Ornaments for the Tree from NC
As a veteran of the many many wine tours in the Yadkin Valley I know firsthand how much fun it is to travel to various North Carolina vineyards and wineries AND receive something thematic and special at each all the while sampling fantastic North Carolina wines. From the Summer Whites and Winter Reds in Yadkin Valley to the incredible Herb Tour in Swan Creek there is something magical and anticipatory about the wines and surprises that await at each participating location.
In years past I was aware of the Yadkin Yuletide Sippin' Tour and could never adjust my schedule to participate; remember the holidays can get pretty busy. Luckily the stars aligned this year and I was able to visit eight participating vineyards and wineries AND get a Christmas tree ornament.
Two significant events happened just in close proximity to this year's Yadkin Yuletide Sippin' Tour that were very timely. Let me share them with you.
First, after many years of gentle persuasion, I finally persuaded my wife to purchase a second taller Christmas tree. Many years ago we experienced the pleasure that a real tree can bring only to be disappointed in the upkeep and subsequent barrage of needles that results if you are not diligent. Shortly thereafter we purchased our first 6 foot artificial tree and it has been a focal point of every Christmas since. Well, new tree means…more ornaments are needed.
The second event that made this ornament gathering event special was that I was very fortunate to be a guest in the brand new home of my good friends Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling. Virtually each room of their new home is decorated with a coordinating Christmas tree and the look is magical. It literally transforms their home into a winter wonderland with each tree in each room not only the focal point but tastefully and elegantly decorated. To no ones surprise their wine themed tree was my favorite. By embarking on the Yadkin Yuletide Sippin' Tour I knew I would return with a treasure trove of ornaments and being inspired by the NC Wine Guys I was chomping at the bit.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention a tradition in my family between my wife and her mother Irene where for many years it was their annual custom to exchange ornaments. These various ornaments evoke memories of past Christmas events and travels each warming to the heart.
So, now that the stage is set, let me share with you where I went and the unique ornaments that I received at each location:
Hanover Park Vineyards - 1927 Courtney-Huntsville Rd, Yadkinville, NC 27055
The Rhone River Valley style wines produced at this iconic Yadkin Valley winery coupled with the charm and personality of the owners have made me a fan for years, their Mourvèdre is to die for and very rare here in NC. Speaking of the owners, close friends know that the owners are former art teachers and since owner Amy Helton actually made this beautiful ornament crafted from Hanover Park wine corks I can now say that I own an original Amy Helton. Be sure and check them out at www.hanoverparkwines.com and plan a visit soon to taste their wines.
Sanders Ridge Winery - 3200 Round Hill Rd, Boonville, NC 27011
The whimsical ornament I received at Sanders Ridge, like the ornament I got at Hanover Park, was fashioned from a wine work. The jolly snow man shown here was a delight to hang on the tree and perfect for the season. Well known for their food as well as their wine, make sure and visit them soon. My favorite is their Bordeaux style Big Woods red, check out their details at www.sandersridge.com and visit their 179 year old family farm.
Windsor Run Cellars - 6531 Windsor Rd, Hamptonville, NC 27020
Ever since I was able to sample the 2012 Midnight Run Reserve at a friends home during the holidays, I was dying to return and get my own bottle. This award winning wine from Windsor Run Cellars was rated 93 points by James Suckling. The ornament I received from them seemed more than appropriate and you need to plan a visit there soon, check them out at www.windsorrun.com
Divine Llama Vineyards - 4126 Divine Llama Ln, East Bend, NC 27018
It seems only fitting that a winery that has managed to mesh their vinicultural interests with the breeding of award winning llamas would offer a delightful llama as a Christmas ornament. The largest llama farm in the Southeast also makes great wine, I am a big fan of their Mandarb and Traminette. Check them out at www.divinellamavineyards.com
Midnight Magdalena Vineyards - 5109 Howell School Rd, Jonesville, NC 28642
The good folks at Midnight Magdalena provided us with a beautiful snowflake ornament crafted from cork like material. I was impressed that the ornament was dated and my visit provided me the unique opportunity to sample their Corot Noir wine. Since they are the only ones with this unique varietal you owe yourself a visit. check them out at www.midnightmagdalena.com/ where they raise "authentic wines".
Brandon Hills Vineyard - 1927 Brandon Hills Rd, Yadkinville, NC 27055
The little snow man ornament I received at Brandon Hills was special - it was the only one that made noise. The whimsical little snowman and bell brought great memories of holidays and fun from long ago as well as many a chorus of "Jingle Bells".
Shadow Springs Vineyard. A visit to Brandon Hills also afforded me the o[p[opportunity to sample their 2017 Raptor Red as well as some delicious chili.
Cellar 4201 Vineyards - 4201 Apperson Rd, East Bend, NC 27018
This boutique style family winery provided us an ornament that it is easy to remember where it came from - it is emblazoned with their trademark logo. This unique logo also adorns my favorite wine there - The Warrior. The Warrior is a unique dry blend that you are sure to enjoy, check them out at www.cellar4201.com
Shadow Springs Vineyard - 5543 Crater Rd, Hamptonville, NC 27020
My final stop of the day was at Shadow Springs and I was greeted here with a two sided ornament that I trust will grace my family tree for years to come. Shadow Springs was one of the destinations on the tour that I looked forward to with great anticipation, I knew that it would afford me yet another opportunity to sample their award winning Petit Verdot recently voted Best Of Show at the recent NC State Fair Wine competition. Just another example of outstanding wine for NC, check them out and see for yourself at www.shadowspringsvineyard.com
Many thanks to all the participating vineyards and wineries in this year's version of the Yadkin Yuletide Sippin' Tour ! I have one piece of free advice for any that consider being a part of the 2023 version. While participating in the tour this year I crossed paths with many "veterans" (people who do the tour every year). The one constant i heard from them all was they loved the locations that changed the ornament year to year.
Keep that in mind, you have nearly a year to prepare and I look forward to doing it again next year - I need more ornaments!