Quick Reminiscing of 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019

2018 brought us many new experiences and of course several challenges. We rung in 2018 downtown Greenville, South Carolina….Yeah That Greenville!

The first few weekends took us to Morgan Ridge Vineyard and Brewhouse, Misty Creek Vineyard, Parker-Binns, and Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard.

Valentines weekend took us to Charleston and Savannah. We enjoyed a visit to view the 400+ year old Angel Tree before making our way to Deep Water Vineyard.

March brought our anniversary and a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This trip offered us the opportunity to visit Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg plus a viewing of the oldest cultivated grape vine in the United States. The “MotherVine” located in Manteo is known to be 500+ years old. This scuppernong still produces grape today.

In May we hosted the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition at the historic Belmont Inn in Abbeville. We’re proud of the event and thankful for the opportunity to promote the South Carolina wine industry.

The summer months brought visits to the Yadkin Valley, Upper Hiwassee Highlands, Eastern Tennessee, and to many of our local favorites.

October we were blessed with a visit to Highlands, North Carolina and a stay at The Old Edwards Inn. We were lucky to have the Sommelier give us a tour of the wine cellars.

Christmas brought us another opportunity to visit Charleston where we experienced a gorgeous Christmas Eve sunset on the beach at Isle of Palms!

Yes, this post skips right by so many fun times and visits to so many awesome places. Our resolution is to better promote all of the amazing small businesses and destinations for which we are fortunate to visit. We remain thankful for our family and friends, and for your continued support of our blogs Winery Escapades and Our Wine Tonight.

Here’s to a healthy, prosperous, and happy 2019.


Jenni and Dennis


A Few Things We Love About South Carolina Wineries!

As natives of South Carolina, allow us to share a few things we love about South Carolina wineries.

We love Pinot the pig, fun gatherings, and award winning wines at CityScape Winery in Pelzer.  

We love the annual Harvest Festivals and Pack the Porch festivals at Enoree River Vineyard in Newberry. So much fun!

We love hard apple cider and those hot apple cider donuts at Windy Hill Orchard and Cidery in York.

Love visiting Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island outside of Charleston for a wine tasting, and walking next door for tasting at Firefly Distillery.

Love an after dinner visit to Old Rock Quarry Winery in Enoree. Feels like visiting old friends and hanging in their backyard drinking sweet homemade wine.

Pam loves drowning the cat at Cats Paw Winery in Rock Hill. Jenni loves the wine bottle gun opener!

Love a glass of estate grown European Vinifera wine and lunch from the café enjoyed on the terrace at Victoria Valley Vineyards in Cleveland. Love the Vine to Wine tours at Mercer House Estate Winery in Lexington. Five vineyards, five scenic ponds, 2 creeks, on a one mile walking path. Have a glass while exploring nature!

Love a tasting at Boardwalk Winery and Carolina Vineyard Winery when visiting the Grand Strand.

Love Open House the first Saturday of every month at Wandering Bard Meadery in Mauldin.

Love the estate grown French-Hybrid varietals at Wellborn Winery in the Woods up in Travelers Rest.

Love the fresh fruit wines produced at Lazy Bear Winery in Easley.

Love enjoying a bottle in the barrel room at Island Winery on Hilton Head Island.

We absolutely love hosting the Palmetto Wine Competition at the historic Belmont Inn in historic Abbeville.

Love the original Palmetto Signature Six. Six award winning wines produced entirely from South Carolina grown fruit.

Love so many of the award winning wines produced and bottled in South Carolina.

Palmetto Wine Competition’s award winning Best in Show; Raspberry White Zin from CityScape Winery.

Palmetto Wine Competition gold medal lineup!

A few more of our favorite South Carolina wines!

How about setting out to visit all of our South Carolina wineries! All of our South Carolina vineyards and wineries are locally owned small businesses. Cheers!

Announcing The 2019 Palmetto Wine Competition

Jenni and Dennis Turner of WineryEscapades.Com officially announce the 2019 Palmetto Wine Competition will be held May 7th, 2019 at the historic Belmont Inn in Abbeville, South Carolina.

Planning for the 2019 state wine competition is ongoing and further details will soon follow. The 2018 competition awarded 38 medals amongst entries from nine South Carolina wineries.

