Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This is my first Travel Tip Thursday hosted by my dear friend, Pseudo of Pseudonymous High School Teacher. Pseudo and friends transport us to fabulous locales every Thursday. Click the link for more Travel Tips.


We stopped in North Carolina on our way home from Indiana a few weeks ago. My Harley Stud surprised me with a trip to a local winery. This was a real treat for me and a very generous gesture from MHS as he doesn’t like wine. MHS knows that I’ve always wanted to visit a winery that we pass every time we go to the lake to see Daddy but never seem to have the time. So instead, we traveled a few miles from MHS’s brother’s where we were staying to Raffaldini Vineyards.


Raffaldini’s is located in the Swan Creek area of Yadkin Valley. The picturesque setting is what drew us to this particular winery but it was the wine that surpassed the expectations of this virgin wine taster. Of course, this was not the first time I’ve tasted wine but it was my first real wine tasting. (I really need to get out more)

DSC04323 MHS left me at the wine tasting and did a bit of exploring on his own. By exploring, I mean that he took several calls from customers, read emails, called both of our daughters, and checked the weather of every single person we know with his fancy weather app all while walking the grounds. In other words, he found ways to entertain himself while I was having great fun at the wine bar.

DSC04324 I joined two sisters from Minnesota at the bar. They were such nice women and I couldn’t have asked for better companions on my first wine tasting experience. Our hostess was fabulous and a wealth of information about the wine, the grapes and the area. She had a warmth and wit about her that made you feel as though you had been invited into her living room for a glass of wine.

The following is what I learned during the wine tasting. I should warn you that any details I can’t remember have been replaced with those I made up. Details…who needs ‘em.

Raffaldini’s is owned by a first generation Italian-American family. The family can trace their history back to the 1300s in Italy. The winery in Yadkin Valley was established in 2001. They started with thirty-three different grapes. In an effort to create the Italian wines of their ancestors, the Raffaldini’s, after determining what grows well in the Carolinas now grow only eight different varieties of Italian grapes.

I had the pleasure of tasting seven different wines: 3 white, 3 red and 1 rose. All were wonderful. I particularly liked a white that was selected by the US State Dept. for President Obama to give as a gift at the G8 Summit. I loved their Urbano. Urbano is a red that is made primarily from Sangiovese grapes which are the grapes used to make chianti. I also fell in love with a red called Pino Vino, named after the Raffaldini's dog. It even has a picture of Pino on the bottle.

DSC04328 After the tasting, I gathered up a few sandwiches, some cheese, a diet coke for MHS and of course a glass of wine for me. We had a lovely lunch on the terrace that overlooks the vineyard. It was then that I decided that working at a winery will be my retirement job. How fun would that be!


The entire property is covered with rose bushes. Many were still blooming even though the cool fall weather has already hit the area.

We couldn’t leave without buying a few bottles of wine. I was told that as good as they were the day we were there, they will be even better if we can wait a year before opening them. We gave a few bottles away as gifts. The rest are tempting me even as I write this. It will be interesting to see how long I can hold out.

DSC04344 Vineyard employees hard at work

DSC04341 This was the view as we left.

A little more wine, my dear?

Smart Mouth Broad


Midlife Jobhunter said...

"It will be interesting to see how long I can hold out."

It would be long gone at my house.

We stumbled along our first winery by chance - looking for a bathroom. How bad is that? We were out for a Saturday morning drive and came across a most lovely drive, that lead to a most lovely bathroom, with free tastes of wine for breakfast.

I'm bad. I know.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Oh, you have no idea how much I loved this. Your pictures are gorgeous and loved the story. I love MHS and you at that glorious picnic spot.

One of my favorites times ever was visiting my sister in Sonoma and going wine tasting for three days. Ah....

I know you are sleeping so since Mr Linky just went up, I linked you up ; -)

otin said...

Ummm, where did you say you were??? I would have met you guys! No invitation! :((

I could leave it at that, but then you might not know that I was JUST KIDDING!! LOL!

only a movie said...

Oh, I love this so much.
Other half and I have recently acquired a taste for wine. I don't usually drink at all, but once in a while, a good glass of wine is the only reasonable solution.
Love the photos!

Snappy Di said...

With the mountain view in the background that could almost pass for Virginia! Looks like a great day!


Gaston Studio said...

