Rock & Rail – Jones von Drehle Vineyards

Our wine tonight is the 2012 Rock & Rail from Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley.

A Boudreaux styled estate blended table wine

Floral nose, medium bodied, lingering flavor notes of black cherry.

AVA: Yadkin Valley

Winery Escapade scoring on the American Wine Society twenty point scale.

Appearance: 3 Aroma: 4 Taste: 4.5 Aftertaste: 3 Impression: 2

Total: 16.5 – Silver Medal worthy!

Awards: Multiple Silver & Gold

12.5% ABV

Priced at $24 a bottle.

Ships: Multiple States via Wine Direct


Winery Escapade – Weekend 46 of 2018

We started our weekend off with the first ever wine club pickup party at Parker-Binns Vineyard and Winery. The party was held in the barrel room of the newly constructed production facility and featured live music, light hor d’oeuvres, and a glass of wine of your choice.

Justin, the winemaker, spoke about making of the wine and expanded upon how 2018 was a challenging year for the grape harvest. Bob, who owns Parker-Binns along with his wife Karen, spoke about future plans and offered an overview of the new equipment in the wine production facility and also reminisced a bit about the wineries journey. One highlight from Justin was how excited they were for future vintages of the estate grown Petit Manseng. The evening ended with a serving of scrumptious cheesecake with a copious drizzling of their special port wine.

Saturday we met our friends Will and Pam at Baker Buffalo Creek Winery. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying excellent wine and catching up. As always, another fun filled day with our great friends.

We enjoyed several wines though the highlight of the day was the seasonal Merry Berry. A grape cranberry Holiday blend.

Will and I took a stroll down to the old farmhouse. I took the first picture below and Will shot the second.

Sunday Jenni and I drove up to the Biltmore Estate as we needed to renew our annual passes. We scheduled our Christmas candlelight tour for 7 pm and headed over to the winery. We enjoyed our complimentary glass of wine in the wine club members lounge and with a little more time to kill enjoyed a tasting and browsed the gift shop.

I won’t bore you with all our Biltmore House pictures, but only a large sampling of a few of my favorites.

If you’ve yet the opportunity to visit the Biltmore House for a Christmas candlelight tour, we highly recommend the experience.

Jenni and I remain very thankful for the support of our blogs, and

We sincerely wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope to see you at a local winery soon!


Van in Black: Tour in Style

Blogging brings about some fun and unique opportunities. This particular opportunity just totally wowed us!

The Van in Black offers fun tours with style and class. Getting your group where you want to go in a black Mercedes van which can seat up to eleven. I mean cruising down the road with Ryan at the wheel…..just too cool!

We closed out NC Wine Month with fellow bloggers NCWineGuys and The Wine Mouths for a Van in Black customized tour of three of our favorite Tryon area wineries.

You guys know how much we love touring wineries. Getting chauffeured around in the cool, luxurious Van in Black takes black car service to a whole new level of class and comfort.

Our first stop was Overmountain Vineyards where assistant winemaker Sofia Lilly offered our wine tasting and vineyard tour. Vineyard owner and winemaker Frank Lilly spent a good bit of time talking about the vineyards and wine making processes.

Next stop was Mountain Brook Vineyards where we enjoyed a tasting on the wrap-around porch overlooking the vineyard. Winemaker Liz Pickett spoke on each wine.

Final stop on the way too cool winery tour was Parker-Binns Vineyards where we tasted on the garden patio nestled beside the lower vineyard.

Ryan and Terri of Van in Black will customize a tour for you no matter your itinerary, we just strongly recommend a chauffeured winery tour! Check out our recent blog to learn more about the wineries of the Tryon Foothills.

A Few Things We Love About North Carolina Wineries.

It’s safe to say our hobby has turned into an obsession. What started as a way to spend time together, has turned into a way of life. Therefore, we celebrate 2018 North Carolina wine month with our 2nd annual post of a few things we love about #NCWine.

Still love that Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville was the first winery we ever visited together. It was also where I proposed. Love sitting under their portico, enjoying the Meritage or the Sunset Sippin’.

Love that Cabo Winery stays open late and offers fun wines such as Hissy Fit (Strawberry) and the Bless Your Heart (Coconut) and Over Yonder (Chocolate Covered Cherry).

Love the million dollar views at Raffaldini and Piccione in Ronda, and Silver Fork in Morganton, and Parker-Binns in Tryon.


Love the incredible improved Mountain Brook Vineyards.

Love enjoying a glass by the fire pit at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards.

Love Henry the Peacock at Catawba Farms Winery.