The 2019 competition will award medals in categories of muscadine, bunch grape, fruit wine, mead, and cider. A highly qualified panel of judges bringing a wealth of knowledge will judge the wine entries by blind tasting. An awards gala sponsored by the South Carolina Winery and Grape Growers Association that same evening will crown and celebrate the award winning wines.

Press Release: Palmetto Signature Six

The Palmetto Wine Competition announces the 2018 Palmetto Signature Six.

October brings harvest in South Carolina vineyards and we celebrate South Carolina grown fruit by presenting our inaugural selection of home grown award winning wines, the Palmetto Signature Six.

Six award winning wines produced entirely from South Carolina grown fruit. This year’s award winning group includes three whites and three reds produced from vineyards spanning from the Low-country to the Upstate.

Presenting The White Wines

Woodsy White – Wellborn Winery – Travelers Rest

An unique blend of Syval Blanc and Traminette create this award winning off-dry white. Two French-American Hybrid varietals grown in Wellborn’s modest vineyard rooted in Northern Greenville County.

Vineyard Owners – Tony Beninati & Debbie Sikora
Winemaker – Tony Beninati

Curiously White – Enoree River Vineyards – Newberry

A blend of different white Muscadine varieties. A vineyard planted of Carlos Muscadine  at this Newberry winery, curiously yielded several vines with grape of unknown varieties. Fruit from these specific vines are blended to create this limited production award winning semi-sweet white wine.

Vineyard Owners – Richard & Laura LaBarre
Winemaker – Laura LaBarre

Magnolia – Abiding Vine Vineyards – Laurens

Produced entirely from the single Magnolia Muscadine varietal. The young vines at Abiding Vine Vineyard have thrived in the rich country soil producing this light and crisp award winning white wine.

Vineyard Owner – David Barnes
Winemaker – David Barnes

Taking Notice Of The Red Wines

Carolina Nights – CityScape Winery – Pelzer

Southern Greenville County grown Noble Muscadine and locally grown South Carolina blackberries beautifully blend to produce this award winning semi-sweet medium bodied easy drinking red wine.

Vineyard Owners – Josh and Deb Jones
Winemaker – Josh Jones

Blueberry Jalapeño – Mercer House Estate Winery – Lexington

Complex award winning blueberry wine with just the right amount of extra ummppp! This unique blend produces a bold complex flavorful red wine.

Vineyard Owners – Shannon and Kim Mercer
Winemaker – Shannon Mercer

High Tide – Deep Water Vineyards – Charleston

A light bodied wine produced from grapes of the single Noble Muscadine varietal harvested from Deep Water’s mature vines rooted on Wadmalaw Island. This award winning wine exhibits a robust nose and deep bold flavors.

Vineyard Owners – Jesse and Andrea Friewald
Winemaker – Jesse Friewald

Old Rock Quarry Winery- Reblog

In celebration of their one year anniversary at Old Rock Quarry Winery, we are reblogging this post from 2017.

So kind of on a whim Dennis & I decided to go to Old Rock Quarry Winery. Best decision ever! We met Debbie & Lindy Glidden. Sadly for us, the other owner, Linda, wasn’t there. We laughed, shared & tasted wine. She told us a story about Grapa from Germany that was also too spicy to drink. At the end of our tasting she asked which of their wines was our Grapa. We told her none! They have mostly sweet wines but we loved them all! A bottle of their Plum Crazy & one of the Snap Apple Sassy came home to the Turner wine collection. This is one that we will visit many more times!

Update: 9/8/2017 from Jenni:

We started our weekend with a second visit to Old Rock Quarry in Enoree after dinner since they’re open until 8 of Friday and Saturday. While the attached picture is not so flattering of me, I wanted you to “meet” the two lovely ladies that own the winery, Debbie and Linda. To say we love these 2 ladies would be an understatement. They are so funny and sweet! I would encourage all of you to make the drive (short from Spartanburg, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Clinton and Columbia) to see these two. We shared a bottle of their peach, brought a bottle of that and a bottle of their Snap Apple Sassy home.

Now that the weather is cooler, Old Rock quarry has a really cool gas fire pit to help keep warm. The tables are made from wooden large cable spools and have a cut out in the center for the ice bucket to keep your bottle chilled. All makes for a really nice evening experience.

