My boyfriend and I recently spent a weekend in Asheville, N.C., after attending a wedding in Charlotte. If you didn’t know, or have never been, Asheville is home to a lot of great breweries. Naturally, we spent most of our time exploring some of the best breweries (and food) in Asheville.
In my opinion, North Carolina is home to some of the best wine in the country. I really learned to appreciate it when I lived in Elon last year while I was in grad school. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends, when I needed a break from school work, was to find a new winery and check it out. I’d be lying if I said good wineries isn’t one of the top things I miss about living in North Carolina. They’re also inexpensive because there are so many of them. Light on the wallet is always good.
When I went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, my parents and I ventured out to find another awesome winery. We landed at Morgan Ridge Vineyards and Brewery in Gold Hill, in Rowan County. Yes, a winery and brewery all in one. It was the best of both worlds.
The owners planted the first vines in 2004 and opened the winery to visitors in 2010. They bottled their first vintage wine in 2007. The winery sits on 33 acres, complete with a pond, event room, a tasting room, a lovely patio and seven acres of vineyards. It’s North Carolina winery charm at its finest.
Morgan Ridge offers wine tastings and beer flights for super affordable prices. For $15 visitors can taste any number of their 15 wines (or even all 15), or 10 wines for $10. My mom and I both opted for 5 wines each for $5. Dad’s beer flight was $8 for 6 samples of craft beer. Even though the exact brews change week to week, there are always 6 beers available for tasting.
Most of the wines made at Morgan Ridge are drier reds, but they also offer some whites and fruit wines. I’m more of a white wine person, but I enjoyed the reds that I sampled. I even tasted a few of Dad’s beers and liked those, too.
My favorites were:
- Bald Mountain Wheat beer.
- River Dance Red ale.
- Chardonnay (oaky with floral notes).
- Red Dawg (red blend of Chambourcin + Merlot).
I also tasted a Jolie Blanc (off-dry white), Seyval Blanc (dry white) and a sweeter peach wine.
The fun doesn’t end at tastings, though. At Morgan Ridge, visitors can enjoy a lovely lunch on the patio Wednesday through Sunday. The menu evolves weekly. The day we went, I had a delicious burger, Dad had a pork loin with polenta and spinach, and Mom had fried shrimp. They also have pasta options. I can’t wait to check out their Sunday brunch, too. Reservations are recommended, but we stopped in without calling ahead and had no problems.
Morgan Ridge is also available for private parties, like weddings, receptions, corporate events and holiday parties. There’s more information available on the Morgan Ridge website.
I’ve visited my fair share of wineries, but it’s definitely safe to say Morgan Ridge ranks at the top. The delicious wine paired with the hospitality and scenery makes Morgan Ridge an ideal spot for an afternoon outing. I can’t wait to go back for another visit and wine tasting. Maybe I’ll branch out and try more reds next time!
Have you ever done a wine tasting? What kind of wine do you like?
Before I begin, I must give props to Gina’s thoughts on living in North Carolina for inspiring this post (whether she knows it or not). Thanks, Gina!
As I’ve said on here before, North Carolina is my “original” home. My parents were born and raised in the state, although in different regions, and met in college at UNC. I was born close to my dad’s hometown and lived in another town called Kernersville when I was young. We made our first move to metro Atlanta when I was 5 years old. Even though we haven’t lived in North Carolina since the late 90s, my parents’ families are still here, and we visit several times a year.
My family moved back and forth between metro Atlanta and the Philadelphia suburbs three times. Most of my childhood memories are rooted in metro Atlanta, especially from our second stint there. Even though we’ve lived in Pennsylvania the longest–nine years next July, ew–I’ve always told people that Atlanta is home. We really didn’t think we’d be in Pennsylvania for longer than five years, as we’d never stayed in one place for any longer. And yet, we’re still there.
Now I’m back in North Carolina for grad school. I was excited to move back because I knew I’d be closer to my grandparents and extended family, not to mention good barbecue. But since I’ve been back, my pride in my “original” home state has blossomed and I feel like I’m falling in love with it all over again. The Piedmont region has so much to offer, from cities and larger towns like Raleigh, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, beautiful wineries and parks, natural scenery, food festivals, holiday events, traditions, charm, and everything in between. I feel like I could drive around the Triad for hours and never run out of new places and things to explore. Not to mention North Carolina beaches are to die for (not that I’m anywhere close to a beach, but I’m much closer than I was before).
I used to say that I wanted to go back to Atlanta as soon as possible. My “plan” all throughout undergrad was to finish college and grad school, find a job in Atlanta, and go back. But now that I’ve been back in North Carolina for several months, what’s the rush? The Triad area, and even Charlotte a little farther south, have just as many opportunities for me job wise as Atlanta would. Lately I’ve thought that I’ll stay in this area for a few years after grad school, just to get on my feet, get started in the working world, and then go onward to Atlanta, or maybe even Nashville.
And who knows, maybe once my parents finish building their lake house down here, I won’t want to be too far away.
Maybe I don’t have to go back to Atlanta to go home. Maybe I’m already here. I’ve got time to decide.