the largest of RV to the smallest tent along side a bubbling creek. Aside from the close proximity to the area vineyards, the campground is in the center of great trails providing easy hikes to creeks, waterfalls and one of our favorite vineyards.
Grassy Creek Vineyards
Grassy Creek Vineyards is one of my and Joan’s favorite places. This was our first vineyard we visited a number of years ago, receiving the warmest of welcomes from Jim and Cynthia Douthit. We always look forward to returning to experience they excellent wines and friendly company. Adding to the experience is the winery housed in a historic dairy barn of the famous Klondike Farm and the unique tasting room.
Jones Von Drehle
Two families – the Jones and the Von Drehle have created on of the more unique vineyards in the area. From the thirty acres of vines and onsite winery, they create a number of excellent estate wines. In addition to the vineyards ones Von Drehle has recently opened a large event space were they host local chefs created unique food and wine pairing. The most recent addition is new open air concert space. Concerts have begun blending great music, overlooking the beautiful vineyards all while enjoying Jones Von Drehle wines.
Locate a short drive north of Byrd’s Branch Campground is Shelton Vineyards. Open seven days a week, this 406 acre estate is the largest family-owned estate winery in North Carolina. Every year we return to enjoy the large tasting room, the beautiful grounds, and sampling the new vintages. This year we stopped for a late lunch at Shelton’s Harvest Grill. The grill is located on the grounds and we enjoyed specialty dishes including rainbow trout and flat bread pizza.
Round Peake Vineyards
This was our first visit to Round Peake Vineyards. The vineyard is located minutes from Interstate 77 between Elkin and Mt. Airy, NC. There are 12 acres of vineyards planted with primarily French and Italian varietals. On this visit we were fortunate to visit the winery located behind the tasting room while the winemaker and staff were busy pressing this years harvest. This was my and Joan’s first experience seeing a wine press operation up close. The winemaker was very informative explaining the process and sharing the steps. We were able to capture some of the days process in the video below.
Round Peake has a number of wines that we typically don’t find in this area. The Nebbiolo from the Italian grape made famous by Barolos, the Tannat from a French grape grown primarily in Uruguay, and the La Petite Vendange a Vidal Blanc from a hybrid French grape were our favorite. Aside from the friendly tasting room and outdoor spaces overlooking the beautiful vineyard, Round Peake Vineyards is a popular Harvest Host stop for overnight RV travelers.
Stony Knoll Vineyards
This is our third year returning to Stony Knoll Vineyards. As with many of the vineyards located in Yadkin Valley, the farm has spanned through multiple generations transitioning from tobacco to nearly 20 years of vineyards and wine making.
We became fans of their Chambourcin which has become a favorite during our November and December family holiday celebrations. This year was no exception with the winemaker’s unique twist blending the 2018 Chambourcin with a Hungarian Oak 2019 Chambourcin.
The vineyard staff is very friendly making our visit special as we take in the beautiful tasting room and outdoor spaces overlooking the vineyard.
Hazy Gray Vineyards
This was one of the new vineyards visited this year as a recommendation from Stony Knoll’s winemaker. The vineyards first grapes were planted in 2015 and in 2019 Haze Gray Vineyards produced their first estate bottled wines. Across the road from the tasting room, the vineyards sits on an 85-acre and consists of nine acres with nine varieties of grapes.
The family has deep roots from military service with the owners originating from military families and the winemaker retiring from the U.S. Navy after 30 years as a flight officer. This past is felt as you enter the tasting room with the many pictures of family and friends who have served along with unique memorabilia.
We enjoy our time at the tasting room sharing with the locals who stopped by for a glass of wine. Our favorite wine was the Aviator Red 2018-2019 a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Tannat, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Franc.
Sanders Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Our last stop for this trip was Sanders Ridge Vineyard & Winery, another first for me and Joan. Driving though the entrance and down the long road through the vineyard, we had no idea that we would step into one of the most unique and beautiful tasting rooms in the Yadkin Valley area.
The land where Sanders Ridge Vineyard & Winery has been in this family for nine generations. The farm was established in 1840 and the vineyard consists of a 50 acre farm in the heart of the Yadkin Valley Wine Appellation. The vineyard was established in 2001 where they grow Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Chambourcin, and two varieties of muscadine grapes – Carlos and Noble.
I must admit, that when we walked into the winery for the first time, my breath was taken away. The winery was built in a towering post and beam structure from lumber and stone harvested off the farm. The giant beams, evidence of magnificent craftsmanship and vast ceilings provides an storybook environment to enjoy the excellent wines and food from the grill. The outdoor porch overlooks a pond surrounded by hardwood trees adding to a wonderful visual experience.
Our favorite wines included the Trillium, a blend of unoaked Chardonnay, Viognier, and Muscat Canelli, and the Big Woods a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabs – Franc & Sauvignon, plus Merlot.
Aside from eating in the local restaurants, visiting vineyards and hiking the many trails, this year’s RV adventure to Elkin, NC and the Yadkin Valley could not have been better.
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