Visiting Old Rock Quarry Winery is reminiscent of visiting old friends.

Happy Weekend Wining!

Return to Winery Escapades

Carménère Review – CityScape Winery

Carménère grape imported fresh from Chilè.

Grape hand crushed and destemmed.

Single barrel aged.

Limited Release, only 300 bottles produced.

Dark Crimson in color.

Floral and spicy on the nose. Excellent aroma!

Medium to Full bodied.

Medium tannins.

Bold notes of black pepper on the tongue, black cherry, over ripe dark plum, and a strong spicy finish.

Would benefit from decanting.

Paired exceptionally well with the smoked brisket.

Personal scoring on the American Wine Society twenty point scale.

Appearance: 3

Aroma: 5

Taste: 5

Aftertaste: 3

Impression: 2

Total: 18 — Gold Medal worthy!

Priced at $28 a bottle.

Should age beautifully.

July 4th, 2018 was opening day for Wellborn Winery in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. We had waited in anticipation and it was great to see Tony and Debbie enjoy their grand opening celebration. A good crowd showed up and all in all the entire opening day was a huge success!

Tony and Debbie have done a great job with the property. A comfortable patio just outside the cozy tasting room offers tables to sit and relax. Several others tables are scattered about the property and overlooking the small vineyard.

Wines are crafted from French Hybrid and muscadine grapes grown in the estate one acre vineyard and also locally sourced from neighboring vineyards and farms.

Wellborn won a total of five medals in the 2018 Palmetto Wine Competition with the Woodsy White winning a gold. Several wines have also won medals in amateur competitions in Florida.

After enjoying the festivities and of course some award winning wine, we said our goodbyes and headed toward Tryon. We were excited to check out the construction progress at Mountain Brook Vineyards.

The construction didn’t hinder the crowd who were enjoying the musical talents of Bren Sams.

It was fun to sit with Carroll and Bren (during her short breaks between sets). We enjoyed moments chatting with Vickie, winemaker Liz, and even saw David Murphy who was one our head judges in the Palmetto Wine Competition. The views remain gorgeous even through the construction.

Our Forth of July first date tradition is watching the fireworks display from downtown Spartanburg. Arriving early to secure a good spot and thereby finding some time to kill, We meandered over to the AC Marriott and enjoyed something refreshing.

Finished our Independence Day fun with a great view of the patriotic fireworks display!

Happy Weekend Wining!

The Outer Banks Anniversary Escapade

Last couple of weeks we ended up just staying super local because of everything we had going on. Weekend 12 was anniversary weekend for us! I’m amazed that it has already been a year.

So we started our vacation out by just getting a few errands done on Thursday. After all that was complete we decided to ride up to ParkerBinns for a little bit. Those guys are so super fun! We had a nice visit with Karen, Bob, Kelly and of course Lulu. We met a very nice young man at the winery, Scott McCormick, who is the manager of Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery in Lake Lure. Dennis & I cannot wait to go for a visit! While at Parker-Binns, we were treated to a taste of the new Chardonnay and a taste of the new hard blackberry apple cider. We enjoyed both very much and the artwork of the wineries garden on the label for the Chardonnay is beyond gorgeous! The artist is local and we’ll try to link her page. We enjoyed a bottle of the Rosé during our visit. The view is always super gorgeous at Parker-Binns.

Friday morning we left early and headed for the Outer Banks. It’s a rather long drive so we decided to break it up a tad and stop at Gregory Winery just South of Raleigh. They are predominately a muscadine vineyard with some fruit wine combinations as well as 4 fortified wines. Tasha was our server and she was so fun! You can tell she really enjoys what she is doing. Lane (the owner) came in as we were doing our tasting and spent a good deal of time chatting with us. This one is well worth a visit.

As we still had several hours on the road, we only did the tasting, but bought a bottle of the peach blend and 2 bottles of the fortified wines. Countinued on to Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks, checked in to our hotel and found dinner at Awful Arthur’s. Enjoyed a Carolina Blonde at dinner with my Gorgeous Brunette

Saturday morning we walked on the beach, it was very windy and cold.

We made our way over to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Enjoyed a tour of the grounds and listened to Wright Brother stories from one of the park rangers. We were both intrigued by the history of the first flight stories.