Love the White Merlot on the back patio at Brandon Hills Vineyards .

Love brick oven pizza and live music on Sunday Funday at Parker Binns.

Love that overnight accomodations are available in a treehouse at Treehouse Vineyards.

Love that Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the country.

Love visiting the smallest winery in the country, Calaboose Cellars in Andrews up in the Great Smokey Mountains. Located in an old jailhouse.

Love that Belle Nicho is “unpretentious.”

Love the Logo of Dog Driving a Tractor
Love that these two are both a winery and a brewery – Morgan Ridge Vineyard and Brewhouse and West Bend Winery and Brewery.

Love sipping on wine slushies at Eagle Fork Vineyards.

Love the Killer Bee spirits from the distillery at Windsor Run Cellars

Love the Four off Nine in the Tryon Foothills area – Parker Binns, OverMountain, Mountain Brook, and Russian Chapel Hills.


Love the Bordeaux style at South Creek Vineyards.

Love Wally and LaLa at Silk Hope Winery

Wally Butler – Owner-Winemaker
LaLa makes the tasting fun

Love shopping for antiques at Lake James Cellars.

Love the bourbon barrel aged Cab Sauv at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards.

Love strolling through the vineyard to St. Anna’s Chapel at Russian Chapel Hills

Love the listening to the river while enjoying a glass on the porch at Roaring River Vineyards

Love the Outer Banks Ice Wine from Sanctuary Vineyards.

Love that the oldest vine in America, the Mother Vine on Mateo in the OBX is still producing grapes.

Love the beautiful grounds at Daveste’ Vineyards.

Love the 360 degree mountain views at Point Lookout Vineyards.

Love the “Love” Alchemy Herbal Mead from Addison Farms Vineyard.

Love that even though we have visited almost 120 North Carolina wineries there remain nearly 80 more for us still to visit, and more opening each year.

Happy weekend wining! Get out this September and celebrate North Carolina Wine Month by visiting and enjoying the nearly 200 North Carolina Wineries!

Return to WineryEscapades.Com

Tryon Foothills: Four off Nine

Tryon boast a rich viticulture history of growing quality grapes and producing fine wines.

Four wineries are keeping this tradition alive. Each with its own unique vibe. All four of these wineries located just off North Carolina Highway Nine.

When driving North from the South Carolina state line, you’ll find in the below order. All four within 15 to 20 minutes of each other. Your GPS knows the way.

Russian Chapel Hills Winery cultivates 17 acres under vine. The vineyards and winery are under the direction of Andrey Medvedev, who normally greets arriving guest with a smile.

Russian Chapel is growing Chardonnay, Muscadine, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. Russian Chapel Hills Kagor is produced of the estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

A short walk through the vineyard takes you the beautiful St. Anna Chapel which majestically overlooks the vineyard.

Mountain Brook Vineyards is a small craft winery nestled atop a foothill with stunning Mountain Views.

Approximately 7 acres under vine growing Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Mountain Brook wines have won awards from coast to coast. The winery features live music and stunning 360 degree views from the wrap-around porch. Strongly recommend one of their fruit sangrias.

OverMountain Vineyards is a family owned boutique vineyard and winery featuring distinctive French style wines. Owner Frank Lily and his daughter Sophia are the winemakers. Frank studied in California and North Carolina and Sophia holds a degree in Biology and for most of her life apprenticed under the guidance of her Father. The vineyard features seventeen acres under vine growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Petit Menseng.

OverMountain has a distinctive “Sonoma” feel with it’s spacious patio covered with ginormous red umbrellas. The patio steps lead to a beautiful lawn area just above the Northern sloping vineyard.

Parker-Binns Vineyards owned and operated by “retirees” Roberto and Karen Binns along with their daughter Kelly, offers a fun-time laid back vibe. We use the “retiree” tag loosely as these guys are always hopping on the weekends. Each weekend is capped with Sunday Funday offering live music and free brick oven pizza.

Growing Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Menseng, on mostly Southern sloping hillsides. Parker-Binns features two tasting rooms, the garden and also the barn which is nestled on higher ground overlooking the vineyards. The barn is often used for events and offers exceptional mountain views and a large wrap-around bar. The garden tasting room is a more cozy and intimate environment.

The Four off Nine in the Tryon Foothills make for a great wine trail. The wineries have began the process to have the area recognized as an American Viticultural Area which would be known as the Tryon Foothills. Make a point to try some “Tryon Grape” in your wine glass!


Dennis & Jenni

Winery Escapades

South Creek Vineyards and Winery – Nebo, N.C.

