Fall Color l Fall Fishing
Fall Harvest Festivals & More
Featuring Colorful Times at North Carolina Vineyards & Wineries
Fall generally means grape harvests at North Carolina wineries and that means it’s a great time to visit. Whether it’s a traditional—or untraditional—harvest festival, a good ol’ grape stomp, bustling production activities, special tastings, or simply a crisp and colorful day in the countryside, it’s most definitely a great time of year to visit North Carolina vineyards and wineries!
Each fall festival varies, but they frequently include: tastings (often with a souvenir glass); vineyard and winery tours (especially active during harvest season); varied food possibilities; live music; arts and crafts; and some specific harvest season possibilities—like grape stomping!
Harvest Time at the NC Vineyards
Held for 30+ years, the often-sold-out Annual Grape Stomp Celebration at Duplin Winery celebrates the harvest of muscadine grapes and more, with a full day of tours, tastings, grape stomping, beach music (part of the Amphitheater Summer Beach Concert Series), BBQ, and more. Any visit to Duplin provides a great introduction to all things muscadine.
Festa Italiana at Raffaldini Vineyards celebrates fall with an Italian—and North Carolina—accent, thanks to live Italian deli sandwiches, brick oven pizzas, gelato, olive oil, an Italian photography exhibit, live Italian music from a Mebane band, and—great North Carolina wines (including “Chianti in the Carolinas”®).
The Annual Harvest Festival at Round Peak Vineyards offers a great opportunity to see and experience every aspect of the harvest—from picking grapes to de-stemming to crushing to adding yeast to the must. Visitors help Round Peak staff members start picking at 9am and they’re done in time to have lunch and taste wines from previous harvests!
The popular Harvest Party at Childress Vineyards celebrates that fall’s harvest by savoring reds wines and a gourmet buffet, as well as the fun annual grape stomp, live music, and Tasting Room discounts and case purchases. There’s also a special reception for lucky Childress Vineyards Fast Track Wine Club members. Though technically not a fall harvest festival, there’s also the annual “Childress Idol” contest, with the winner getting to perform at their huge Annual Barbecue Festival (Childress is located in Lexington BBQ country after all) later in the fall.
The NC Muscadine Harvest Festival celebrates the heritage—and health benefits—of North Carolina’s state fruit. More than 20 wineries participate and highlights of this popular festival have to include tastings, live music (including a shag contest), food, crafts, and other business vendors, winemaking and cooking contests, and a unique “tailgating” package that includes four tasting tickets, a bottle of wine, and concert plus tailgating space.
RayLen Vineyards is another vineyard and winery that likes to celebrate fall harvest. The Last Grape Harvest Festival features food, music, a flight tasting of featured wines, a souvenir glass, and more at the popular vineyard and winery.
West Bend Vineyards features Fall Harvest with a Flair, with music, a souvenir glass, and a wine tasting or one glass of wine. There’s also food available for purchase and other offerings.
Though it’s not a specific vineyard, Charlotte’s Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival features more than 200 wines from 20+ wineries, food, crafts, art, and other uncorked grape fun for all in the fall. Cary also hosts a similar festival each spring.
Buck Shoals Vineyard & Winery in Hamptonville is the “Home of Southern (Italian) Wine” and their two-day Harvest Festival features music and other entertainment, award-winning wines, and complimentary seasonal refreshments. Buck Shoals is another great place to see what North Carolina winemakers are doing by growing and harvesting traditional Italian-style grapes like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Barbera.
Over on the coast, Bald Head Island is continuing fall’s highly successful North Carolina Wine & Food Weekend. This tasty three-day event celebrates the harvest with an island touch, thanks to Friday evening’s “N.C. Uncorked” North Carolina wine tasting, food, and much, Saturday’s North Carolina Open Air Market and North Carolina Wine Dinner, and Sunday’s North Carolina Wine Brunch. A variety of packages are available to this growing event.
The Annual Harvest Festival at Shelton Vineyards also continues to grow, thanks to grape stomping, face painting, hay rides, bluegrass music, food (including tasty Harvest Grill), winery tours, and—of course—world-class Shelton wines. Nearby, it’s easy to make a weekend of it by staying at the innovative Hampton Inn & Suites Shelton Vineyards, which features the popular chain’s only property with a wine bar! Several other vineyards and wineries (like the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at Childress Vineyards) also offer adjacent or nearby accommodations options (including cabins and more!) to extend a fall harvest festival stay.
Last, but not least, the Annual Yadkin Valley Grape Festival celebrates what is perhaps North Carolina’s most famous wine region. Appropriately situated in Yadkinville, there are lots of participating wineries offering tastes (tickets come with a souvenir glass), as well as the Annual Ginny B. Motorcycle Ride—which offers a pretty route and a great way to explore the vineyards of Yadkin Valley. The Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce offers shuttle service from hotels in Yadkinville, Jonesville, and Boonville.
By Lynn Seldon
By Lynn Seldon
added: September 14, 2011
updated: October 7, 2011