As windy as it was, we see why they chose that area to do their testing. Then we drove over to Roanoke Island to set eyes on the Mother Vine. It’s amazing!

Later in the day we went to Sanctuary Vineyards. Even though this vineyard is in a sandy / beachy environment, they are producing varietals other than just muscadine. Dennis had wanted to visit here because we knew that they had a double barrel red blend that won Best in Show at the second annual awards gala of the NC Fine Wines Society. Elton was super busy but managed to share a few jokes with all of us and told us all about the wines. We met some really fun couples and a few ladies that were celebrating their friend who is getting married soon. Look forward to another visit when we can purchase more of their wines. Put This one on your list to visit every time you find yourself nearbthe OBX area.

Sunday afternoon we went to Vineyard on the Scuppernog. The tasting room is downtown Columbia though the vineyards reside along the banks of the nearby Scuppernong River. The lovely lady that did out tasting was so gracious to us. She really took pride in telling us all about the wines, the name origins and even the art on the labels. We bought a bottle of the strawberry wine, Girls of Summer, only the bottle did not make it back to Boiling Springs! traveling back to Kill Devil Hills we stopped on Roanoke Island for a tour of the aquarium on Roanoke Island. Man those sharks!

We did some other sight seeing and visited the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Then headed North to the small OBX town of Duck for our anniversary waterfront dinner at The Blue Point. We were thrilled to see the Outer Banks Ice wine from Sanctuary Vineyards on their wine menu. Dinner was as amazing as the views!

Monday morning we headed to Myrtle Beach. Got checked in and then went to dinner. After dinner we headed over to Carolina Vineyards Winery which is located in the Barefoot Landing shopping district. The gentleman who did our tasting, Ben, had only been there for 4 days. Still, he did a super job with our tasting and was very personable. We each got a glass and then walked around the shops for a little bit. The plus about being at the beach early in the season is that it is not overly crowded.

Our vacation came to a close with a visit to La Belle Amie. Boy did we have fun there! The ladies that were doing the tasting were tons of fun! La Belle Amie is an oasis on the Grand Strand. A working vineyard providing a beautiful place to escape the crowds of Myrtle Beach and enjoy some really refreshing wine.

Sadly our coastal winery escapade came to a close. So many other vineyards and wineries remain along coast which we have still to visit. Looking forward to our next coastal trip!

Remember to wine local and follow us on Winery Escapades.

Final Thoughts and Press for the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition

We are thrilled with the following press of the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition from the Index-Journal in Greenwood, South Carolina. Staff writer St. Clair Donaghy attended the day’s events and we are thrilled to see included comments from several participating winery owners and our judges. Please take a moment to read the article. We appreciate your support.

Palmetto Wine Competition Article

The event was very rewarding for Jenni and I, even though it was indeed much more work than we anticipated. Finding enough wine glasses became a challenge. We settled on renting the glasses but then had to overcome the logistics of getting the glasses from Greenwood to the small town of Abbeville. Fortunately, a childhood friend of mine lives nearby and totally saved the day, delivering and returning all 12 racks of wine glasses. Each wine had to be assigned an unique number, and the proper tasting order had to be determined.

Selecting and gaining commitments from qualified judges was probably our biggest challenge. We wanted several highly trained and educated judges paired with others who had a developed knowledge and appreciation for local crafted wine. A couple of our initial choices could not maintain their commitment for various reasons. However, we feel as though we met our objective to sit a diverse group of well qualified judges.

We owe a huge gratitude to our sponsors. Our host site, The historic Belmont Inn of Abbeville, South Carolina was the perfect venue for our wine competition. The hotel was built in 1903 and maintains a relaxed elegance of years gone by. We highly recommend a visit and overnight stay. We believe that you will quickly come to love the Belmont same as we do. While there, be sure to try the Boomerang Burger in Tinkers Alley, the basement pub. This burger, with a pineapple slice and topped with pimento cheese is to die for!

Our other sponsor, The VinoWine App is our favorite winery escapade tool. No matter where you find yourself, open the app and click on the map to see nearby wineries. The app includes useful information about each winery and even reviews. The app further provides a marketplace for small local craft wineries to sell their wines. If you love wine, and traveling, download The Vinowine App and start exploring local craft wineries.

