When Thomas, and his wife, Josephine, first visited Traphill, N.C., a rural community located in northeastern Wilkes County, the landscape reminded Josephine of the French countryside, where she grew up. They decided to relocate from Charlotte to this lush valley, where they purchased 50 acres to pursue the dream of starting a vineyard.
Wilkes County was once known as the “Moonshine Capital of The World”. By the early 1950s, the county was one of the leading producers of illegal homemade liquor in the country, and bootleg liquors made it beyond the borders of the county and the state. Bootleggers were often car-chased by police and federal authorities, setting the stage for the birth of stock-car racing and NASCAR. The NASCAR Speedway Track, operated from 1949 to 1996, can be found in the town of North Wilkesboro but here, engines no longer roar.
Nestled on the flanks of the N.C. foothills, Roaring River Vineyards is a peaceful place to relax and enjoy delicious wines. This vast fertile stretch of Piedmont countryside is split by an energetic waterway that once was home to one sawmill, two gristmills, and several moonshine distilleries. Today, the remains of these structures still endure a tumultuous past but a beautiful sight to all vineyards’ guests to enjoy.
For a bite (or two), visit the French-inspired “Chez Joséphine” restaurant, located inside the tasting room. This cozy site offers a variety of tasty sandwiches and quick bites that will pair beautifully with any of the wines. “Jaja’s Meat and Cheese Board” and the “Ham Apple and Brie Panini” were my choices for an early lunch on a sunny – but cold – Sunday afternoon. The delicious combination of ham, applies and brie cheese on ciabatta bread was a delightful surprise after enjoying artisanal meats and regional cheeses. The bread was dense, the olive oil full of character, and the cheeses made me keep coming back for more. The property also features several rental cabins with all the modern amenities, upscale mountain décor, and outdoor patios overlooking the river. Other property activities include hiking trails, private fishing areas, and a private beach.
For the wine tasting, visit Roaring River Vineyards on Fridays and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. or between 12 and 5 p.m. on Sundays. During the summer, the tasting room is open from Thursday to Saturday. The 3 featured whites I invite you to try are: Chardonnay, Viognier, and Traminette.
Chardonnay: This French Chablis offers you fresh aromas, crisp citrus and apple flavors. The wine is crisp, mineral and tight with a wonderful aftertaste.
Viognier: A delightfully crisp, seamless, and simple white. Apricots and citrus flavors contribute freshness to a crisp, floral personality that’s relaxing and fun.
Traminette: My personal favorite. A lovely vibrant white and citrus-driven in acidity and freshness. The Traminette offers nicely melded grapefruit flavors that accent a light-bodied, elegant style.
Bring a glass to the sunny patio located just outside of the tasting room, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the namesake river. For $10 you can taste up to 6 wines, and a glass of wine is priced at $8. You can also taste the 3 featured reds: Merlot, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Please visit Roaring River Vineyards to learn more about the site’s history and enjoy the amazing service and hospitality. You may also visit the official website at https://roaringrivervineyards.com/ to know more about this North Carolina’s treasure.