Saturday August 19, 2017 – Jenni and I visited the Morganton area and our first stop was South Creek Vineyards and Winery. 

A Bordeaux style winery, owner James Rowley shared with us tales of a recent visit to several French Bordeaux Vineyards. A learning experience to ensure their wines are living up to the standard.

Highly recommend a full tasting, costing $10. Each wine should be experienced and you’re certain to find one to your liking. My favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon and I also enjoyed the Cabernet Franc. Trust me, I’m a true Cab Sauv Snob, and this one is good.

The winery has a nice shaded patio, where we enjoyed a glass while listening to the smooth sounds of singer, songwriter, storyteller, and musician Thomas Aaron Garlow.

We chatted with Dana Kendall, owner/executive driver of Asheville Premier Transportation. She had chauffeured a large bridal party in for a tasting.

South Creek is well worth a visit, a little slice of Southern France in Nebo. Happy weekend Wining!  Dennis

Return to WineryEscapades.Com

Grape History of Tryon

Below is an excerpt of a current writing project.  

In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Tryon table grapes and wines produced from grapes grown in the region were served in the finest restaurants all over the United States of America. It was often heard in New York, “give me Tryon grape.” The wines became known for quality to the wealthiest of connoisseurs and these wines were shipped all over the country.  Many of the Tryon vineyards were planted in the late 1800’s and some twenty plus vineyards existed in the early 1900’s growing grape varieties such as Muscadine, White Niagara, Red Delaware table grapes, and even European Vinifera.

The vineyard owners and winemakers of the early 1900’s are as likewise of intriguing interest. Harold Doubleday, nephew of Abner Doubleday of baseball fame. Sidney Lanier Junior, son of famed poet. Alex Lamort, immigrant from Bordeaux, France, brought to the United States by George Vanderbilt. Lamort’s 1916 obituary mentioned his wines as being known favorably all of the world. George Edward Morton, founder of Tryon’s first newspaper. William T. Lindsey, whose grapes were honored at the 1893 New York State Fair.

The favorable growing conditions of Tryon have been long promoted. At roughly 1400 foot of elevation along the southern slopes of the area’s mountain foothills exist a weather phenomenon known as the Thermal Belt. In the Thermal belt, frost is rare. The Tryon Foothills Thermal Belts are considered some of the more pronounced in the country. Temperatures in along these belts range about 20 degrees warmer than along the base of the foothills. It is this climate that not only makes the area ideal for growing grapes, but likewise contributed to the area becoming a summer resort destination. The later also contributing to the development of the Tryon Foothills in Polk County as a respected wine region.

In the early 1900’s, travel by train was the popular means of travel up and down the East Coast. Trains traveling from Miami to New York stopped in Tryon as often as 10 times each day. The area growers would peddle their fruit and wine at the train depot. Tryon wine gained notoriety as it was transported up and down the East Coast. Tryon wines are known to have been served at the Waldorf Astoria during the 1920’s. Tryon became to be known as one of the finest grape producing regions of the country.

My birthday weekend so my gorgeous wife planned a weekend of craft brewhouse tours and tastings up in the area of Cornelius/Davidson/Lake Norman, North Carolina. Our close friends Will and Pam live in the area and are local brewery knowledgeable so big thanks to those two for guiding us on our local craft brewhouse tour! We always have great fun hanging out with these guys!

First Stop, Eleven Lakes Brewing in Cornelius. Named for the eleven lakes along the Catawba River.

Next stop at the nearby Ass Clown Brewing Company. They’re slogan is “Drink one, don’t be one.” Ass Clown first opened in 2011 so they’ve certainly been around a while. The t-shirts are most cool and worthy!

Jenni and I enjoyed a flight. The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt was my favorite.

Third stop was certainly my fav of the day. Primal Brewery is a larger operation with plenty of inside and outside sitting. Most recognizable by the totem carving proudly serving roadside notice of their location.

Located in Huntersville, Primal offers a great location to hang out with friends and enjoy some real good beer! Here we enjoyed another flight with my favorite being the Not So Harry Porter. The best T-Shirt though most certainly was for the Grim Creeper IPA.

Keeping the fun going, we next rolled into King Canary Brewery Company. This brewery just recently opened in Mooresville.

Final brewery stop of the day…..thank goodness…….was the awesome D9 Brewing. They have a really nice outside area and a food truck serving up some fine grub. A nice crowd was gathered to enjoy the day.

We ended our day of beer tasting fun with dinner at Sabi Asian Bistro in Davidson enjoying a really good bottle of White Peach Saki. Saki so good!

