Blog » An Alabama Girl in a Carolina Winery
I grew up in Alabama, a state that boasts a whopping five wineries. As a trained geographer, I understand perfectly why the state held such a disappointing place in wine production — having a climate that is pesky even to us humans. But as a wine lover, I always felt cheated. I wanted to be surrounded by more wine culture.
When I was presented with the opportunity to move to North Carolina about nine months ago I felt like my wishes would be granted. During my geography studies, I focused mostly on wine geography — yes, there is such a thing — and I was well aware of North Carolina’s rapidly growing wine industry. It’s not Napa or Loire Valley, but, to an Alabamian, it might as well be.
Promptly upon moving to the mountains of North Carolina, I made it my personal mission to dive right in to the wine culture here. Within half an hour of my home there are two wineries, and within two hours I have the whole Yadkin Valley, ripe for the perhaps-not-so-metaphorical picking. In my time here in North Carolina, I have sampled a good amount of the state’s ample supply of wine. And boy, have I been impressed.
That personal mission of mine to dive right in to our state’s wine culture was more than just an arbitrary goal. It was a list. A list of wineries that I would visit and/or sample from. A list so long I am now wondering if I’ll ever complete it before my car gives out or my liver calls it quits. Still, it’s a mission I plan to never give up.
Thus far I have marked off a fair few from my list. Some wineries I have personally visited, while others are checked off because I was simply able to find their wines in a grocery store or wine shop. The state’s wonderful number of wine festivals has helped immensely, too. However it happens, I am immersing myself in the great culture that is North Carolina wine.
The wine produced in this state has a quality that I never expected. I have had some fantastic wines — Lake James Cellars’ Cabernet Franc comes to mind — but the community surrounding North Carolina wine, the culture that is North Carolina wine, has been the most impressive.
With all that said, I find myself incredibly lucky to be here. Perhaps even more lucky now that I can share my journey with the readers of SavorNC, a part of that wine community that I have found myself so impressed with.
So, I present you with a challenge: Help me decide what I should try next!
What North Carolina wine — or winery, if you can’t pick a favorite wine — would you recommend?
Emily Thompson is a wine lover and geographer living in West Jefferson. By day she's a mom of one and moonlights as a graphic and web design for her own small design studio. Read about her life, work and inspiration on her blog, emmarie Designs.