We also owe a great gratitude to The South Carolina Wine and Grape Growers Association. Without these guys, we’re mostly stuck drinking mass produced grocery store wines. Get out and visit a local winery, you can thank us later…..with a bottle of wine of course.

Congratulations to all our winning wineries.

CityScape Winery – Pelzer (Greenville County)

Wellborn Winery – Travers Rest (opening July 2918)

Abiding Vine Vineyard – Laurens

Enoree River Vineyards – Newberry

Mercer House Estate Winery – Lexington

Carolina Vineyard Winery – Myrtle Beach

Deep Water Vineyard – Wadmalaw Island (Charleston)

Island Winery – Hilton Head Island

Below are a few of the pictures I’ve collected from the inaugural 2018 Palmetto Wine Competition. Lunch prepared by the Belmont Inn’s Chef Darby was enjoyed on the veranda while listening to the smooth sounds of Alex Davis.

Next year, we’re planning a regional competition to promote the regions which we visit each weekend. Let the planning begin! We are very proud of the event and hope to encourage fellow wine lovers to get out and visit a local craft winery.

Official Results: 2018 Palmetto Wine Competition

May 03, 2018
Re: Palmetto Wine Competition at The Belmont Inn

Dennis and Jenni Turner, bloggers of WineryEscapades.Com, hosted the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition at The Belmont Inn in historic Abbeville, South Carolina on May 1st. The competition featured forty-four wines produced and bottled by nine different South Carolina Wineries. A panel of six highly qualified judges from many different sectors of the wine industry judged the wine entries by blind tasting. The event featured lunch prepared by Chef David Darby on the veranda at The Belmont Inn while listening to the musical talent of Alex Davis.

Fifteen Bronze Medals awarded:
Curiously White Muscadine – Enoree River Vineyards, Newberry
Carlos Muscadine – Enoree River Vineyards, Newberry
Gewürztraminer – Enoree River Vineyards, Newberry
Driftwood – Deep Water Vineyard, Wadmalaw Island (Charleston)
Low Country Red – Deep Water Vineyard, Wadmalaw Island
Harvest White – Island Winery, Hilton Head Island
Joe’s Reserve – Island Winery, Hilton Head Island
Peach – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Malbec – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Mango – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Red Raspberry – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Blackberry – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Regale Muscadine – Abiding Vine Vineyard, Laurens
Midnight Fruit – Wellborn Winery, Travelers Rest
Berry Dessert Wine – Wellborn Winery, Travelers Rest

Eleven Silver Medals awarded:
Tara White Muscadine – Wellborn Winery, Travelers Rest
Rustic Red – Wellborn Winery, Travelers Rest
BlueBerry Jalapeno – Mercer House Estate Winery, Lexington
Raspberry Honey – Island Winery, Hilton Head Island
Peach on the Beach – Island Winery, Hilton Head Island
Pinot Grigio – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Pineapple Riesling – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Green Apple Gewürztraminer – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Carolina Nights – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Blackberry Merlot – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Coffee Delight Dessert – CityScape Winery, Pelzer

Nine Gold Medals awarded:
¬Woodsy White – Wellborn Winery, Travelers Rest
Magnolia Muscadine – Abiding Vine Vineyard, Laurens
Cranberry – Carolina Vineyard Winery, Myrtle Beach
Blackberry – Enoree River Vineyards, Newberry
Müller Two-Goats – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Reserve Cabernet Sauvingnon – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Dark Chocolate Red – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Caramel Delight (Dessert) – CityScape Winery, Pelzer

High Tide – Deep Water Vineyard, Wadmalaw Island

Three Double Golds were awarded:
Raspberry White Zin – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Pomegranate Pinot Nior – CityScape Winery, Pelzer
Southern Passion – Island Winery, Hilton Head Island

Our Best in Show Signature Winner:
Raspberry White Zin – CityScape Winery, Pelzer

An awards ceremony will be held at a later date to present Signature Best in Show trophy to CityScape Winery in Pelzer, S.C. We remain very grateful to our sponsors, The South Carolina Wine and Grape Growers Association, The VinoWine App, and The Belmont Inn. A trophy presentation for the Best in Show Signature Winner is scheduled for May 26th, 2 p.m. at CityScape Winery in Pelzer, S.C.