After a good nights rest, we all met up downtown Davidson at The Famous Toastery for brunch. I enjoyed a huge omelette and an Irish Coffee.

Keeping with our beer tasting weekend, after brunch we all drove an hour up to Morgan Ridge Vineyards and Brewhouse in Gold Hill. We all enjoyed a wine tasting and later a bottle outside overlooking the gorgeous grounds.

Keeping the promise of my birthday card, my gorgeous wife bought me a six pack of the Morgan Ridge Caramel Coconut Cream Ale for my enjoyment at home.

Thoroughly enjoyed our local craft brewhouse tour and we’d love to hear your recommendations? Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to check out your favorite.

Mountain Brook Vineyards Dinner With Wine Pairing

The below article is a combination of writings with the main parts written by Jenni and Dennis’ musing in italics. We thought it’s be fun to present this way.

Wine dinner pairings are at their core are an intrinsically social event. Perhaps a simpler way to state would be just to say they are really, really fun! Pairing wine with food brings out depths of flavor in both the wine and in the food. In such a pairing when both the dinner and the wine are of exceptional fine quality, something special, and delectable is created.Monday night Dennis and I were privileged to get to attend Mountain Brook Vineyards’ first wine dinner with the new owners, Vickie and Jonathan Redgrave. They selected Luna del Sol in Lake Lure as the restaurant venue. This is the most quaint and fun hidden gem I believe in Lake Lure. We were supposed to start out on the beautiful patio but Mother Nature had other plans so the pre-appetizers were moved inside to their “oh so cute” bar area along with the lovely song stylings of Bren Sams. They have some of the funniest signs all over the bar area. Below is a picture of just one of my favorites.

We enjoyed a wonderful peach sangria that Vickie made and then a sampling of their Pinot Grigio with some Bruschetta.  There was also a lovely salmon with capers but as I am not much of a salmon fan, we relied on the many other guest whom enjoyed the salmon and proclaimed it was very good. We guesstimated a crowd of about forty joined us in enjoying this fabulous dinner with wine pairing.

The restaurant is a true hidden gem with multiple personalities, nestled in the lower level of the Apple Valley Market. Certainly not fitting the personality of upscale, though the outside patio could certainly pass that test. The bar area is quaint and unassuming, with the most hilarious bar signs typical of a neighborhood tavern. A more formal dining room is adjoining the bar. Chef Bruce and Tina are the proprietors and they certainly understand customer service. Just browse the numerous online reviews for confirmation.

We moved into the main dining room that is simply gorgeous. We started out with prawns over fettuccine with lemon, garlic, butter, chardonnay appetizer paired with Mountain Brook’s oaked Chardonnay. I am generally not a Chardonnay fan, but I absolutely enjoyed this combination very much.

Mountain Brook Vineyards has long been one of our favorite local wineries. The fact that new owners Vickie and Jonathan Redgrave want to take it to the next level is extremely exciting. Vickie told a story about when they were considering the purchase of Mountain Brook, they invited well respected winemaker Mark Friszolowski to evaluate the wines. Mark assured them, “these wines are good.” I imagine that is all the assurance the couple needed to convince Mountain Brook Vineyards winemaker Liz Pickett to stay on board. We certainly and wholeheartedly agree with Mark, the wines are good……really good!

Winemaker Liz Pickett

All of the wines are made and bottled at Mountain Brook Vineyards in Tryon. The very talented winemaker, Liz Pickett, does a fantastic job with all aspects of wine making and the night’s pairings were eloquently superb.

We moved onto the main course which was a perfectly cooked filet mignon with a cabernet demi glaze reduction, yukon gold potatoes , parsnip mash and haricot verts which was paired with Mountain Brook’s amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. Dessert was a yummy chocolate ganache with raspberry coulie paired with their Savor, a savory port style wine. A surprise wine, the Petit Verdot was generously shared as the nightcap. Regretfully, I was too busy eating, enjoying the wine, and socializing to take pictures of the plates. Just know that not only was it divine, it was also gorgeously presented!

Highlights: The Cab Sauv, slightly oaked, paired well with the steak and the Savor port paired with the decadent chocolate ganache was simply to die for!

Here’s to hoping for continuing dinner with wine pairings from Mountain Brook Vineyards and Luna del Sol. When visiting either, trust your GPS. A fun time was certainly enjoyed by all. Here’s to all the staff of Luna del Sol and also everyone from Mountain Brook Vineyards. Congratulations, your first wine dinner pairing was a resounding success. Cheers!

Jenni and Dennis

Wine Local!