OMG, I'm with Otin. You were in NC and didn't call me? And I'd have met you halfway!

One of the things I was surprised about when first moving to NC was all the vineyards throughout the state, not to mention how good some of the wine actually is. So glad you enjoyed your first wine tasting venture. Good on MHS for going along for the ride... and diet Coke.

nothingfancy1 said...

I love the pictures! And you look GREAT!

Kimberly said...

Some say pouring a glass of wine to the top full is rude - I say pouring a glass that doesnt' reach the top is rude.

Lone Star Queen said...

You made me thirsty and it's only 9:45 in the morning.

Linda said...

Wow! Pretty view and beautiful grounds. I love wine tasting. Thankfully my taste runs cheap! And for the record, a bottle of wine hasn't lasted a month in my house, let alone a year! LOL! Enjoy a glass for me.

Cristin said...

I've been to a wine tasting but never to a vineyard. I'd be dangerous there. And NO way could I hold out a year on those bottles. No. Way.

Jan said...

Oh, I'm jealous! I've been to several wine tastings, but never at the actual winery. What fun!

Oh, and the wine would be long gone by now at my house, too. *sigh* No self control.

commoncents said...

Great post! I love your page!!

ps. Link Exchange?

Debbie said...

What a great trip! You two are so cute...Hey I thought you were done blogging for a while!:) Just ribbing you...ha ha...glad you are back!! Hey....with as many followers as you have, I knew at some point you would be DRIVEN out of your short retirement! There is NO blog world without there?...Come on!

otin said...

We know where we stand now, Jane!!!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I am a self proclaimed wino. I just love it and wineries and everything that goes with wine.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.

This post was great and the photos superb!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

MLJH-So far, so good. Of course that doesn't mean that I haven't bought other wine at the store. A girl's gotta live, ya know.
The accidental trips are sometimes the best.

Pseudo-Now that I'm no longer a virgin, I would love to taste my way thru Sonoma. Thanks for the linky hook up. I was sleeping but woke at 4am to read your email and smile.

Otin-It was a surprise trip and you were working, Silly.

Movie-Yes, I've acquired quite the taste for wine too. It goes well with just about everything including Dancing with the Stars. LOL

Di-Actually, we weren't that far from Virginia.

Jane-Silly girl. How could I call you. Email me your # and I promise to next time. There are a lot more wineries I want to explore in NC.

Fancy-Thanks, friend.

Kimberly-Amen, sister.

Lone Star Queen-LOL. It's 5oclock somewhere.

Linda-I'm with you. I'm not above the box-o-wine.

Cristin-I'm trying to be strong. You know, save them for a special occasion. Like doing the laundry.

Jan-GO! It's so fun. I'm sure they have some in your area too.

CC-Thanks. And sure.

Debbie-You really are too sweet to me.

Otin-Oh stop. LOL

Erin-From one wino to another....Cheers.

JeanMac said...

What a great treat to stay there. Nice to see pictures of you two!

Reader Wil said...

What a wonderful post! The photos are excellent and you told the whole winery experience so vividly that I forgot that I was here in our cold little country sitting at the table behind my laptop! Well thanks for the tour! Yesterday I got a bottle of wine from my daughter, which I will safe for after my return from France. Tomorrow I'll leave for ten days.

Sugar Creek Beads said...

That looks like it was great fun. Didn't realize the Carolinas had good vineyards. Looks lovely and I would love to tour there also. Love the photos. Jeanne

Oz Girl said...

Wow, what a gorgeous building! And how apropros... I am drinking a 2006 Calif red wine as I read. :) It's called "red truck". In lower caps. Pretty tasty.

I want to retire with you, working at a winery. The perfect job for winos... or maybe not.

And hey, Midlife Jobhunter, I would do free wine tastings for breakfast with you. LOL

(Who is this common cents person raiding our blogs??!) Same sentiment on all of them.

Oz Girl said...

Crap. You can tell I'm drinking wine from my comment, it's so disjointed. Oh well, may as well finish the bottle... :-P

Tony Letts said...

Interesting - and it made me jealous! Started on the wine yet?

croneandbearit said...

What a lovely trip and as for a retirement job - I like the idea of working at a winery - I'd like to be the taster I think. Pino Vino - is it as much fun to say after a few glasses as it is to drink? Love the pics! Sante!