By Bridget Huckabee
Labor Day marks the end of summer and it’s time to enjoy a change of seasons. Here in Stanly County autumn brings cooler temperatures and glorious fall foliage. The harvest is in and this is a great time to enjoy its bounty as Farmers Markets abound with locally grown produce.
Agriculture is a big part of our economy here in Stanly County and a thriving part of that economy is in viticulture. Our vineyards produce a great variety of excellent wines and the wineries include gift shops, wine tastings and facilities for social gatherings. This Labor Day weekend would be a fine time to hit the wine trail. Enjoy a ride along the scenic byways that link the vineyards, treat yourself to a wine tasting and buy a bottle of your favorite wine to take home and enjoy with a meal of good old Stanly County veggies and home raised meat from our local Farmers Market.
Begin in western Stanly County with a visit to Uwharrie Vineyards and Winery, a place with “serious wine for non-serious people”. Sample some of their award winning wines, tour the operation, walk the grounds and enjoy views of the 75 acres of beautiful grape vines. The facility offers a visitors center, a gift shop and a large tasting bar. You can also enjoy snacks, salsa chips, chocolate and food items while you relax in a rocking chair under the large covered patio.
Dennis Vineyards is also in western Stanly County. This family owned and operated winery was one of the first in the area and continues to grow and flourish every year. The large patio overlooking acres of lush grapevines makes the perfect location for sipping on wine slushies, enjoying a relaxing glass of wine or indulging in a packed picnic lunch. Wine tastings are offered daily and with over 30 unique and tasty varieties to choose from, you’ll see why this place has become a favorite among NC wineries. Check out their Sunday Wine and Painting parties called The Twisted Palette and their Halloween Grape Stomp coming up in October.
Rocky River Vineyards are not within Stanly County’s borders but their land borders ours so we consider them one of our own. Their 45 acres are snuggled into the gently rolling hills of eastern Cabarrus County, with Big Meadow Creek flowing through the property toward Rocky River, which is how the name was born. During your visit you can find unique gifts, keep an eye out for wild turkeys and deer as you wind through the woods and over the creek along the walking trail, and enjoy a picnic on the grounds. Throughout the year, Rocky River Vineyards hosts events including spring and fall festivals, summer parties, grape stomping, a holiday open house and more. This is also a beautiful place to hold weddings and private events.
Last but not least is a visit to Stony Mountain Vineyards in the Uwharrie Mountains of north eastern Stanly County. As you wind steadily upwards between great boulders strewn among thickly forested slopes, you’ll feel you are truly in an ancient land. Geologists tell us that the Uwharrie Mountains formed over 500 million years ago as an island chain and are probably the oldest land mass in North America. The very best wines come from hillsides with high mineral content and very ancient soils and the wines produced at Stony Mountain Vineyards prove that point. This small boutique winery is family owned and sits atop Stony Mountain with a spectacular panoramic view of the lower Yadkin Valley. Grab a glass of your favorite wine and relax out on the deck as you take in the view. Winery tours are available by appointment and wine tastings are available during normal business hours. The winery is currently expanding its event facilities.
Cheers! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend in Stanly County.